Banita Jacks Found Guilty of Murder

Jacks faces manadatory life sentence

After a D.C. Superior Court judge convicted a woman Wednesday of killing her four young daughters, he appeared shaken by the gravity of the case and placed his head in his hands.

"It was a very lonely assignment," Judge Frederick Weisberg said, referring to the fact that he had to decide the case himself after Banita Jacks waived her right to a jury trial.

Weisberg convicted the 34-year-old Jacks of four counts of felony murder, three counts of premeditated first-degree murder and four counts of cruelty to children.

Jacks was acquitted of one count of premeditated first-degree murder.  Weisberg said he couldn't prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the stab wounds the oldest daughter received weren't self-inflicted or if they happened during a struggle with her mother.

Jacks faces a mandatory life sentence without parole. That sentence is expected to begin in October.

It took the Weisberg more than an hour to render a verdict. Jacks sat silently and glared at the judge as he recounted the facts in the case and how the young girls died.

Before reading his verdict, Weisberg said this was one of the "most challenging" cases he's had in his 32 years as a judge.

U.S. Marshals deputies discovered the girls' decomposing bodies in January 2008 while carrying out an eviction at Jacks' southeast D.C. row house. The girls are believed to have been ages 5 to 16 when they were killed.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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