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|Posted: Fri Aug 22, 2008 12:20 am Post subject: Guilty verdict in killing of Fla. teen-Sarah Lunde
Guilty verdict in killing of Fla. teen
Posted on Thu, Aug. 21, 2008
By CHRISTINE ARMARIO
Associated Press Writer
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TAMPA, Fla. -- A jury has convicted David Lee Onstott of second-degree murder in the 2005 strangling death of 13-year-old Sarah Lunde, finding him guilty Thursday on a lesser charge than prosecutors had originally sought.
Jurors entered a packed courtroom early Thursday evening to announce the verdict after deliberating over the course of two days. No physical or forensic evidence had tied Onstott to the crime.
As the verdict was read, the room remained silent. Along with second-degree murder, Onstott was found guilty of battery, also a lesser charge. Sentencing is scheduled for Friday. The minimum sentence for second-degree murder is 25 years, but he could get life behind bars.
Still, Lunde's mother, Kelly May, said she considered the conviction a victory.
"He's gotten what he deserves," she told reporters outside. Asked what she might tell Onstott, May said, "I hope every day you wake up in the same hell that we go through for the last three years."
Prosecutors said Onstott went to the mobile home where Sarah and her family lived in rural southeastern Hillsborough County in 2005, looking for May. She wasn't home, and her brother had gone out to get food with a friend.
Onstott strangled the teen and left her body in an abandoned fish pond near her home, weighting it down with concrete, prosecutors said. Her remains were found a week later.
An autopsy determined that the teen had died from crushing blows to the head.