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Julia Surbaugh Found Guilty Of First-Degree Murder

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Julia Surbaugh Julia Surbaugh

Update 3/6/2014 - 9:11 p.m.

A Braxton County jury has found Julia Surbaugh guilty of first-degree murder in the shooting death of her husband in Webster Springs in 2009.

Surbaugh will spend the rest of her life in prison with no mercy in her sentencing.  Judge Richard Facemire handed down the sentence after the verdict was returned this evening.

Surbaugh was found guilty at her original trial in 2010 but in 2012, the verdict was overturned by the West Virginia Supreme Court, sending the case back for a re-trial.

The case was moved to Sutton after the court could not assemble an impartial jury in Webster County.

The jury of seven women and five men took just hours to return the verdict after ten days of testimony, delivering their decision shortly before nine this evening.

 

Update 3/6/2014

Thursday was the tenth day of Julia Surbaugh's murder trial, and it was also the last.

After hearing testimony from an expert who examined the scene of the crime and closing arguments, Judge Richard Facemire turned the case over to the jury Thursday afternoon.

During the trial, the prosecution presented evidence including a recorded statement where Surbaugh said she shot her husband twice.

Surbaugh's defense has focused on a few different points, including what they said was lackluster evidence collection by investigators, and testimony from hospital staff saying errors in Michael Surbaugh's care may have contributed to his death.

The jury chose to work late Thursday night instead of returning for deliberations Friday.

Court officials said they expect a verdict Thursday night.

 

Update 3/5/2014

A murder trial in Braxton County is almost at its end.

Jurors in the Julia Surbaugh murder trial are expected to begin deliberations on the case on Thursday.

Defense attorney Dan Hardway rested his case early Wednesday afternoon, wrapping up the ninth day of testimony since the jury was seated more than two weeks ago.

Webster County Prosecuting Attorney Dwayne Vandevender recalled neighbors and the investigating deputy in his rebuttal.

One more witness may be called Thursday, and officials expect the jury will begin deliberating around lunchtime.

 

Update 3/3/2014

 

Judge Richard Facemire continued the trial of Julia Surbaugh after Braxton County declared its schools closed for the day.

Facemire cancels court any time schools in the same county are canceled for the day.

The trial is expected to continue tomorrow and is expected to wrap up by the end of the week.

 

 

Update 2/27/2014

Lawyers reached the next milestone in the Julia Surbaugh trial on Thursday.

Prosecutors in the Surbaugh case, led by Webster County Prosecutor Dwayne Vandevender, rested their case late this afternoon, and turned the trial over to the defense.

Vandevender presented recordings of two statements by Surbaugh, including one where she admits shooting her husband in 2009.

The defense presented its first witness of the case before court adjourned for the day.

The trial will continue with the defense's case on Friday.

 

Update

The trial for Julia Surbaugh continues in Webster County.

Julia Surbaugh is accused of fatally shooting her husband Michael Surbaugh in 2009.

Jurors heard testimony Monday, Feb. 24 from prosecution witnesses about Surbaugh's injuries.  The State Police Troopers who investigated the case also gave testimony.

Courthouse Staff said they expect the trial to continue into next week before the jury starts deliberating.

Original 2/19/2014

The trial for a Webster County woman previously convicted of the murder of her husband continued in Braxton County court Wednesday.

Julia Surbaugh was facing a life sentence for a first degree murder conviction in the death of her husband until the West Virginia Supreme Court reversed the conviction in Nov. 2012, citing that the trial judge should have allowed a jury instruction on Surbaugh's good character.

Jurors traveled to the Surbaughs' Webster County home Wednesday morning to see where the crime was alleged to have happened.

Webster County Prosecuting Attorney Dwayne Vandevender called the first two witnesses, who were both neighbors of the Surbaughs'. The witnesses both testified about what happened on the day of Michael Surbaugh's death. The second witness testified that Michael had been drinking more, using drugs and his personality had changed.

Thursday, Vandevender called more of the Surbaughs' neighbors to the stand to testify about the day of the incident and the mental state of the two spouses. The prosecution played the 911 calls from the morning Mr. Surbaugh was shot. The prosecution also added another witness to their witness list.

The jury also heard testimony from a woman Michael Surbaugh was having an affair with at the time of his death.  She says they were planning on leaving the day of his death to discuss where they would move to live together, and that Julia Surbaugh was aware of the affair.

Judge Richard Facemire said he hopes to keep the trial moving forward and says the trial will continue into next week.