Jury considers sentence for killer

October 9, 2008 5:44:58 PM PDT
There was shocking testimony Thursday afternoon in the Timothy Shepherd murder trial as the jury considers his punishment. Shepherd was found guilty earlier in the day in the murder of Tynesha Stewart. Prosecutors say Shepherd burned her remains after killing her. Shepherd showed no emotion as a jury found him guilty of murdering his ex-girlfriend. But for Tynesha Stewart's family members, the verdict marked a turning point in their grieving process.

"They took out one of God's angels, and this is not his real trial. His real trial is going to come when he meets his maker. And that's the real trial," said Stewart's sister, Gayla Taylor. "That's going to really determine what he really did when he was on the earth, when he took out one of the Lord's angels."

Investigators say Shepherd killed Stewart in 2007, cutting up her body and burning her remains in two barbecue grills in her apartment. On Thursday, jurors' guilty verdict made a lasting impact.

"Some cases will always stick with you," said Lt. John Denholm with the Harris County DA's office. "A case like this, where a guy chops up and cooks somebody, you'll never forget."

The case has now moved on to the punishment phase. Thursday afternoon, Shepherd's friends, Johnny Gordon, told jurors Shepherd told him he killed Stewart for refusing a Valentine's Day present. Gordon also testified that Shepherd said if he were to killer, he would cut her up and burn her body and feed her remains to the dogs.

For Stewart's family, this is just one more reason he should get the maximum sentence.

""He's sick and he needs help," said Gale Sheilds, Stewart's mother.

Jurors will be back at work tomorrow, trying to determine a punishment. Shepherd could get life in prison if convicted.

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