If guilty, Wright could evade death under jury instructions adopted today

Even with guilty verdict, life in prison could be automatic

Daphne Wright could be found guilty of murder but still escape the death penalty.

The jury’s options on two charges – kidnapping and murder while committing kidnapping – are simple: Guilty or not guilty.

A guilty verdict on either count would require another jury trial of sorts during the sentencing phase to determine if the death penalty is appropriate.

The jury’s options became clear today, as lawyers crafted the jury instructions.

However, on the charge of premeditated murder, the jury could find Wright guilty on the original charge or any of three lesser offenses: Second-degree murder or manslaughter in the first or second degrees.

Death is not an option with the lesser offenses.

Prosecutors maintain that after kidnapping and murdering Darlene VanderGiesen, Wright used a chainsaw to cut up her body.

Closing arguments in the case are set to begin after lunch.

(( Source:  Argus Leader ))

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