Jury Convicts Wilbert Smith Of Capital Murder

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - A Madison County jury has decided Wilbert Smith is guilty of three counts of capital murder.

The jury announced the verdict shortly after 4:30 p.m.  Jurors started deliberating at 9 a.m. Thursday.

Madison County Circuit Judge Karen Hall sentenced Smith to two terms of life in prison without parole.  Prosecutors did not push for the death penalty in the case.

Attorney Bruce Gardner, who represented Smith, said he was extremely disappointed wiht the verdict.

"I do not think the state carried near the burden of proof needed to convict," Gardner said afterwards.

The jury asked a question of the judge mid-morning. They wanted her to further explain the notion go complicity and liability. By law a defendant can only be convoked of a capital offense if the jury can find beyond a reasonable doubt the defendant had "a particularized and specific" intend to promote, aid or abet the commission of a crime.

Smith was accused of killing two Alabama A&M students in their home on Hester Lane in Huntsville in 2008.  B.J. Peterson and Ronnie Pugh, Jr. were bound and shot multiple times.  Their home was also ransacked.

Prosecutors said police found Smith's blood in several rooms and he was charged several months later with the crime.  Prosecutors weren't certain if Smith was the one to pull the trigger, and believe others were involved.  However, they never charged anyone else in the crime.