GOSHEN — Tyrice Halliburton is guilty of the murder of Sheena Kiska, jurors ruled this afternoon, April 18.
Now they will decide whether to recommend Halliburton spend life in prison because he killed her during a burglary.
It took the jury just less than two hours to reach their unanimous verdict following full days of testimony on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Kiska, 23, died of more than 50 knife wounds in her apartment in Bristol on March 18, 2008.
Her 4-year-old daughter discovered her body and police began their search for the killer.
Halliburton lived next door to Kiska and even showed police a way to break into the apartment when they found themselves unable to get in two days after the murder.
He gave police various stories about what he saw the day of her death, eventually giving details he claimed he saw through a door cracked open. He and his girlfriend, Nicole DeFronzo, spoke to reporters about the crime in an attempt to avoid suspicion, according to DeFronzo.
The problem was, police testified, you couldn’t see any of Kiska’s body until you were a few feet inside the apartment.
When prosecutors charged Halliburton early last year, they had testimony from inmates who’d encountered Halliburton in the jail. Those inmates said he gave them details about her murder.
By the end of last year, though, DeFronzo said she was weighed down by nearly four years of keeping his secret. She told her parents about Halliburton viciously killing Kiska, and they eventually convinced her to come forward.
DeFronzo testified about what Halliburton told her about how Kiska interrupted him burglarizing her apartment a second time, so he killed her. DeFronzo also testified about helping him get rid of evidence.
She said he gave details of the crime, details that matched up with physical evidence jurors saw.
By 3 p.m., jurors were hearing arguments on whether the murder should earn Halliburton a life sentence without parole, with his mother set to take the stand and try to convince the jury her son doesn’t deserve imprisonment for the rest of his life.
Under Indiana law, if a murder happens during a burglary, prosecutors can seek a life sentence.
After the jury makes its recommendation on whether a life sentence is warranted, they’ll be asked to find that Halliburton is a habitual criminal offender.