ST. JOHNSVILLE, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The man accused of shooting and killing 21-year-old Michaela MacVilla has been found guilty in Fulton County Court on Thursday.
ST. JOHNSVILLE, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The man accused of shooting and killing 21-year-old Michaela MacVilla was found guilty in Fulton County Court on Thursday.
Daniel Nellis, 45, was charged with second-degree murder, accused of shooting and killing MacVilla and dumping her body in a field near his home. The case was handed over to the jury on Wednesday with deliberations continuing into Thursday.
As the verdict was read, MacVilla’s family burst into tears, but Nellis sat there without showing much emotion.
MacVilla went missing in September 2018 after leaving work at the Stewart’s Shops in St. Johnsville.
Prosecutors said Nellis brought MacVilla to a nearby field and punched her across the face. The two struggled, and the district attorney said Nellis grabbed MacVilla by the ankle and waistband and pulled down her pants to prevent her from escaping.
Nellis then allegedly shot MacVilla in the back of the head.
The district attorney said technology played a huge role in the case.
“This was a technical case,” Fulton County District Attorney Chad Brown said. “Probably one of the first cases I think that ever had FitBit data, cell phone data, and surveillance data all combined.”
The defense tried to lay the blame on other suspects and punch holes in the prosecution’s timeline. But Nellis’s own son said he believed Nellis was guilty.
“The evidence clearly points to him,” Jacob Nellis said. “But if I had a choice, I would have him sit in there the rest of his life and let him rot in there.”
The technological data was used as evidence, which helped the jury reach its unanimous decision. Outside the courthouse, Jacob Nellis was seen hugging MacVilla’s mother.
“I lost a child in what happened, and he lost a father,” MacVilla’s mother, Samantha Jump, said. “It doesn’t matter the type of relationship they had. Nobody deserves to lose a loved one.”
It was an emotional day for both families. While it was the verdict they were hoping for, the family is still grieving.
“He didn’t just take their daughter, he took away their life. We lost everything. We lost everything.”
MacVilla’s family said it’s been a long road, but now, they are trying to move forward.
“From the very beginning, I trusted the law enforcement, all the agencies,” Jump said. “Then I was asked to continue to trust in the legal system. There was times I didn’t want to but I did it. I’m glad I did because what little sliver of justice we get, we get it.”
Jump said she hopes Nellis never sees the light of day . He will be sentenced on August 22.