COMANCHE COUNTY, OK (KSWO) - After nearly four hours of deliberations, a Comanche County Jury has found Andrew Gaines guilty of second-degree murder.
Gaines was charged with killing Joshua Whitehead in 2015. He was also convicted on six robbery charges and for having a firearm after a previous felony conviction.
It was an extremely emotional scene as Gaines hugged his family and said goodbye. But then, unexpectedly, he was joined by Whitehead's mother who had a message of positivity for the man who killed her son.
"I told Mr. Gaines that I have no hard feelings against him, that I have been praying for him and the rest of them since they were arrested. And praying for their families because they don't know total loss, but they know loss and it's hard, it's going to be hard for them to bear and I can understand that as a mother," said Rita Hess, Whitehead's mother.
But Hess said Gaines' family will at least be able to visit him in prison, a luxury she will not have with her son.
"It's like missing a heartbeat. It's like missing a breath. That's what a mother goes through. I will not be the same person I was years ago. It has changed me. It should never have happened. A mother should not have to bury their child. They got to touch him and say their goodbyes but when I said goodbye to my son, he was cold. He was dead," Hess said.
Hess says her son's death has her worried for another family member.
"My granddaughter, I worry about her because her father is gone. She'll never get to know the joys of him. Just stories and pictures and I hope to always be able to give that to her, forever," Hess said.
Hess has a message for her son, who she knows is watching down on her.
"We miss you so much, every single day. People don't quite understand. They think 2 years, 7 months and 6 days has gone by and life goes on, and yea it does whether you like it or not. But if I could have you here, I'd have you here son but that's not my choice. But I'll see you someday, I know someday through my faith I will see you," Hess said.
Gaines will be formally sentenced August 1st, but Wednesday, the jury recommended a sentence to the judge. On the murder count, they suggested life in prison. For the other seven counts, they recommended a combined 80 years in prison.