After 7 1/2 years... Jason Sharp is found guilty - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

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After 7 1/2 years... Jason Sharp is found guilty

A guilty verdict in a seven and half year old capital murder case.

Tracey Morris was raped and stabbed 37 times back in 1999.

Today, her family believes justice was served.

Before the jury was sent to deliberate, the judge addressed all 12 jurors.

She instructed them to strictly go by witness testimony and by evidence presented by the court.

Shortly after five o'clock Monday afternoon, Morris' family finally heard the word they've waited to hear for more than seven years.....guilty.

Family friends gather together outside the courtroom with tears in their eyes:  "Justice has finally been served and it's just a really good feeling."

After much emotion, hope, and prayer the prosecution succeeded.

They convinced a jury of 12 that Jason Sharp was guilty of capital murder during rape in the first degree.

Before they deliberated, Judge Laura Jo Hamilton explained if jurors reached a decision to convict him of this crime, they would have to meet seven elements unanimously.

Some being that Sharp intended to have forcible intercourse with Tracey Morris and that his intent was to kill.

Judge Hamilton advised them not to base their decision on compassion or speculation, but to look closely at witness statements and evidence.

But there were also lesser offenses they could have taken into consideration like universal malice.

It didn't take the jury long to reach a verdict.

Just after five o'clock Monday afternoon, the jury made it's decision...Jason Sharp guilty of murdering Tracey Morris.

The victim's father Ralph Morris describes his feelings:  "Elated, relieved, seven years, eight months do the math."

His attorney Allen Mann says, "We'll be arguing for a man's life."

That is where the defense will go from here.

It was hard to read Sharp's face when he was leaving the courtroom.

Mann says, "There's only two possible sentences, life without parole or the death penalty."

But closure is still far from reality for the victim's family.

Ralph Morris says, "There is no closure, no closure whatsoever.  I still don't have my baby."  

The sentencing process begins Tuesday morning.

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