By Craig Henry
The Minnehaha County jury’s guilty verdict for Daphne Wright on charges of kidnapping, first-degree murder and felony murder in the death of Darlene VanderGiesen seemed in line with popular opinion Thursday in Sioux Falls, but thoughts on her ultimate fate – death by lethal injection or life in prison without parole – varied, primarily on philosophical grounds.
Shane Reinke, 32, was relieved to hear the verdict, though he admitted to an emotional attachment to the case.
“I kind of had sentimental feeling about it,” Reinke said. “I worked with Darlene (VanderGiesen) for 21/4 years at JDS Industries. I’m pleased to hear that. I was a little worried.”
Many others agreed.
“I think it’s good she was found guilty,” said Jona Weiland, 24.
Sharon Lowe, 50, wasn’t surprised by the verdict.
“I had a feeling they were going to go that way,” she said. “I did have some doubts she was receiving a fair trial, though. But I’m pretty sure the jury did the right thing.”
Verlyn Schmidt said, based on the evidence presented, it was obvious that she was guilty.
“I think it’s great,” he said. “I think she deserves it.”
Next in the trial is the penalty phase, which the jury is expected to consider Tuesday. The jurors are faced with the choice between life in prison without the possibility of parole or death by lethal injection.
Opinions in that regard were more varied Thursday.
“I don’t think capital punishment is ever the answer,” Weiland said. “It won’t solve anything.”
Dotty Parker expected a guilty verdict, but like Weiland, she doesn’t think the death penalty is the answer.
“I don’t know about that,” she said. “I would lean the other way. I tend to not believe in the death penalty.”
Others say that because of the nature of the crime, Wright deserves to be the first woman in South Dakota to be sentenced to death.
“According to everything I have heard and read, she’s guilty,” said T.J. Hernandez, 39. “I would think (she would get the death penalty) for what she did to that lady.”
Ron Smith, 52, agreed.
“An eye for an eye, you know,” he said.
(( Source:Â Argus Leader ))