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Haynes found guilty of murder, victim's family speaks

(Source KSWO) (Source KSWO)

LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - A Lawton man accused of murdering his wife was found guilty Wednesday afternoon by a Comanche County jury.

Herbert Haynes was convicted of second-degree murder in the killing of his wife, Irene, at a Lawton motel back in 2014. Haynes had argued that Irene attacked him and he was only defending himself, but after about two hours of deliberation, the jury found him guilty and recommended a sentence of life in prison.

It was an emotional scene as the family left the courtroom after finding out the man who killed Irene would spend the rest of his life in prison. They said they were happy with the jury’s decision but unfortunately, this doesn’t bring Irene back.

As they left the courtroom, the daughters of Irene Haynes said they were feeling a wide range of emotions.

“Honestly I have a bitter-sweet feeling but mostly I’m happy because this was a long three year wait for me and my family to find out what was going to happen,” said Irene’s daughter Brittany Smith.

“Nobody likes to say oh I was excited, but it was a joyful feeling because I felt like even though we can’t’ have my mother back, he can’t have the opportunity to hurt anyone else’s family the way he hurt ours,” said Irene’s daughter Samantha McFadden.

Wednesday, attorneys for both sides wrapped up three days of testimony with their closing statements, with both walking through every witness who was called and pointing out to the jury what they thought was important.

McFadden said it was tough to sit in the courtroom and hear bad things said about her mom while seeing graphic images from the crime scene, but said it was all worth it in the end.

“I’ve seen a lot of things I wish I never had seen. But it was something we probably needed to see just to help us understand the seriousness of the situation and let us know our loved one was vindicated through all the torture she went through,” McFadden said.

After all the evidence was given in this case, Irene’s brother said there is still one lingering question about Haynes’s actions.

“He could have walked away,” said Itaska Roundtree. “It still goes through my mind why he didn’t walk away. You’re a bigger man, you’re bigger than her so physically, you’re stronger than her. You don’t even have to let the situation escalate.”

After everything their family has been through, Irene’s mother, Nodie Todd, had a message for the man who killed her daughter.

“I just want Herbert to know we do forgive him for what he did. I mean, I was angry for a while. God can’t use me being angry,” Todd said.

The family said they feel the justice system did work in this case and that they are, for the most part, happy with the jury's recommended sentence of life in prison. Haynes will be formally sentenced on April 4th. 

Copyright 2017 KSWO. All rights reserved.

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