Guilty Verdict Returned

Published: Nov. 15, 2006 at 9:28 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 15, 2006 at 9:46 PM CST
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Colton Weir is seen leaving the Nacogdoches County courthouse following his conviction on...
Colton Weir is seen leaving the Nacogdoches County courthouse following his conviction on Wednesday, November 15, 2006. (KTRE News Photo / Josh Ault)

by Donna McCollum

It took a jury only 40 minutes to decide that Colton Weir was guilty of the capital murder of James Kelly last October. That means the teenager who turned 17 on the day of his conviction will spend the rest of his life in prison, without any chance of parole. Weir will never have pickups, four-wheelers, jet skis, or money, all things he was expecting as payment for being the trigger man and killing James Kelly while he slept.

Weir sat silently when the verdict was read, as did the rest of the courtroom. Then came the sentence, life in prison with no parole. Perhaps reality set in. Weir wept, an emotion interpreted by some as remorse and by others as self pity. As Weir exited the courtroom, he never glanced at his mother, Julia Smith. In previous days, she's been cordial. On this day, when asked for a comment, she yelled back, "No, I won't."

Also remaining silent was James Kelly's family, who was visibly relieved with the verdict.   Their words are for Colton, who at age 15 placed a .30-.30 rifle to the face of a sleeping man. In a victim's statement, Kelly's sister, Kassie Hogan, read to Colton, "You are an evil coward for what you have done. I hope you sleep in fear for the rest of your life." Elsewhere, she said, "I look into your eyes and I want to see remorse...But you give me this cold, hard stare, and look at me as if I've done something to you."

District Attorney Stephanie Stephens said, "You're listening to somebody's heart break, and it's sad." She's pleased the jury didn't let Colton's young age influence their verdict. Stephens said, "The jury has to base their verdict on the facts, and not on any sympathy they might feel for anyone."

Defense attorney Bill Agnew quickly left the courthouse following his client's verdict. Weir's family lingered outside. The Kelly family left together with vows to remember James Kelly forever in their hearts.

Colton Weir is the second capital murder conviction in the James Kelly murder case. Back in August, Kelly's wife, Marcia Kelly, was found guilty of capital murder for her role in the "murder for hire" plot. Kelly's daughter, Shaina Sepulvado, will go to trial in January. Her boyfriend, Dallas Christian, remains in a state mental hospital.