Charlene Adams, Daily Mail (London), October 1, 2014
The Colorado teen accused of murdering a newlywed soldier and his pregnant wife was found guilty Tuesday following a 12-day trial, officials report.
Macyo Joelle January, 19, was found guilty of murdering Staff Sgt. David Dunlap, 37, and his pregnant wife Whitney Butler, 35, after the two walked in on him burglarizing their Colorado Springs home Jan. 14, 2013.
Police say that the newlyweds arrived home separately to check on the alarm that went off at 11:10 am.
Dunlap and Butler were both shot from behind as they walked through the front door. Officials say evidence suggests that Butler was shot in the head as she leaned over her husband’s dead body, according to The Gazette.
A jury deliberated for three-and-a-half hours and the case that went on for 1 1/2 years–overlapping what would have been the couple’s two-year anniversary–ended with January being found guilty of the slayings.
January will be sentenced Oct. 22. He is being sentenced as an adult which means he will face life in prison, however, because he was 17 at the time of the double-murder, there is chance for parole after 40 years, The Gazette reports.
January was also convicted of burglary, theft, and aggravated motor vehicle theft. There was no murder charge for the 13-week-old fetus Butler carried the day she died, in accordance with state laws, authorities say.
The Gazette reported that January showed no emotion when the jury unanimously found him guilty in front of 4th Judicial District Court Judge Deborah Grohs.
In the courtroom, Maryln Dunlap–Sgt. David Dunlap’s mother–wept inconsolably while, just feet away, January reportedly smiled and hugged his attorneys following the verdict.
Juror Cornelia Sistrunk told The Gazette that she was confident that the jury weighed all of the testimony and evidence.
‘As far as I’m concerned as a juror,’ Sistrunk said, ‘it came down to five things for me: the gun, the bullet, the fingerprint, the DNA, and the confessions.’
The parent’s of the couple told KKTV that they feel a sense of justice now that January has been convicted.
Just months after the murder of her daughter, Marie Butler referred to the deaths as a ‘parent’s worst nightmare’ as she told The Gazette, ‘I don’t know if I will ever be able to wrap my hands around it.’
Now, just days after the verdict, Butler said she would honor the couple’s memory by not ‘letting it make us bitter or vengeful or hateful.’
‘These people will not be forgotten,’ Butler said.