GLENS FALLS, N.Y. – A jury has found Gary Waite, a Glens Falls man accused of causing the death of his 15-month-old, guilty of second-degree murder, manslaughter, and endangering the welfare of a child.
The jury took 90 minutes to deliberate on Tuesday night and one hour to deliberate on Wednesday.
"We've been waiting for two years," says Jesse's mother, Lisa Younes, "I'm happy Jesse got justice and if he hadn't I would've fought for it still."
During the course of the trial, the jury heard graphic testimony about the extent of the boy's fatal injuries. Police say Waite allegedly confessed to throwing the boy on the couch where he then fell and hit his head on the floor, leading to a severe head injury and death.
This was one of the key arguments for the prosecution in the 2nd Degree Murder Charge was convincing the jury of depraved indifference to human life.
During closing arguments, Waite's Attorney Marc Zuckerman told jurors that they did not have enough information or evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Waite didn't care about his son Jessie Smith.
"He was extremely concerned, upset, and hysterical. You heard the descriptions they came from the police," said Zuckerman.
But DA Kate Hogan told the eight-man four-woman jury, that Waite did not seek immediate medical care for Smith as he was clinging to life.
"He didn't do anything. He was choosing to protect himself as he documents in text messages his child dying before his very eyes," she said.
It's been a very difficult day for the family of Jessie Smith, his mother says that Tuesday is the first day she could bring herself to this trial, and when photos of her son were shown in court she and her family were brought back to the day he died from what police and the DA says was a brutal beating.
Jessie's aunt, Tricia Grenier, says she and her family are angry that Waite still maintains his innocence.
"It's been a huge hurt to our family and I'm sure to his family too but our families have suffered not only with Jessie's death but with this trial and he just he needs to, they need to finally put him away and get this over with," she said. "The difficult part about the whole thing is just not admitting to saying that he did this to Jessie and owning up to it and taking the responsibility for it."
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