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Jury still deliberating woman’s fate

A jury of 12 men and women continue to deliberate the fate of Vanessa Gill, a Valley Grande woman on trial for capital murder in the March 2006 death of her husband.

The jury began attempting to decide on Thursday, but said it could not yet reach a verdict. Judge Jack Meigs told the jury it could decide between murder or capital murder, although Gill was indicted for capital murder.

If the jury finds Gill guilty of murder, the judge likely will sentence her at a later date, said District Attorney Michael Jackson.

If the jury finds Gill guilty of capital murder, the jury will decide if she will spend life in prison or if the state will execute her by lethal injection. The jury’s decision is advisory. The final determination is up to the judge.

The prosecution, chiefly represented by assistant District Attorney Shannon Lynch, has maintained Gill set up the incident in March 2006. Lynch said Gill was tired of her husband, Marshall, cheating on her and spending money on other people.

Marshall Gill was bludgeoned to death in his yard. Prosecutors say Vanessa Gill’s nephew, Curtis Cook, confessed to beating the man to death with a baseball bat, but at the urging of his aunt.

Defense attorney Julian McPhillips has called the prosecution’s case “a cock and bull story.” He said Cook gave three confessions to authorities after his arrest, but did not mention his aunt’s role in Marshall Gill’s death until the third statement.

McPhillips has portrayed his client as a “gentle, meek soul.”