All Three Defendants Guilty of Felony Murder - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

12/16/06

All Three Defendants Guilty of Felony Murder

Michael Thorpe Michael Thorpe
Webster Wilson Webster Wilson
Kevin Huckabee Kevin Huckabee
Jennifer Ross, from a family photo. Jennifer Ross, from a family photo.

The verdict is in for the men accused of murdering a Savannah teen last Christmas Eve. Michael Thorpe, Webster Wilson, and Kevin Huckabee have been found guilty in the slaying of 19-year-old Jennifer Ross.

The judge sentenced each of the to life in prison.  They will be eligible for parole.  To keep them behind bars as long as possible Judge Penny Haas Freesemann added another 40 years to Thorpe and Wilson's sentence and added another 30 years to Huckabee's sentence.

Closing arguments finished up Thursday, and the judge charged the jury, which deliberated until about 7:30pm that night. After a full day of deliberations Friday, the jury went home until 10am this morning. At about 12:30pm today, after nearly 17 hours of deliberations, they announced they had a verdict.

The jury presented the verdict and Judge Freesemann read it just after 1pm.

Jennifer Ross' mother Coren took the stand to read an impact statement to the court.  Coren said, "Now our prayer is that the act which took her life will not take the life out of us." 

Coren told the court Jennifer comes from a strong line of women, not that chain has been broken.  "Men she never met before demanded she give them her purse.  She said NO," Coren said.  "It wasn't just the death of an innocent girl which galvanized so many people, but the death of their own indifference."

Each defendant faced nine counts, the most significant being malice murder, which means murder with intent, and three counts each of felony murder, meaning the murder happened during the commission of another felony. These are the charges for which they face life in prison.

All three men were found not guilty of malice murder, but each was found guilty of at least one count of felony murder and therefore faces a mandatory life sentence.

Here's how the jury ruled:

Michael Thorpe

Murder: not guilty

Felony murder during the commission of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon of Jennifer Ross: guilty

Felony murder during the commission of aggravated assault with intent to rob: guilty

Felony murder during the commission of possession of a firearm by felon: guilty

Aggravated assault with deadly weapon of Brett Finley:  not guilty

Aggravated assault with intent to rob Brett Finley: guilty

Possession of firearm during the commission of the crime of murder of Jennifer Ross: guilty

Possession of firearm during commission of the crime of aggravated  assault  of Brett Finley: guilty

Theft by receiving stolen property: guilty

Webster Wilson

Murder: not guilty

Felony murder during the commission of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon of Jennifer Ross: not guilty

Felony murder during the commission of aggravated assault with intent to rob: guilty

Felony murder during the commission of possession of a firearm by felon: not guilty

Aggravated assault with deadly weapon of Brett Finley: guilty

Aggravated assault with intent to rob Brett Finley: guilty

Possession of firearm during the commission of the crime of murder of Jennifer Ross: guilty

Possession of firearm during commission of the crime of aggravated  assault  of Brett Finley: guilty

Theft by receiving stolen property: guilty

Kevin Huckabee

Murder: not guilty

Felony murder during the commission of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon of Jennifer Ross: not guilty

Felony murder during the commission of aggravated assault with intent to rob: guilty

Felony murder during the commission of possession of a firearm by felon: not guilty

Aggravated assault with deadly weapon of Brett Finley: not guilty

Aggravated assault with intent to rob Brett Finley: guilty

Possession of firearm during the commission of the crime of murder of Jennifer Ross: not guilty

Possession of firearm during commission of the crime of aggravated  assault  of Brett Finley: not guilty

Theft by receiving stolen property: guilty

WTOC's Michelle Paynter has been at the courthouse throughout the trial; you can read  her Jennifer Ross Murder Trial blog for details from the trial.

WTOC will have reaction to the verdict tonight on THE News at 6.

Contact the WTOC News team

Powered by Frankly