Why did killer dad JOHN WESLEY FRENCH JR. have custody, and who gave it to him?
We've posed on this case before.
Father convicted in daughter's death
He was sentenced to life in prison without parole
Posted: Wednesday, March 20, 2013 1:25 pm | Updated: 10:28 pm, Wed Mar 20, 2013.
By JEFF TUCKER
As he did through much of his first-degree murder trial, John Wesley French Jr. stared off into the distance as a guilty verdict was reached for each of his three charges stemming from the death of his daughter.
French, 34, was immediately sentenced to life in prison without parole, a mandatory term for the first-degree murder charge.
"It's justice. It's justice," said Lacie Fernandez, mother of 8-year-old Desirea French, whose lifeless body was found April 10, 2011, by her grandfather in the home he shared with Desirea and her father.
"They got justice for Des and that's all I wanted," Fernandez said.
The jury of nine women and three men took less than three hours Wednesday morning to reach their decision.
French was convicted on two separate counts of first-degree murder, one was after deliberation and the other was for knowingly causing the death of a child under the age of 12.
He also was convicted of child abuse resulting in death.
French's attorneys, Public Defenders Suzanne Reynolds and Albert Singleton, didn't dispute that French killed his daughter, but argued that it was an accident and French's attempt at suicide was a grief-stricken response to what had happened in the home.
But prosecutors Karl Kuenhold and Stephen Talbot argued that French planned to kill himself that day and couldn't bear the thought of leaving his daughter behind.
The trial's closing arguments on Tuesday revolved around differing interpretations of blood patterns at the crime scene and what caused a wound to French's hand that had what appeared to be his daughter's hair in it.
In pronouncing his sentence to French, District Judge Victor Reyes referred back to those arguments.
"I don't think anyone would disagree that what happened was nothing but a tragedy," he said. "Only you know what happened that day. It's just very sad."