After deliberating for less than an hour, 12 jurors found Roderick Blincoe guilty of murder in the stabbing of his former landlord.
They also found Blincoe guilty of misdemeanor trespassing for breaking into a church, where he was found about two hours after the killing. He originally was charged with third-degree burglary, but jurors selected the lesser charge after defense attorneys argued that Blincoe broke into the church to "collect his thoughts" and to pray rather than to hide from police.
They recommended Blincoe, 53, serve a life sentence for killing Liese Carr on Sept. 12, 2009.
Carr, 53, died from severe blood loss after being stabbed repeatedly during an altercation in her home at 714 Aurora Avenue, off Walton Avenue.
During the three-day trial, defense attorneys argued there was not enough evidence to determine who was the aggressor. Though blood was splattered inside the home, DNA tests were not performed on it, public defender Robert Friedman said, and witnesses saw the altercation only after Blincoe and Carr came outside.
"Nobody knows what went on inside," he said.
But jurors apparently were swayed by substantial evidence presented by prosecutors, which included DNA swabs taken from the murder weapon, witness testimony and Carr's final words that Blincoe stabbed her.
Jurors heard a recording of a 911 call after Carr had been stabbed in which she breathlessly whispers "Blincoe" into the phone.
During closing arguments, Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Cindy Rieker said the defense's suggestions that the killing could have been self-defense was unfounded. She pointed to autopsy photos that showed Carr was stabbed repeatedly in the stomach, arms, hands, neck and back.
"If you intended only serious physical injury ... wouldn't you just stab somebody once?" she said. "There were three stab wounds in her stomach, not one."
Rieker also showed jurors an autopsy photo of a wound on Carr's arm, which occurred, she said, when Blincoe grabbed Carr to keep her from escaping.
"Is it self-defense that your arm is held to the extent that your skin is peeling away?" she said.
While forensic evidence and witnesses readily proved that Blincoe stabbed Carr, it was Carr's dying words that proved her death was deliberate, Rieker said. She reminded jurors of testimony from four neighbors and bystanders who heard Carr screaming "he's trying to kill me" as she was attacked in her back yard.
After finding Blincoe guilty but before deciding what sentence he should serve, jurors learned more about his criminal history.
Rieker said Blincoe has been convicted of six felonies in four Kentucky counties since the late 1970s: two counts of burglary, two counts of robbery and one count each of unlawful imprisonment and receiving stolen property.
Blincoe was on parole on one of those charges when Carr was killed, said parole officer Kimberly Morris, who testified as a character witness.
Jurors deliberated for less than 30 minutes before recommending a sentence of life in prison. They did not select a sentence for criminal trespass — because it is a misdemeanor, it must run at the same time as the murder sentence.
Fayette Circuit Judge Ernesto Scorsone set a final sentencing hearing for Oct. 13.