Updated 02/03/2012 09:15 PM
Split verdict in Marland Brooks trial
Eight hours of deliberation came down to a split verdict for Marland Brooks. He was found guilty of murdering and robbing Clark Van Etten in the man's Corning home last June. Our Lara Greenberg has been covering the trial and tells us how Clark Van Etten's family reacted to the news.
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STEUBEN COUNTY, N.Y. -- As the verdict was read in court, Marland Brooks was mouthing words to his family and appeared to be dancing. But also relieved was Clark Van Etten's family.
Brooks was found guilty of murdering and robbing Clark Van Etten in his Corning home last June. He was also found guilty of criminal possession of a weapon. But he was found not guilty of the second murder and robbery charges.
"It appears from the verdict what they found was that he murdered Clark Van Etten first and then while he still had possession of the knife, he robbed him. That's what the verdict sort of says," said Steuben County District Attorney Brooks Baker.
Meaning he didn't murder Van Etten as a means to rob him.
But the split verdict didn't bother Van Etten's family. They were just happy to have a murder conviction.
"He's guilty. That's all that matters."
Brooks now faces 25 years to life in prison. But his attorney insists the fight isn't over.
"What I have to do is sit back and analyze if this is an inconsistent verdict or what we call a repugnant verdict. You know, logically, if you've committed one crime, it would naturally flow that you've committed another crime or convicted. So I'll have to sit back and analyze that," said defense attorney David Morabito.
Morabito does plan to appeal. But Van Etten's family continues to mourn.
"It still doesn't bring back the victim. So even though there's been a victory in court, it doesn't make things any easier for them," said Baker.
"We're not allowed to talk to Clark anymore. But he was allowed to talk to his family."
And that's something they'll never be able to do again.
Marland Brooks will be sentenced March 5th in Steuben County Court. His girlfriend, who was also originally charged with murder, Samantha Smith, is set to appear in court next week. She accepted a plea deal and will serve a 10 year robbery sentence.