Death row inmate Charles Frederick Warner was convicted Monday night of raping and murdering his live-in girlfriend's 11-month-old baby in 1997.
This was the second time an Oklahoma County District Court jury has handed down a guilty verdict against Warner for first-degree murder and first-degree rape in the Aug. 22, 1997, death of Adriana Waller.
After his first trial, Warner was sentenced to die by lethal injection for the slaying. He also received a 999-year prison sentence for the rape conviction. Later, he won an appeal.
This time, jurors recommended a 75-year sentence on the rape conviction.
Jurors are expected to return today to begin hearing evidence in the penalty phase of the trial. They will decide whether Warner should receive the death penalty or be sentenced to life in prison with or without the possibility of parole for the murder conviction.
Prosecutors are again seeking the death penalty.
Warner, who has been on death row since 1998, was granted a new trial in 2001 because the appellate court said District Judge Virgil Black erred in denying defense motions to dismiss some of the potential jurors called to hear the case.
Warner, who turned 36 Friday, also is charged in Oklahoma County in a separate case with abusing and raping a 5-year-old girl. He is accused of beating the girl with an extension cord and belt. Those charges are pending.
Jurors deliberated for about 3 1/2 hours Monday night before returning their guilty verdicts shortly after they received answers from the judge on the last two of their four questions.
Black told jurors there was no maximum sentence on the rape conviction and that the decision of parole is a question for the Corrections Department. State law requires a defendant to serve 85 percent of the sentence on a rape conviction.
In Warner's first trial, a jury deliberated an hour before finding him guilty of murder and rape.
Medical testimony in his second trial, which began June 16, revealed that Adriana was violently shaken and her skull was fractured in two places.
Her jaw and three of her ribs were broken. Her lungs and her spleen were bruised and her liver was lacerated, according to testimony. The baby's brain was swollen and hemorrhaging was discovered in her eyes and around her brain.
Assistant District Attorneys Lou Keel and Robert Swartz said Warner was with the baby when she was injured.
The baby's mother, Shonda Waller, was at the grocery store, they said.
Assistant Public Defenders Tamra Spradlin and Gina Walker tried to prove Warner did not kill the baby.
They tried to show jurors that police and prosecutors had manipulated the evidence and the witnesses told inconsistent and embellished testimony.
Defense attorneys accused the prosecutors of building a case on faulty assumptions.
In closing arguments, Swartz said, "The defendant says: It wasn't me. The evidence says it was. This was not an accident.
Spradlin told jurors in her closing argument: "He is not guilty. He did not kill Adriana Waller and he did not commit any anal rape of this baby.
Spradlin said Warner drove a truck and didn't drink, smoke or take drugs.
The defense attorney said he was a father who took care of his 2-year-old biological daughter and put alphabet letters on the refrigerator for his children.
Keel told jurors the defendant admitted to police he injured the baby.
"'You already got me,'" Keel said Warner told police in a videotape interview Aug. 22, 1997. "Those were his words the same day. Those were the words that came out of this defendant's mouth.Archive ID: 1366071