BRADENTON, Fla. - Jurors in Delmer Smith's murder trial found him guilty of first-degree murder. He killed Kathleen Briles during a robbery attempt in 2009.
Smith sat with his head down, as the prosecution and defense teams gave closing arguments Thursday morning.
The state claimed Smith randomly targeted Kathleen Briles at her home in Terra Ceia. They say he beat her in the driveway, dragged her inside and continued to hit her with a sewing machine.
Assistant State Attorney Suzanne O'Donnell said, "She's lying face down on a floor cold and wooden. Terrified. Bound , gagged and bludgeoned to death."
But the defense claims there was no DNA evidence tying Smith to the crime.
Defense Attorney Daniel Hernandez said, "The entire burden of proof is on the state of Florida and they must prove each and every element of the crime charged beyond a reasonable doubt."
Then, after two and a half hours of deliberating, jurors had a guilty verdict. Briles' youngest sister clapped and was asked to leave the courtroom.
Kathleen Briles' husband, Dr. James Briles, wouldn't talk on camera, but asked Manatee County Sheriff Brad Steube to say some words on his behalf. "He wanted me to relay to you that the verdict was just. He wants you all to respect their privacy right now, he and his family."
Sentencing is scheduled for Tuesday morning at 8:30. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty. Smith is already serving a life sentence for kidnapping a Sarasota woman.
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