Thursday, February 12, 2009
Prosecutors say while they can't bring Jodi Sanderholm back they can bring justice and they say that's exactly what happened Thursday morning.
After two years of waiting, Sanderholm's friends and family get what they wanted. They cry and comfort each other moments after the verdict is read.
Justin Thurber was found guilty of capital murder, kidnapping, rape and sodomy.
The emotions of the moment are hard for them to describe.
"Relief, happiness, ecstatic and it's hard to breathe. It's just overwhelming it finally happened and we got justice and Jodi can rest," said Cindy Sanderholm.
It took a week and a half of testimony and three and a half hours of deliberations for the jury to reach the verdict.
Prosecutors say for them this case was personal.
"Jodi's family has suffered greatly and I felt that every day as we prepared for this case and it weighed heavily on our hearts and we are pleased with today's verdict," said Assistant Attorney General Vic Braden.
Prosecutors credit the win to an airtight case built on evidence law enforcement painstakingly collected at the crime scenes. The trial, which included graphic testimony and autopsy pictures, was sometimes hard for the family to handle.
"You cannot explain it. It goes on and on forever and ever. Every minute of your life, every moment. You wake up in the middle of the night and you think about it. It just never ends," said Sanderholm's father Brian.
And it isn't over yet. The jury must now decide whether to give Thurber life in prison without parole or death. The Sanderholms say at this point they don't care what he gets.
"To me it doesn't matter the least he'll get is life without parole and he cannot get out and hurt anybody else. The whole focus of this is this isn't going to happen to anybody else because of him," said the Sanderholms.
The penalty phase begins on Monday morning and is expected to last a couple of days.