By RODNEY HART
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
MEXICO, Mo. — An Audrain County jury deliberated for a little more than three hours Wednesday before finding Calvin Duane Pettey guilty of murdering fiancée Sandra Fugate in her Hannibal home more than two years ago.
Members of Fugate's family and friends cried and raised fists when Judge Keith Sutherland read the verdict in the Audrain County Courthouse. The 42-year-old Pettey, who will be sentenced Aug. 27 to life in prison by Sutherland, showed little emotion when the verdict was read.
Fugate's mother, Mary Patterson, hugged friends and family outside the courthouse after Pettey was led away. He will be lodged in the Marion County Jail until sentencing. Life in prison without parole is the mandatory sentence for first-degree murder in Missouri.
"I just want to know why he did it," said Patterson, who testified about finding her daughter's body in the basement of Fugate's home on Iowa Street in Hannibal on April 15, 2010. "Why didn't he just leave her?"
Key trial testimony came Tuesday morning from Rebecca Kirk, who said she and Pettey were lovers and plotted to kill Fugate because he didn't want to go through with their planned wedding on April 17, 2010. Kirk said she could not go through with several murder plans, although she did dispose of evidence and never told police or Fugate about the plot.
"She (Kirk) is just as guilty as he is," Patterson said. "Her day will come."
Marion County Prosecutor Tom Redington said he was "pleased" with the trial outcome, but did not say if Kirk will be charged. The statute of limitations is three years.
"You will just have to wait and see," said Redington.
Defense attorney Todd Schulze declined to comment when leaving the courtroom.
Patterson said friends and family have helped her get through "hell" since her daughter was murdered.
"They've all been with me from day one," she said through tears.
A group of women calling themselves "Sandy's Sisterhood" said Fugate was "finally as peace." One of them yelled "Guilty!" as they stood outside the courthouse on a warm summer day.
The trial lasted three days, and featured about 70 exhibits and 27 witnesses.