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Carter found guilty of second degree murder

LAWTON, Okla._Stephone Carter has been found guilty of the 2012 murder of Tanya Zachary.

Day three of the Stephone Carter murder trial began Friday morning with closing statements given by both the state and Carter's defense. Prosecutors say Carter shot and killed Tanya Zachary as she babysat a little girl in a Sanders Heights apartment back in 2012.

They say he went there with his friend Emmanuel Ward to steal drugs while the apartment's owners weren't home. Carter told police he was only trying to buy drugs at the apartment when he shot Zachary out of self-defense.

It was unclear Friday morning whether Stephone Carter would take the chance to defend himself in front of the jury but once again, he would not take that opportunity. After closing arguments ended, the jury was handed the case, and nearly three hours later, the first verdict was in.

Stephone Carter was attentive during his entire trial but he sat emotionless in the courtroom today as Judge Aycock read that he was "guilty" for second degree murder. In their closing statements, prosecutors brought up that Carter had an "extreme disregard for human life" and said if he wanted to stop Emmanual Ward from robbing Zachary as he claimed in his interrogation, then why did Carter drive Ward over there?

The jury wasn't convinced of Carter and Ward's original plans; Carter was found not guilty of conspiracy to commit robbery and attempted robbery with a firearm. After the verdicts were read for the first three counts it was time for yet another count to be considered. The state presented count four, possession of a firearm after two previous felony convictions.

This final charge was not presented with the others in fear that the jury would consider Carter's convicted past of larceny and gun possession in original deliberations. The jury took over an hour to determine what sentence Carter would receive with the fourth count. He was found guilty of possession of a firearm after a felony conviction and Judge Aycock sentenced him to 45 years in prison for the murder, and 40 years for illegally having the gun with felonies on his record.

Those sentences are consecutive and Carter must serve at least 85% of those sentences each before he's eligible for parole. So the 22-year-old must serve at least 75 years before he has a chance to see the outside of a jail cell. He'll be transported to the Oklahoma Department of Corrections where he'll serve that time.

Emmanuel Ward, the other man charged with Zachary's murder, is due back in court sometime next week.

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