Lawrence Earl Donachy, 36, of St. Marys has been found guilty of second degree murder in the April 5-6, 1999 homicide of Irene Challingsworth, a 56-year-old St. Marys beautician.
A 12-member Butler County jury concluded their deliberations Thursday morning at approximately 10:20 a.m. when Elk County Court of Common Pleas President Judge Richard Masson announced the a verdict had been reached inside the Elk County Courthouse.
The jury foreman announced the verdict in which Donachy was found guilty of second degree/felony murder, rape, burglary and aggravated assault. He was found not guilty of arson.
The jury began deliberations on Tuesday where they conveyed for 5.5 hours as well an entire 8 hours on Wednesday and just over one hour on Thursday morning beginning at 9 a.m. Deliberations totaled nearly 15 hours.
Following the reading of the verdict, a jury poll was conducted as each juror was asked if they approved of the verdict to which all answered yes.
"I cannot express in words your gratitude from the court," Masson said. "Elk County and the system of justice owes that gratitude to you. You have fulfilled the highest service of duty in the Commonwealth."
Masson then dismissed the jury stating they are free to discuss the case among themselves or others if they so choose. He added that he wished to informally meet with them for a brief time inside the jury room before they departed for their homes.
See tomorrow's edition of The Ridgway Record for the full story.