By Lou Raguse
Daphne Wright will either spend the rest of her life in prison, or die by lethal injection. That’s up to the same jury that decided Wright intentionally killed Darlene VanderGiesen by cracking her skull then tying a plastic bag over her head to make sure she died.
After seven hours of deliberation, the juryÂ returned the guilty verdictÂ for counts of first-degree murder, felony murder, and kidnapping.
For the first time since she was charged with murder, Daphne Wright showed emotion in court.
The deaf woman sobbed after the judge read the jury’s verdict: Guilty on all three counts.
Wright’s lawyers had hoped jurors would consider lesser charges of homicide, which don’t carry the death penalty. But the jury decided Wright’s murder of Darlene VanderGiesen was premeditated.
Wright admits meeting VanderGiesen in the parking lot of a Sioux Falls Pizza Hut, intending to get together and buy a stuffed animal for Wright’s girlfriend Sallie Collins.
Just a week earlier, Wright was visibly angry with VanderGiesen for spending time with Collins, but then apologized.Â Â Shook VanderGiesen’s hand.Â Wright says they had “made up.”
But prosecutors say that was all part of Wright’s plan.
Police later found VanderGiesen’s truck in the spot the women met,Â her body cut into pieces by a chainsaw,Â and a mountain of evidence that pointed to Wright.
State’s attorney Dave Nelson told the jury if it were up to Wright, “Darlene would find her eternal grave in the Sioux Falls sanitary landfill among a bunch of household trash.”
Investigators returned the body to VanderGiesen’s family. AndÂ the jury returned the verdict prosecutors asked for.
And if those jurors believe the crime involved “torture, depravity of mind, or an aggravated battery” to Darlene VanderGiesen… They will sentence Wright to die.
The judge allowed the jurors to go home for the weekend, but they’re not allowed to talk about the case. They’ll be back on Tuesday for the beginning of the penalty phase of the trial.
(( Source: KELOLAND TV ))