Columbus woman convicted of killing NY truck driver

Diana Branchfield, Source: Columbus Police Department
Diana Branchfield, Source: Columbus Police Department

By Laura Ann Sills - email

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - The jury in Diana Branchfield's murder trial reaches a verdict after two days of deliberation.

It has been two and a half years since the murder of truck driver John Belfance.  Belfance was found shot to death in his truck in August 2007.

When Branchfield heard the word guilty, tears began streaming down her face.

The verdict couldn't have come sooner for Belfance's family.

"We're pleased that the case is over and that the victim's family can get closure now," says Assistant DA, Sadhana Dailey.

The state asked for the maximum sentence for the charges of felony murder and armed robbery - life in prison.

The defense asked for leniency and told the judge Branchfield had sympathy for the family.

Judge Gil McBride addressed Branchfield in reference to her charges, "some of the most severe crimes that are recognized by our society, among them, murder and armed robbery. It just doesn't get much worse than that."

Branchfield was sentenced to life in prison, plus five years to be served consecutively after the first term.

The prosecutor believes the taped police interview of Branchfield worked to their advantage. "A lot of the evidence came from the defendants own mouth in the statements that she made, the corroboration of those statements with the police investigation."

It was discussed that under the law Branchfield will most likely get credit for the time she's already served toward her sentence.  She has been in jail since April 18, 2008.

The defense has 30 days to file a motion for a new trial.