UTICA, N.Y. -- The 12 jurors tasked with deciding Kaitlyn Conley's fate, were given three choices: not guilty, guilty of murder or guilty of manslaughter. On Monday, they chose to convict Conley of the lesser included charge, which says she intended to cause serious harm to her former boss, Mary Yoder, but did not intend to kill her.
"From the facts that came across, you could see a jury naturally gravitating to a manslaughter rather than a murder in a case like this one, you know, there's so much difficulty with motive," said Michael Arcuri, a former Oneida County district attorney.
Manslaughter wasn't included in Conley's indictment, but at the end of the trial, the prosecution felt the facts of the case fit that charge and the judge agreed to add it as a lesser included charge for the jury to consider. Conley's defense team disagreed with the decision. After the verdict was delivered, attorney Frank Policelli called it a compromise verdict.
"The entire theory of this whole case that was presented to the grand jury was an intent to kill. Then they changed their theory in the middle of the trial and says, 'Well, maybe it wasn't an intent to kill maybe it was an intent to cause serious physical injury.' That's totally improper, you can't do that," said defense attorney Frank Policelli.
Enraged by the jury's verdict, Policelli said he fully intends on appealing their decision. Arcuri said there are several issues Policelli could present before the state's Appellate Division.
"Was a reasonable viewing of the evidence sufficient for the judge to make a determination that manslaughter should be included? Yes, that's going to be included. So, are there some meaty issues that can be appealed? Yes there are. Whether or not they'll be enough to carry the day, that will all depend on what the Appellate Division thinks," said Arcuri.
Arcuri said this case was unlike any he's tried, with motive being a major sticking point. While that's not something the DA was required to prove, Arcuri said it's a case that will forever cause people to wonder why.
Conley was remanded by the judge after hearing the verdict. She will be sentenced in January. Conley could spend anywhere from 5-to-25 years in prison.