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Robins Airman found guilty on all charges

ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. (AFMCNS) -- A military jury has unanimously found Senior Airman Andrew Paul Witt guilty of two specifications of premeditated murder in the July 5, 2004, stabbing deaths of Senior Airman Andrew Schliepsiek and his wife, Jamie. Airman Witt was also found guilty Oct. 5 of one specification of attempted premeditated murder in the stabbing attack of then Senior Airman Jason King.

The verdict, which was met by sighs of relief from the families and friends of the victims, was read just after 3 p.m. and came after nearly a full day of closing arguments by the government and the defense and a day and a half of deliberations.

Jim Bielenberg, the father of Jamie Schliepsiek, said as the verdict was about to be read he pictured his daughter at age 6.

"I could see her face, and I just said, 'I hope some justice is here for you,'" he said during a post verdict media interview. "I remember her as a little girl and all of the good times I had with her and she's never coming back. I'm just glad that maybe there's some justice for her and for Andy."

Mr. Bielenberg said the verdict gives a little solace.

"It maybe gives you five seconds of relief , but at the end of the day, they're not coming back and that's the part that's so tough to take," he said.

He added that he doesn't feel justice will be complete if Airman Witt isn't given the death penalty.

What sentence the Airman will receive will be decided during the sentencing phase which began yesterday.

Col. Jeff Robb, Center staff judge advocate, said because Airman Witt was found unanimously guilty on the premeditated murder charge and specifications the death penalty is an option for the jury and is being sought by the prosecution.

"The unanimous finding of guilt on both premeditated murder charges authorizes the death penalty," he said.

The staff judge advocate said the sentencing phase will include the presentation of prosecution evidence followed by defense evidence and any rebuttal evidence.

"The prosecution and then the defense will argue as to what they believe is an appropriate sentence in this case," he said. "The jury will then again deliberate."

Colonel Robb explained that before the death penalty can be imposed, the jury would need to vote that at least one aggravating factor exists and that the aggravating factors substantially outweigh extenuation and mitigation evidence and that death is appropriate. All votes by the jury must be unanimous for the death penalty to be adjudged.