Jurors spent three hours deliberating Sept. 18, 2006, in the sentencing phase of the William Meece murder trial that has lasted four weeks. The jury returned with a verdict shortly after 8:30 pm and recommended Meece be sentenced to death.
Sept. 15, 2006, Bill Meece was convicted of brutally murdering Columbia Veterinarian Joseph Wellnitz, his wife Beth and son Dennis more than 13 years ago. Meece was found guilty on all charges, including three counts of murder, burglary in the first degree and robbery in the first degree.
The Commonwealth was seeking the ultimate penalty, death. While the defense hoped for a lighter sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Prosecutors say they hope this will help bring closure for family members and friends of the Wellnitz's.
Final sentencing is set for Oct. 20, 2006, at 10 a.m. in Warren Circuit Court.