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March 20, 2009

Woodruff found guilty of capital murder

Brandon Dale Woodruff was found guilty Friday of capital murder involving the deaths of his parents, Dennis and Norma Woodruff, in October 2005.

As the prosecution was not seeking the death penalty, Woodruff received an automatic sentence of life in prison without parole.

The jury in the 354th District Court returned the verdict after some five hours of deliberations in the case, following closing arguments.

Charla Woodruff, the defendant’s sister, read a statement following the announcement of the jury’s decision, which said she had tried to move on with her life, but that she still is constantly reminded about the murders.

“The horror and pain come back and leave me at a loss for words,” she said. “Brandon, you made me plan a funeral. That thought still disgusts me.”

Defense counsel Katherine Ferguson said she and fellow defense attorney Jerry Spencer Davis were disappointed with the verdict.

“But we respect that the jury spent five hours deliberating and reviewing the evidence,” Ferguson said, adding a verbal notice of appeal had already been filed. “The appeals court will take it from there.”

Adrienne McFarland, one of two special prosecutors assigned to the case from the Texas Attorney General’s Office, said she and fellow prosecutor Raphael Guerrero could not address the outcome.

“Other than to say we are very pleased with the verdict we can’t say anything else,” McFarland said.

As he was being led from the courtroom and back to the Hunt County Jail, where he has been incarcerated since shortly after his parents’ deaths, Brandon Woodruff was greeted by supporters shouting their encouragement. Woodruff thanked them and declined comment other than to say, “I am not guilty. There will be an appeal.”

The verdict brought to a close a 12-day trial and more than three years of legal twists and turns in one of Hunt County’s most sensational murder cases.

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