Jury Recommends Life Sentence for Donald Southworth

Reported by: Christine Winter
Set Text Size SmallSet Text Size MediumSet Text Size LargeSet Text Size X-Large
Updated: 1/20/2012 8:12 pm
A crowded courtroom watched a Lexington jury recommend a life sentence for Donald Southworth Friday after just 15 minutes of deliberating.

That same jury spent 3 hours deciding that Southworth killed his wife Umi in 2010.

DA Ray Larson says he didn't expect jurors to come back with a verdict so quickly.

Southworth did not react to the guilty verdict or the recommendation of life in prison.

The news came after a morning of passionate closing arguments.

Defense Attorney Tucker Richardson told the court that the Commonwealth's case did not deserve a guilty verdict.

He said the evidence did not point to Southworth and criticized investigators for not pursuing other leads.

"Police officers the whole time are focusing in on Don Southworth. He's the sole suspect," said Richardson.

He also questioned testimony from some of the prosecution's witnesses.

Richardson said, "(Detective) Bill Brislin gets in there and says DNA will tell the truth. It does! It certainly does- it proves Don Southworth didn't do it."

Meanwhile Larson painted Southworth as a desperate man and told jurors, "This is the story of a very manipulative, weird..control freak."

Larson spoke of Southworth's relationship and said, "Remember how he said he bought her for $10,000? And he taped her conversations. He threatened use of a scanner- he checked her odometer."

Umi and the couple's daughter Almira had a new home in Nashville.

And prosecutors said Southworth knew Umi was leaving and taking his meal ticket.

"Finally Umi had had enough! She wanted to get away from this guy and everyone around her knew it," said Larson.

The Commonwealth also told jurors that innocent people do not act guilty.

Southworth is set to be sentenced on February 24th.

His defense says he'll likely appeal the verdict.

Most Popular
Lexington lawyer disbarred after fraud plea
A Lexington attorney facing federal prison time for fraud has been permanently disbarred by the Kentucky Supreme Court.
UPDATE: New Details On Accident During Ice Bucket Challenge
A statement released by the Campbellsville Police Department detailed what went wrong during Thursday morning's "Cold Water Plunge" at Campbellsville University. Video Video
Report: 3 Firefighters Hurt During Campbellsville University's "Ice Bucket Challenge"
ABC36 has learned that three firefighters were injured when the ladder to their fire truck reportedly touched a main power line during the Campbellsville University's "Ice Bucket Challenge" on Thursday.
Lexington Store Sells Winning Lotto Tickets
One person bought five winning Cash Ball tickets worth $200,000 each
Officer In The Right Place At The Right Time
An officer doing a routine check at Thorntons helped catch a strong-arm robbery suspect on Thursday. Video Video
Inergize Digital This site is hosted and managed by Inergize Digital.

WTVQ.com supports children's privacy rights. All persons under the age of 13 MUST have parental permission to use this website and direct parental supervision is strongly recommended.