Brian Hayslett, a man accused of killing Rhonda McCoy in June 2011, was ruled guilty of first degree murder with no mercy today by the jury at the Raleigh County Courthouse.
In the closing arguments, the defense was pushing for second degree murder, or at least first degree murder with mercy.
“We were trying to convince the jury that it would be appropriate to find that Mr. Hayslett didn’t pre-meditate the murder,” says David White, the defense attorney.
With mercy, Hayslett would have been able to receive parole after 11 more years in prison in addition to the four he’s already served. In his testimony on Tuesday, Hayslett said he had no recollection of murdering Rhonda McCoy because he was blackout drunk and on pills.
Investigators say he stabbed her more than 20 times.
“It is impossible to really be able to fathom the degree of terror and pain she must have felt in her final moments,” says Kristen Keller, the prosecuting attorney.
After the verdict was announced, Hayslett turned to face the McCoy family and tell them he was sorry for what he did. Keller says McCoy leaves behind three children.
“They said it was such a relief, in fact they said they were going to go tomorrow morning and spread her ashes finally,” Keller says.
Hayslett is facing life in prison without parole. White says they do plan to appeal to get Hayslett another trial.