In their third day of deliberations, the jury found Stephen Grant guilty of second-degree murder in the death of his wife Tara. Grant wasn’t denying he’d killed her — just after the jury was seated and just before opening statements began, he pleaded guilty to dismembering her body — but rather the trial would decide the degree of his guilt: The prosecution wanted a verdict of first-degree murder, for which the jury would have had to believe the killing was premeditated, and which would have sent Grant to prison for life. The defense wanted a verdict of manslaughter, meaning Grant didn’t necessarily intend to kill her at all, and which carries a maximum of 15 years in prison.
Second-degree murder carries a potential sentence of pretty much anywhere in between. Sentencing is scheduled for February 21. (more…)