Jury deliberating in Michaela MacVilla murder trial


Daniel Nellis sat quietly in a Fulton county courtroom as the district attorney painted a grim picture of what he says happened the night of September 25th, 2018.

He says Nellis picked up 21-year-old Michaela Macvilla after she left work at Stewart’s in St. Johnsville, at some point throwing her phone out the car window on the way to his house.

District Attorney Chad Brown says video, DNA, and cellular evidence shows Nellis drove Macvilla to a field nearby his house — they struggled — Nellis punched her in the face breaking her glasses — she tried to get away — he grabbed her by her waistband and shot her in the back of the head.

The prosecution used data from her Fitbit to show her heart rate peaking at 180 beats per minute. Minutes later she was dead. Her body was located several days later.

Michaela’s aunt, Cora Murray, says she’s sure Nellis is responsible.

“In my mind there’s no doubt that he did it. He will get justice. Whether it’s in this life or next he’ll get it.”

Nellis’ son Jacob agrees, especially after hearing the prosecution’s timeline.

“It made me sick, and it honestly made me believe even more that he did do it.”

Jacob says it’s something his father is totally capable of, and the evidence stacked against him is overwhelming.. 

“I’d convict him. Mostly because I know what he’s capable of and the evidence clearly points to him,” Jacob said. “If it was my choice I’d have him sit in there for the rest of his life and let him rot in there.”

The defense tried pointing to other suspects that could’ve committed the crime, but the family believes there isn’t enough evidence to substantiate that at all.

“We want the jury to be diligent,” Murray said. “We want them to be convinced of his guilt. We don’t expect an answer in 5 to 10 minutes but we don’t necessarily expect it to take days either.”

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