After nearly two weeks of testimony, the 12-member jury in the Charles R. “Steve” Stephenson returned a guilty verdict on both counts at nearly 9:30 p.m. Monday, May 20.
The jury returned the verdict 8 1/2 hours after closing arguments concluded about 1 p.m. All testimony had been concluded by mid-afternoon Friday, May 17, and deliberations began about 2:30 p.m.
Stephenson, 59, Walton, Ky., was charged with Jennings' March 29, 2012, murder at her Aurora home on Aspen Ridge, and with robbery, a Class A Felony.
About 17 members of the public stayed at the courthouse until the final verdict, many of them her friends and family. Warned not to voice reactions in the courtroom, her son and a close friend who has attended all the proceedings dropped their heads and stifled what appeared to be tears.
Security was high, with five uniformed county deputies and one uniformed state officer, as well as over a half dozen officers from various departments in plain clothes were in the courtroom.
Outside the courtroom, the father of the victim's sons thanked God for the guilty verdict.
But inside the courtroom as Dearborn Circuit Court Judge James Humphrey read the verdict, the defendant showed no reaction, his hands folded in his lap. He did, however, stare intently at each juror as each was polled by the judge and repeated the guilty verdict.
The second, sentencing, phase of the trial will begin at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, May 21, the judge told the jury.
To read more about the trial, return to this webpage or check out the Thursday, May23, issue of the Dearborn County Register, in print or online.