Jury convicts former Iraq veteran
|Updated: 1/27/2012 10:20 pm
||Published: 1/27/2012 9:26 pm
LITTLE ROCK, AR -- An emotional Pulaski County courtroom is seen, after a guilty verdict is read in the capital murder case against Steven Russell.
The former Iraq veteran will spend the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole. Prosecutors say Russell killed his girlfriend, Joy Owens, because she tried to leave him back in November 2009.
Her parents are pleased with the outcome.
"I just want to say praise the Lord. I am so happy," said mother Veronica Owens.
Initially, the jury told the court they could not reach a decision, leading everyone to believe the case would have a different outcome.
"Apparently there were some notes sent back from the jury that they were deadlocked. One for capital murder and 11 for first degree murder. We assumed perhaps a hung jury. But the jury announced a verdict finding him guilty of capital murder," said prosecuting attornery Melanie Martin.
The jury didn't buy the defense attorneys' claim Russell has post traumatic stress disorder, which they say contributed to his actions when the crime happened.
Russell's attorney says he does plan to appeal.
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