After four hours of deliberating Friday, jurors convicted Dwayne A. Woods of the aggravated murders of two women in a Spokane Valley trailer home.
Woods, 27, stood silently as Spokane County Superior Court Judge Michael Donohue read the verdict aloud. Relatives of the victims sobbed in relief.
The nine-woman, three-man jury convicted Woods of the baseball bat murders of 22-year-old Telisha Shaver and 18-year-old Jade Moore.
On Monday, jurors will start the second phase of the trial - deciding if Woods should get the death penalty or life imprisonment without parole.
“I watched him (Woods) when the verdict was read,” said Terri Moore, mother of Jade Moore.
“He didn’t move, he didn’t twitch. He didn’t show any emotion.”
Jurors also convicted Woods of the attempted murder of Venus Shaver, 20. She testified she invited Woods to the Valley trailer on April 27, 1996. She said he struck her in the head after she refused his demand for sex. Her next memories were of regaining consciousness several days later.
Prosecutors say Woods hit Venus Shaver several times with an aluminum bat, leaving her for dead.
They say he later raped Moore, then killed Venus’ sister, Telisha, when she came to the trailer unexpectedly. Later, he killed Moore with a blow to the skull from the bat.
“The verdict was not totally a surprise to us,” said Richard Fasy, one of Woods’ defense attorneys.
“But we had hoped the jury would have given more time to their deliberations.”
Prosecutors used physical evidence and eyewitness testimony to argue no one else was seen at the trailer the night of the attack. They pointed to Woods’ shirt and coat found at the crime scene. One witness said she saw him running from the trailer the morning of the attack, and two others said they saw him nearby.
Prosecutors also presented DNA tests they claim virtually proved that Woods had raped Moore before she died.
In a terse summary to the jury, Deputy Prosecutor Jack Driscoll said Friday he was certain Woods committed premeditated murder.
“You don’t hit someone with an aluminum bat with enough force to crack their skull unless you want them to die,” he said.
Defense attorneys challenged Venus Shaver’s recounting of the attack, reminding jurors her last memory in the trailer was of Woods walking toward her.
Fasy, in his closing argument, said a set of unidentified fingerprints in the home raised unanswered questions about who else might have been there.
Jurors were told by Donohue they could not comment on their verdict pending the next phase of the trial.
After the verdict, they left the court avoiding eye contact with attorneys and family members huddled in the hallway. They will be sequestered during the penalty phase.
As jurors departed, Venus Shaver wiped away tears and tugged on a silver cross hanging from a chain she was wearing. Before the attacks, she had briefly dated Woods after meeting him at a Valley video rental store.
“Testifying in this trial was extremely hard. Very hard,” she said. “I did it because I felt the strength of Telisha. I really believe she is my guardian angel.”
Janet and Emmanuel Hunter, Woods’ parents, had no comment after the verdict. Both are expected to testify in the second phase, offering reasons why the jury should spare their son’s life.
Sherry Shaver, who testified she saw Woods run from the trailer the morning her daughters were beaten, said the verdict brought the first relief she’s felt in nearly a year.
“Now I’m going to tell the jury the story of Telisha’s life. I do want them to give him the death penalty, because of the way he killed her and Jade,” she said.
Woods, taken quickly to the Spokane County Jail after the verdict, was born in Las Vegas and moved to Spokane several years ago.
Defense attorney Fasy said he’d consult with him before Monday to determine if Woods will testify next week. Woods did not testify during the murder trial.
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