07/11/05 — Jurors consider penalty for Lane

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Jurors consider penalty for Lane

By News-Argus Staff
Published in News on July 11, 2005 1:45 PM

A Wayne County Superior Court jury began deciding today whether Eric Lane will spend his life in jail or receive the death penalty for the murder of Precious Whitfield.

The jury of 10 women and two men deliberated for three hours over two days before returning the guilty verdict around 11:30 a.m. Friday. The verdict will be appealed automatically.

Lane had been charged with kidnapping, raping and suffocating the 5-year-old May 17, 2002. The child’s body was found near Nahunta Creek two days after she disappeared.

Deliberations were scheduled to begin this morning at 9:30 in Judge Gary Trawick’s courtroom. There are only two choices for the jury — life in prison without the possibility of parole or the death penalty.

Lane showed no emotion Friday when the verdict was announced.

He was convicted of a premeditated first-degree murder and murder under the felony murder rule — a murder committed during the commission of another serious crime.

Lane also was convicted of first-degree child rape, first-degree sexual offense, first-degree kidnapping and indecent liberties with a child. A charge of a lewd and lascivious act had been dismissed.