UPDATE: Kody Walsh Sentenced for Murder

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UPDATE: ROCKFORD (WIFR) – Kody Walsh will spend more than 100 years in prison. He was convicted for the First Degree murder of Lori Daniels in 2012.

For the first time, we heard from Kody Walsh who publicly apologized to Lori Daniels’ family, saying he’s sorry for their loss.

Judge John Truitt sentenced Walsh to 116 years in prison. He says he took Walsh’s apology into consideration, however Judge Truitt called this “an evil and inexplicable cowardly act” claiming Walsh shot Daniels for no apparent reason. Earlier today, prosecutors read statements from Daniels’ family who described her as a social and loving mom. Last month, a jury convicted Walsh of three counts o murder for the death of Lori Daniels. He shot her twice in the head while they were riding in a car on I-90. Walsh then led police on a high-speed chase from South Beloit before crashing his car in Rockford.

Assistant State’s Attorney Marilyn Hite Ross says she believes this is the start of healing for the family of Lori Daniels, claiming justice was served. The defense didn’t wish to comment.

We also heard from Kody’s sister Sierra who said they grew up in poverty, yet Judge John Truitt says that’s no excuse for Kody’s behavior. The judge also says a key factor in this sentencing was Kody Walsh’s criminal history. The judge pointed out that Walsh has been in and out of the system since he was about 12 years old.

Walsh is convicted of shooting Lori Daniels to death while driving on I-90 near South Beloit back in September 2012. He then led authorities on a week-long manhunt throughout several states. That ultimately led to his arrest in Tennessee.

UPDATE: ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- Some potential closure for the family of a woman brutally gunned down on I-90 in 2012 after a jury convicts Kody Walsh of murder. The decision comes after six hours of deliberations. Walsh could face life in prison; however he’ll walk away from some other serious charges.

Walsh is guilty on three counts of first degree murder for shooting Lori Daniels twice in the head. As the verdict was read Walsh kept his focus forward, not showing much emotion, as was the case through most of the trial.

That guilty verdict means Walsh will spend 45 years to life in prison. In addition to the murder charges, Walsh was found guilty of Aggravated Unlawful Restraint and Aggravated Fleeing From Police. Prosecutors proved that charge through dash cam video from a squad car as Walsh led police on a high-speed chase from South Beloit all the way to Rockford.

Walsh was found not guilty for the Attempted Murder of Ebert Davison, Walsh's friend who was driving the SUV when Daniels was murdered. Walsh was also acquitted of the Attempted Murder and Aggravated Discharge of a Firearm of two police officers who were involved in that chase with Walsh.

Despite the not guilty verdicts one of the officers and prosecutors say they're still very happy with the jury's decision.

"It's finally over and hopefully the family feels better about it and can move on with the rest of their lives," South Beloit Police Officer James Sanders, said.

"We're very pleased with the jury’s hard work to try and bring justice to Lori Daniels, and to bring a sense of closure to her family," Marilyn Hite-Ross, Chief of Criminal Bureau for the Winnebago County State’s Attorney’s Office, said.

There was a little confusion when the verdict came down. The jury didn't fill out one of the verdict forms, so the judge sent them back into the deliberation room. A few minutes later they returned to the courtroom and announced their decision.

Walsh faces 45 years to life in prison. He'll be sentenced on April 7, 2014.

UPDATE: A jury says Kody Walsh is GUILTY of murder in the shooting death of Lori Daniels.

We will have the very latest tonight on the 23 News Update at 10.

UPDATE: No verdict has been reached in the Kody Walsh murder trial. The jury has been sent back due to incomplete forms.

We will continue to update you with the latest.

UPDATE: The jury has reached a verdict in the Kody Walsh murder trial. We will continue to update you as we learn more.

ROCKFORD (WIFR) – After a week of testimony, videos, pictures, and diagrams, all the evidence has been presented and all the arguments have been made in the Kody Walsh murder trial.

Jurors started sifting through all the evidence around 1:30 Monday afternoon. We’re still waiting on a verdict.

Today seemed to be the hardest day for Lori Daniels’ family. During closing arguments prosecutors showed pictures of Daniels dead and bloody body in the SUV that’s the first time we’ve seen those pictures. Prosecutors hammering home their case today that it was Walsh who they say pulled the trigger, taking Lori Daniels’ life in September 2012. The defense though stuck to its assertion that Walsh is innocent. His lawyers say it was the driver of the SUV, Ebert Davison who killed Daniels.

Walsh faces four counts of first degree murder, each carrying a 20-60 year sentence. He also faces a number of other charges including attempted first degree murder, unlawful restraint, and aggravated fleeing to elude a police officer.

We will continue to keep you updated on this trial.

ROCKFORD (WIFR) – Some gruesome pictures in court today showing the gunshot wounds that killed Lori Daniels. The testimony came just before the prosecution rested its case in the murder trial of Kody Walsh.

The defense rested its case this afternoon after only calling four witnesses. We did not hear from the defendant Kody Walsh.
Arguably the most important testimony of the day came from Dr. Mark Peters who performed the autopsy on Lori Daniels.

We already knew she was shot twice, once on each side of the head, but now the important part, the trajectory or path of the bullets.
Dr. Peters says one of the bullets entered Daniels’ head at an angle from her back to her front. The defense used testimony from Ebert Davison today to prove a bullet hole in the bumper of Davison’s SUV was not caused by Walsh allegedly shooting at officers after he led them on a high-speed chase. A bouncer from State Street Station and two police officers also testified for the defense.

Closing statements will start Monday morning and then it’s up to the jury to decide whether Kody Walsh shot and killed Lori Daniels on September 9th, 2012.

The reason why the testimony about the path of the bullets is so important to the State’s case is because Walsh was in the back seat when he allegedly shot Daniels and Dr. Peters says that makes sense based on the trajectory of the gunshot. The defense is arguing that Lori Daniels was shot by Walsh’s friend Ebert Davison who was said to be driving that night. Daniels would have been sitting next to him. It’s up to the jury to decide, even if her head was turned when she was shot, if the trajectory would match up.

UPDATE: An expert claims Kody Walsh’s bloody fingerprints were found on the SUV where Lori Daniels was shot and killed back in 2012. Today, jurors got their first look at a gruesome crime scene.

We heard testimony today from numerous experts who said DNA results confirm a pair of shorts found in the backseat of the SUV Lori Daniels’ body was found belonged to Kody Walsh and were covered with Daniels’ blood.

Bloody fingerprints that experts say were Walsh’s were also found on the SUV and a hat found in the front seat near Daniels’ body was in fact hers. The hat was also covered in Daniels’ blood and has what appears to be a bullet hole in the back. We also saw pictures of the front console covered in blood and blood spatter on the windows.

The defense is expected to call Ebert Davison back to the stand again tomorrow. You may recall the prosecution called Davison to the stand on Tuesday. The defense claims he’s the one who shot Lori Daniels instead of Walsh.

UPDATE: ROCKFORD (WIFR) – We’re learning more about what may have happened the night police say Lori Daniels was shot and killed while riding in a car on I-90 two years ago. Daniels’ best friend took the stand in day two of Kody Walsh’s murder trial.

It’s been a long and emotional day of testimony in the trial. We heard from Lori Daniels’ best friend, boyfriend, and a dancer from State Street Station. Both women broke down into tears at times while on the stand.

Daniels’ friend of nearly 20 years, Kelly Shobinger explained Daniels was at State Street Station, visiting her where she worked as a bartender. Daniels was supposed to go home with Shobinger that night, but Shobinger said Daniels didn’t want to wait and decided to leave with Ebert Davison, the defendant Kody Walsh, and another man, Jordan Wisdom, a dancer at State Street Station. Wisdom described Daniels as a nice woman who was always very friendly. Wisdom says that night Walsh, who she knew by the name of Slim opened his pants pocket and showed her his gun. Shobinger and Corey Pulliam, Daniels’ boyfriend both said they frantically started calling and texting when they realized she never made it home.

One of the officers today testified that Kody Walsh’s sister told this officer that Walsh had come to her house shortly after the shooting. She met with officers at the scene where Walsh crashed the SUV in Western Winnebago County after a high-speed chase.

ROCKFORD (WIFR) – Opening statements got underway this afternoon in Kody Walsh's murder trial, the man police say shot and killed a woman while on I-90 in September of 2012.

As the first day of Kody Walsh’s murder trial we got an idea on how both sides plan on arguing the case.

The prosecution says Walsh shot Lori Daniels twice in the head while riding in a car on I-90 in September 2012 before leading police on a high speed chase, then on a week-long manhunt. The defense however is arguing a much different story.

They say, Walsh’s friend Ebert Davison, who is said to be driving the car is the one who shot Daniels. Davison just wrapped up testimony saying it was indeed Walsh who shot Daniels for no apparent reason.

Walsh's trial was supposed to start last December. It was delayed several times after Walsh planned to represent himself, but changed his mind and was appointed a public defender.

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