On Wednesday November 11th, 2009, after deliberating slightly more than two hours, a jury of six men and six women found a man guilty of capital murder and other charges in the October 20th, 2008 death of KATV Arkansas television anchor Anne Pressly, according to CNN affiliate KARK-TV. Case first introduced in this previous post.
Curtis Lavelle Vance, 29, was convicted of capital murder, residential burglary, rape and theft of property. A sentencing phase will determine whether he receives life in prison or the death penalty. The panel was to reconvene later Wednesday to make this determination.
Primary media stories:
-- CNN: Report: Man found guilty of killing Arkansas TV anchor
-- ABC News (Nov. 5 story): Anchorwoman's Mother Gives Heart-Wrenching Testimony
-- KATV Channel 7 Little Rock: Channel 7 - The Curtis Vance Trial: Complete Coverage
-- KARK Channel 4 Little Rock: Update: Vance GUILTY, Jury to Decide Sentence Thurs.
-- KARK Channel 4 Little Rock: Pressly Case Chronology
-- KARK Channel 4 Little Rock: Pressly Verdict Reaction
-- FOX 16: Guilty verdict reached in Vance trial
-- Arkansas Democrat-Gazette: Vance found guilty on all counts
KATV news video embedded below:
After the verdicts were read, Pressly’s mother, Patti Cannady, raised a hand and said, “Praise God. Praise God.” She burst into sobs. Once the jurors had left, Vance gestured toward the empty jury box, pointed to his eyes and ears and shook his head. While Vance denies the murder, he admitted to being at Pressly's house. He was also further linked to the crime with DNA evidence; detectives recovered DNA from his sperm, blood and skin, taken from beneath Pressly's fingernails.
Cannady was among the first witnesses to take the stand on Wednesday November 4th following opening arguments. Her testimony was particularly moving. Cannady stared down at Curtis Vance, then, choking back tears, she described the nightmare of discovering Pressly in her home, beaten beyond recognition. "It was horrific," she told the jury. "I absolutely could not take the scene in. I could not imagine what I was seeing when I found my daughter."
The Cannadys customarily called Pressly at 3 A.M. each weekday morning to make sure she was awake. Presly headlined KATV's Daybreak program, which began at 5 A.M. But on the morning of October 20th, 2008, after repeated calls, there was no answer. Frantic, Cannady rushed to her daughter's home, where she found the back door wide open and, inside, her daughter gasping for breath in a pool of blood. "It was Anne, but she was so swollen and her hair was completely matted with blood, she was beyond recognition," she said. "There was blood on the ceiling. That's how horrific her attack was." Presly slipped into a coma, and died five days later when her brain stem burst.
Patti Cannady had previously told NBC in 2008 that her daughter fought hard for her life, breaking her left hand in the process. "I found my daughter beyond recognition, with every bone in her face broken, her nose broken, her jaw pulverized so badly that the bone had come out of it," Cannady said. "I actually thought that her throat had possibly been cut. Her entire skull had numerous fractures from which she suffered a massive stroke."
KATV raised $50,000 for a reward fund, and the city's police department will decide how it is distributed. The station also plans to sell a book about Pressly to fund a broadcast school scholarship in Pressly's name.
Additional reaction posted on Stormfront and the Vanguard News Network Forum