ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ)—Guilty. That’s the verdict in the trial of the man accused of killing a corrections officer inside a Maryland prison. He could get the death penalty.
Weijia Jiang has more on the decision.
After deliberating for nearly a week, a jury found the defendant guilty of first-degree murder. So next comes the sentencing phase to determine whether he’ll pay for the crime with his own life.
The family members of Cpl. David McGuinn waited nearly six years for justice, which came Thursday when a jury convicted Lee Stephens, 32, with McGuinn’s murder.
It was July 2006 when McGuinn was fatally stabbed when working as an officer of the now closed Maryland House of Correction.
Police found his blood splattered in a hallway and on Stephens’ cell bar, clothes and boots.
Two inmates testified they watched Stephens plunge a homemade knife into the guard. But defense attorneys have always maintained Stephens’ innocence.
Prosecutors say Stephens and Lamar Harris conspired to kill McGuinn because he was a “by the book” guard who got in their way.
This case drove the state to shut down the deadly facility less than a year later. Similar violence had plagued the prison for years.
Between now and Monday morning, Stephens must decide who he wants to sentence him. He can choose either the jury or the judge. Regardless of who he picks, sentencing will commence at 9 a.m.
Stephens is already serving a life sentence for murdering a man in Salisbury in 1997. He was not found guilty of conspiracy in this case.