CLEARWATER, Fla. (CBS/WTSP) Rachel Wade has been found guilty of second-degree murder for the death of Sarah Ludemann.
The jury, which deliberated for less than three hours, sided with prosecutors who said that Wade had murdered Ludemann in April 2009 because the two were involved with same young man, Joshua Camacho.
The judge had told the jury that there were three options: guilty of second-degree murder, guilty of manslaughter, or innocent.
The 20-year-old Wade began sobbing as she stood next to her attorney, Jay Hebert.
“She’s devastated. She can’t believe it. I think she’s somewhat in shock. She was crying and sobbing hysterically as you can imagine,” said Hebert.
Wade’s parents stood in the back of the courtroom, clinging to one another. They were surrounded by friends and family trying to shield them from the media.
When asked if they had a comment about the verdict, they said, “No, not now,” reports CBS affiliate WTSP.
Closing arguments began Friday morning in the Pinellas County, Florida courthouse.
Prosecutors hammered away at Wade, talking about the hatred she had for Ludemann and the vicious actions allegedly taken by the young woman.
The state maintained that Wade murdered her nemesis, then sat back as Ludemann was dying and asked Pinellas Park police officers for a cigarette.
Prosecutor Wesley Dicus described the stabbing as so violent that the knife blade was bent.
Hebert maintained that his client acted in self defense.
Hebert said that on the night of the murder, Ludemann and her friends were on their way to “jump” Wade. Months and months of vicious taunts and bickering came to a head, he explained, and it was Ludemann, not Wade, who started the fatal fight.
Testimony in the trial revealed that Ludemann was at Camacho’s house the night of the murder and as she left with several friends to go to McDonald’s, another friend told her that Wade was just around the corner and that she should confront her.
During his closing argument, Hebert told the jury, “Sarah was the aggressor. They couldn’t stop her. She went looking for Rachel that night.”
Wade and Ludemann were both dating the same young man in a twisted and drama-filled love triangle that lasted for months.
There had been numerous confrontations between the girls.
The families of both Wade and Ludemann have declined interviews throughout the course of the trial.
There is one aspect of the murder case both sides agree upon wholeheartedly – the tragic nature of the crime. One set of parents lost their only daughter, while the other could lose theirs to life in prison.
“You could not sit in this courtroom on either side and not feel the pain of these two families. And, make no mistake, that’s all I’m talking about,” Hebert told the jury.
Wade now faces a minimum of 20-and-a-half years in prison, and a maximum of life in prison.
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