A jury today found Marc Thomas Sylvester guilty of second-degree murder of a Colorado Springs woman who was shot in the head with a high-powered rifle.
However, the jurors acquitted Sylvester of all other charges, including first-degree murder, robbery and second-degree kidnapping.
The verdict was an emotional moment for some of the jurors, who asked for more time before they came into the courtroom to deliver their decision.
The jurors had been in their third day of deliberation in the trial, which started on March 31.
Sylvester was accused in the Feb. 9, 2009 murder of Jennifer C. Warren, 35, whose body was discovered in a wind-blown ditch in eastern El Paso County.
She had been shot in the head at close range with a high-powered rifle in what prosecutors described as an execution-style killing.
Prosecutors showed jurors a videotaped confession in which Sylvester told a sheriff’s detective “I think it was me” and demonstrated how he held the rifle used to kill Warren.
They also cited cell phone records that showed Sylvester’s phone was used in the area where the body was found, east of Schriever Air Force base near Book Drive and Milne Road.
But the public defenders representing Sylvester argued that it was a false confession obtained under duress from the 39-year-old former truck driver.
They argued that a woman named Elizabeth Angel had more motivation to kill Warren than their client. They claimed that Angel suspected her husband had an affair with Warren. They also claimed that Warren got Angel’s husband arrested by snitching on him.
Angel admitted she assaulted Warren in a motorcycle garage earlier that evening but insisted she had nothing to do with the murder.
Sylvester faces between 16 to 48 years in prison when Fourth Judicial District Judge Robert L. Lowrey sentences him on June 1.
Deputy Public Defender Rose Roy declined comment on the verdict until the sentencing.
Kathleen Walsh, a spokeswoman for the District Attorney’s office, said prosecutors thank the jury for what was “a difficult decision.”
“While he (Sylvester) is in prison, we hope he never has a chance to hurt another member of the community,” Walsh said.
Members of Warren’s family who attended nearly every day of the trial left the courtroom via a back entrance without comment.