JONES COUNTY, MS (WDAM)
After a weeklong trial andmore than 13 hours in court on Friday, what has been considered a four yearbattle for justice for Victoria Viner, finally came to an end.
"We have actually accomplished at least ameasure of justice for Victoria Viner," said Assistant District Attorney J.Ronald Parrish. "For the last almost four years now when I have come in thisoffice her picture on this wall is the first thing I have looked at," saidParrish.
Hours of witness testimonypresented by the defense, included Justin's parents, Marsha and Tommy Blakeney,along with friends and doctors. Jury instructions were given and both sidespresented their closing arguments. The jury returned an hour and twenty sevenminutes later to return a unanimous verdict for the death of 2-year-old Victoria.
"We the jury find thedefendant Justin Blakeney guilty of capital murder," said Jury Foreman.
The jury was thenpresented with the sentencing phase of the trial to determine whether Blakeneywas to be given life in prison, life without parole, or the death penalty. Thedefense recalled seven witnesses to testify on Blakeney's behalf.
"He doesn't', I don't thinkhe needs the death penalty at all," said Megan Batte.
It took over two hours of deliberation toreturn a sentence. With no expression on his face, Blakeney stared across theroom to the jury as the sentence was read.
"We unanimously find thedefendant should suffer death," said Jury Foreman.
Judge Billy Joe Landrumset the execution date for November 19, 2014.
Blakeney looked to familymembers and mouthed "it ain't gonna happen that soon; it ain't gonnahappen that soon."
After the verdict wasannounced, hugs were traded among the Viner family.
"It's been a long timecoming, it's been four years, and I think now her soul can rest, and I can be alittle more at peace than I was," said Vincent Viner, Victoria's father.
As for the photo hangingon the wall at the Jones County District Attorney's office, it now serves as areminder of a special case in J Ronald Parrish's career.