POLK COUNTY, Fla. — If Judge Jalal Harb follows the jury's recommendation, Cheyanne Jessie would be the first woman in Polk County to be sentenced to death.
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When she received the verdict Friday evening, Jessie kept her head down as she did throughout the trial.
The jury recommended a death sentence for Jessie for the murder of her daughter, Meredith. They also recommended life in prison for the murder of Mark Weekly, Jessie's father.
The jury's decision Friday came after just about an hour and 15 minutes of deliberation.
State attorney Brian Haas said he was pleased with the result.
"It's the right verdict. I can't even imagine the terror the precious little girl felt as she was being brutally murdered alongside her grandfather by her own mother," said Haas.
Jessie's attorneys sent a statement, saying they were disappointed the jury gave a verdict of death.
"We hope the court will override the death verdict and expect to present additional mitigation evidence to the Court at sentencing," said Debra Tuomey, Esq.
The jury of nine women and three men decided Jessie should spend life in prison for Weekly's death. Jurors couldn't reach a unanimous decision and instead voted 10-2.
"We respect the decision that they made and feel that it was appropriate," Haas said.
Jessie was convicted Wednesday of viciously stabbing and shooting her father and daughter and then hiding their bodies in totes in a neighbor's shed.
There are a few more hearings, including a Spencer Hearing, before Judge Harb will ultimately decide whether he wants to accept the jury’s recommendation and sentence Jessie to death.
"This is a long process. It's very detailed but it should be because of the potential sentence here. So there are several more steps that must take place but getting the unanimous verdict from the jury recommending death is a major point in the case and we're optimistic going forward," Haas said.
Cheyanne Jessie is due back in court August 28 at 8:30 a.m. for a status conference hearing.
Beginning with jury selection, the trial lasted for four weeks.