COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - After deliberating for only three hours Wednesday morning, the jury reached a verdict in the case of Kelly Hunnewell, the mother of four found dead following an armed robbery attempt in 2013.
Trenton Barnes, 17, and Lorenzo Young, 20, were both found guilty of murder, attempted armed robbery, second degree burglary, and kidnapping.
The jury rejected the defense's arguments which essentially said the state failed to contact witnesses, failed to definitively place the suspects at the scene, and even in the case of a Columbia police investigator, broke the law.
Hunnewell was killed on July 3, 2013 while she worked the overnight shift at a bakery on Tommy Circle when a neighbor found her body.
Hunnewell's family was on hand for the verdict. A family friend read a statement written by 14-year-old Amber Hunnewell to Young and Barnes.
"To my mother's killers: Thank you for taking every piece of love I ever had. Not only did you take my mother, but what you did led to my baby sister being taken as well. I do not want you to get the death penalty. I want you to rot in jail. I want you to think about this every day of your guilt. Try reversing the situation. What if it were turned the other way around? Think for a couple of years. My mother did everything. My mother did not do anything to you, so why would you kill her? She did everything to make sure we were safe. She worked early in the morning so that she could wake us up every morning. So what was your motive? Whatever it was, I hope you know you left a 6-year-old girl, a 8-year-old girl, an 11-year-old boy, and a 14-year-old girl alone in this harsh world. My mom was my best friend -- the one I could always go to. I just wanted to make her proud in life. To see her face when I graduated from high school. But thanks to you, I can't. You have no idea how many nights I stay up crying, wishing you didn't do what you did. I can still hear my little sister crying when we got the news. I remember my 6-year-old sister asking me, 'When will mommy be home?' And I cried knowing the answer, but could not tell her because I did not have the heart to tell her. I hope you're happy with yourself. Your mother should be proud," the statement read.
The judge moved quickly to deliver a sentence of life in prison without parole for Young. He claimed his innocence as he left the courtroom.
"Innocent," Young said. "I ain't do [expletive]. I ain't do nothing."
Barnes' sentencing will be delayed due to a request for a mental health evaluation.