Jury finds Charles Stobaugh guilty of murder in his estranged wife's disappearance.
A jury found Charles Stobaugh guilty of murder in his estranged wife's disappearance.
The jury returned a guilty verdict late Wednesday night after about five and half hours of deliberation. The punishment phase of the case will begin at 11 a.m. Thursday.
Kathy Stobaugh's family cried and hugged just outside the courtroom after the judge read the verdict.
"I think the only closure would come if he admitted it and told us where she was," said Mary Ann Ellis, her aunt. "That would be the ultimate closure."
She said the verdict was bittersweet. While there is justice for her niece, the Stobaugh children have now lost both parents, Ellis said.
In her closing arguments, prosecutor Susan Piel painted Charles Stobaugh as a penny-pinching man who did not want to lose half of his assets because of divorce. Piel said several people testified that Kathy Stobaugh was afraid of her husband.
Meanwhile, defense attorney Derrell Comer said in his final arguments that the state has no evidence proving Kathy Stobaugh was dead, nor any evidence that Charles Stobaugh had harmed her. Comer also said he wondered why investigators never questioned one of Kathy's lovers in her disappearance.
Members of Kathy Stobaugh's family sat on one side of the courtroom Wednesday, while members of Charles Stobaugh's family sat on the other.
The couple was estranged when Kathy Stobaugh disappeared on Dec. 29,2004, the eve of their divorce.
Her car and keys were found at Charles Stobaugh's secluded Sanger farm. Investigators executed 25 searches but never found any physical evidence linking Charles Stobaugh to her disappearance. Investigators also never found a murder weapon.
Both of Kathy and Charles Stobaugh's children took the stand in the trial.
NBC DFW's Ashanti Blaize contributed to this report.