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Defendant in Disbelief, Victim's Family Exuberant Over Emerson Guilty Verdict

James Emerson sat straight up throughout the trial, showing little to no emotion.

His reaction when the verdict was read could be summed up as disbelief.

Emerson slumped in his chair with a deep sigh when the judge read the jury's decision.

The victims family, many who sat through every day of the trial, says they're exuberant with the verdict.

There were tears and hugs all around after the jury was dismissed and a decade of emotion could be let out.

Rhonda's sister Renee Eggebrecht says "I'm very happy with the verdict. It's been a long time coming. We've waited a long time for it.""

Renee says the family has supported each other, not just through the trial but ever since she was ripped from their lives almost a decade ago.

And this verdict finally brings them closer to the end, "my tears are flowing today. And yes it brings a little closure, we're better today than yesterday," Renee says.

The judge says sentencing will be set somewhere around April 1.

The family says they're not sure who's going to speak at that hearing.

After the verdict was read, we asked several members of the jury if they wanted to talk about the case.

They declined.

And defense attorney Peter Thompson also declined comment except to say we can expect an appeal.


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