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From left, defense attorney James Hankins listens with murder defendant Charles Weimer as co-counselor Johnny Lombardi delivers closing arguments Tuesday in district court. Lombardi said the case against his client was “speculative” and “cynical,” with officials trying to “guess”Weimer into prison. The jury deliberated for about an hour-and-a-half before finding Weimer guilty of first-degree murder and recommending a sentence of life with the possibility of parole.

Jury finds man guilty of murder

A Comanche County jury deliberated Tuesday for the same amount of time hospital staff worked to save 2-year-old Jon Paul Gonzalez Jr.'s life  roughly 100 minutes  before determining Charles Weimer was guilty of first-degree murder by child abuse. 

Relatives of both Weimer and Gonzalez said they did not want to comment following the trial, and the silence in the courtroom when Comanche County District Court Judge Emmit Tayloe read the verdict from the seven-man, five-woman jury was only broken by a few gasping breaths from the father, uncle and grandfather of the victim. 

Weimer's mother and brother clutched the defendant for a few last-minute words and embraces before he was led back to the Comanche County Detention Center to await formal sentencing Aug. 6. The jury recommended Weimer serve life with the possibility of parole, which would require him to serve 85 percent of a 45 year term  nearly 38 years  before being considered for release. 

Tears rolled down the cheeks of the Gonzalez family as Comanche County Assistant District Attorney Irma Newburn dramatically demonstrated in closing how the internal and external injuries to the child's head, neck and abdomen may have been delivered to the 2-year-old. She asked the jury to sentence Weimer to life without parole because Gonzalez suffered painful injuries at his hands "and he didn't lift a finger to help."

In the event they found reasonable doubt of the elements of murder by child abuse  the death of a child caused by willful, malicious or unreasonable force from the defendant  Tayloe told the jury it also could consider whether Weimer may be guilty of the lesser offense of second-degree manslaughter. The boy's family shuddered when the judge read the range of punishment for manslaughter  a $1,000 fine and up to four years behind bars  and there was a visual wave of relief when the court read the verdict. 

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