Hugs, Handshakes and Tears Follow Guilty Verdict in Weisheit Trial

It took three years, two months and seven days before to get to the closing arguments of the Jeffrey Weisheit capital murder trial. However, it took the jury less than two hours to find Weisheit guilty of murdering his girlfriend's two young children. The guilty verdict caused an outpouring of emotion that's three years, two months and seven days in the making.

At half past one o'clock eastern time, Clark County Judge Daniel Moore spoke the words that many friends, family, detectives and investigators wanted to hear: guilty, guilty, guilty.

After less than two hours of deliberations, the Clark County jury found Weisheit guilty of intentionally setting a fire that killed Alyssa and Caleb Lynch in Vanderburgh County on April 10th, 2010.  As many will tell you, the investigation into the murders uncovered horrifying details that no one could anticipate.

Bound, gagged and hog-tied with duct tape, Caleb Lynch watched the fire and smoke surround him before finally succumbing to it. Road flares were found in his underwear. The body of his sister, Alyssa, was found in the closet.

Weisheit was found hundreds of miles away, running from law enforcement officers at speeds exceeding 140 miles per hour. Two sets of stop sticks punched holes in his tires, letting the air out of his attempted escape. Video of Weisheit's arrest shows him hurling a knife at officers and urging them to kill him. The evidence showed Weisheit had packed bags in the trunk and $4000 cash in the car along with two rolls of duct tape.

Weisheit seemingly wanted the day of April 10th, 2010 to be his last.

"What happened and what the jury found the defendant guilty of was abnormally cruel," said Chief Deputy Prosecutor Gary Schutte. "This wasn't about us, this was about Caleb and Alyssa and what they went through and what their family now has to live with."

Weisheit sat emotionless, expressionless and motionless as the judge read the verdict. With each 'guilty' uttered by the judge, a tidal wave of emotion began crashing down on the gallery of about two-dozen people. After the verdict was handed down, people from the different aspects of this case from victim's family to detectives to the deputy fire marshal all joined together in an outpouring of hugs, handshakes and appreciation.

"After three years, today was a good day," one person said. Many others echoed those sentiments.

It's been a long and winding road leading up to the guilty verdict, riddled with a change in prosecutors, a new defense attorney and repeated setbacks. While the verdict can't make everyone whole again, prosecutors say the verdict can help bring some sort of closure for the Lynch family.

"The last thing this case was about was us," said Chief Deputy Prosecutor Gary Schutte. "It's a privilege for us to tell the story of people who can't speak for themselves. For Caleb and Alyssa, that was our job. It was a privilege to do that."

"There is a degree of gratification but our job is to do what we can to make whole someone who's been through something you can't restore."

Throughout the several days of heart-wrenching testimony, the prosecution convinced the jury of the 'who, what, when and where.' As for answering the 'why,' perhaps there is no logical and reasonable answer.

In the state's closing arguments, Special Deputy Prosecutor Charlie Berger along with Chief Deputy Prosecutor Gary Schutte told the jury Weisheit wanted to take away the two most important things in Lisa Lynch's life: her two children. Schutte told the jury Weisheit had invested so much in his relationship with Lisa Lynch and when he started thinking she was cheating on him, he wanted to take it back.

The state played on emotion, played on logic and played on the damning evidence to make their case. Schutte and Berger told the jury Weisheit broke the sacred trust that any father figure has with children.

The defense claimed all along Weisheit was trying to run away from a bad relationship but the state was able to prove to the jury Weisheit was running away from what he had done.

Berger told the jury this was the most important trial of his long, storied career. Berger never lost sight of the human element, the human toll associated with this long, drawn out pursuit of justice.

"[Alyssa and Caleb Lynch] are looking down on us today and saying, do the right thing," Berger said as he showed their picture to the jury.

The Lynch family will never see the smiling faces of Alyssa and Caleb again outside of the candid and cherished pictures they still have.

The Lynch family will never forget what they lost that sleepless night on April 10th, 2010. Chances are, they'll never forget what they gained in the three years since then either.

Strangers have become acquaintances, investigators have become supporters and detectives have become friends.

"What [Lisa Lynch] lost can't be restored but to be able to take some step, to pour out some measure of justice on behalf of Caleb and Alyssa, there is some gratification in it," Schutte said. "It feels good to get over this hurdle and enter the next phase."

"Lisa Lynch has been through a lot. She's thankful this hurdle has passed."

Not much in life is quite as precious as a picture of two smiling children. Lisa Lynch still has those pictures and now a little bit of closure too. Prosecutors told the jury Alyssa and Caleb were looking down on them, urging them to 'do the right thing.'

Prosecutors say the jury did just that.

And perhaps, because of that, Alyssa and Caleb and keep smiling.


A jury poll was done and each juror re-affirmed their verdict without hesitation. The judge, on behalf of all the attorneys and support staff involved, thanked the jury for their service.

The sentencing phase of the trial begins Wednesday morning. Weisheit could be sentenced to a set number of years in prison, life without parole or the death penalty.

There were more people in the gallery than in previous days as well as a heightened security presence. Before closing statements, one of the guards removed a knife from the evidence table.

Furthermore, according to sources, Weisheit was involved in an alleged incident in the Clark County Jail the night before. Those sources say Weisheit allegedly attacked a guard. The guard, according to sources, was not seriously injured but increased security today was needed.

For a full recap of Tuesday's closing arguments, click here.

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