Jury: Evans guilty of capital murder

HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - A Hancock County jury has found Timothy Evans guilty of capital murder, for robbing then strangling 70-year-old Wenda Holling. The defendant rented a room in Holling's home in the Kiln at the time of her death.

It took jurors about two hours to reach their decision Thursday morning. Evans now faces the death penalty.

During closing arguments, the defense attorneys asked the jury to show Evans mercy. Attorney Philip Whitman said Evans had been under the influence of drugs and alcohol when the incident happened.

Prosecutors said Wenda Holling's family members are the ones who deserve mercy and justice.

Most of Wednesday's testimony came from the prosecution's star witness, Hancock County Sheriff's Investigator John Luther. He played a confession tape Evans made shortly after his arrest for Holling's murder.

On the tape you could hear Investigator Luther saying, "Basically you are saying you are stealing her credit card from her purse. Is that correct?"

Evans answered, "Yes."

"And you said she seen you doing it?" Luther asked.

Evans responded, "Yes."

"What did she say?" Luther asked.

"She told me to get out," Evans said.

Investigator Luther told the jury Evans said an altercation broke out between Evans and his landlord after she caught him in her purse.

Luther asked Evans on the tape, "When you said you got on top of her, how did you get on top of her?"

"I climbed on top of her, sat on her chest," Evans said.

"What was her action as she was being strangled?" Luther asked.

Holling fought back according to the forensic pathologist who conducted the autopsy on her body.

"You told us the following day you actually transported her body in the trunk of her vehicle. Is that correct?"

Evans said, "Yes."

Investigator John Luther testified a few days after taping the confession he received a letter from Evans wanting to amend a potion of his confession. Luther read the letter to the jury.

"I had stated previously that Wenda Holling had caught me taking her credit card; that was false. I have asked God to forgive me and I had to confess truthfully to be forgiven. I don't expect man to forgive me."

Forensic Pathologist Dr. Paul McGarry confirmed Holling died from strangulation.

"And the injuries went high up into her neck to the base of her tongue. This was the result of very forceful squeezing of the neck. The full force of a strong hand to compress and close off the air ways," said Dr. McGarry.

Evans now faces the death penalty. It is the first capital murder trial to be held in Hancock County in 12 years.

Copyright 2013 WLOX. All rights reserved.