UPDATE: Page's Family Reacts to Not Guilty Verdict

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BELVIDERE (WIFR) -- It's an accident not a homicide. That's the ruling by a Boone County jury who found Jamie Page not guilty of first degree murder.

A shriek and sigh of relief as Jamie Page learned that after nearly a year and a half in jail she's a free woman. Page was found not guilty in the stabbing death of her boyfriend Jacob Van Zant.

"She loved him. She was going to marry him. We're just glad they saw it because she was innocent," Page’s Aunt, Janet Graves, said, while fighting back tears.

Van Zant's mother, Cathie Stafford, says the couple was not engaged and had no plans to marry.

As Page's family celebrates the victory they say they also understand the pain Van Zant's family feels.

"I'm really, really sad for Jacob's family because we knew him and loved him and we know how bad it is for her. I don't know if she'll ever be able to be the same," Graves said.

Page stabbed Van Zant early in the morning of February 2, 2013 inside their home at 209 Garden Drive in Belvidere. Page told investigators she was trying to cut herself. When she pushed Van Zant away she accidentally stabbed him.

Defense Attorney Paul Vella says the evidence in the case spoke for itself.

"Once you really got down and looked at the facts and thought about them, it was just a horrible accident. There was no criminal intent or no criminal act involved here," Vella said.

Page's family and friends are now focused on helping the young woman rebuild her life.

"I'm glad she's free, and to get on with a normal life, and hope that she can have a normal life and a decent life and be happy with herself and learn to be happy again," Carol Chriswell, a friend of Page’s, said.

In order to find Page not guilty the jury of 11 women and one man had to answer the following two questions:

Did she perform the act that killed Van Zant?
Did she know that act created the possibility of death or great bodily harm?

There was no argument over whether Page stabbed Van Zant, but the jury believed it was accidental.

Boone County State's Attorney Michelle Courier says she's disappointed with the verdict, but respects the jury's decision. She says all the state wanted was justice for Jacob.



UPDATE: After spending the last 18 months in a jail cell, Jamie Page will experience freedom again. After four and a half hours of deliberations, a jury found her not guilty in the February 2013 stabbing death of Jacob Van Zant.

Page;s family cheered as the verdict was announced late this afternoon. Her attorney Paul Vella argued Van Zant was stabbed as he tried taking a scalpel away from Page when she was trying to cut herself. The young woman's family says they knew justice would prevail.

Van Zant's family was obviously devastated by the verdict. Boone County State's Attorney Michelle Courier says she is disappointed with the outcome, but respects the jury's decision.


UPDATE: A jury has reached a verdict in the stabbing death of a young man that happened in February 2013.

Jurors have been deliberating for about five hours now in the murder trial of Jamie Page. Around 2:30 this afternoon they re-watched the video of Page's interrogation by police, when she explained in her own words what led to her boyfriend, Jacob Van Zant being stabbed in the chest.

Page's attorney says it was an accident, saying Page was trying to hurt herself. The defense says Van Zant was stabbed as he and Page struggled over the knife. Prosecutors say Page did it on purpose, claiming the couple had been arguing, and that's why she stabbed Van Zant.

Again, there is still no verdict yet. We'll let you know as soon as it's announced.


UPDATE: BOONE COUNTY (WIFR) -- By Monday afternoon, the fate of the Belvidere woman accused of murdering her boyfriend should be in the hands of a jury.

It was an emotional day in court for both the family of the victim, Jacob Van Zant and the defendant, Jamie Page. one of the hardest parts of the day was watching the video when Page found out Van Zant was dead.

"Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh my God, I did it."

While the video is hard to watch, prosecutors pointed out Page never cried when she found out Van Zant had died from the stab wound on February 2, 2013. During the video of Page's police interrogation, she showed officers how she was swinging her arms and when she stabbed Van Zant with a scalpel.

Prosecutors argue her story changed multiple times and Page purposely stabbed Van Zant. The defense argues it was an accident.

Both sides have rested their cases. Closing arguments will begin Monday morning, then the jury, made up mostly of women, will get the case.


BOONE COUNTY (WIFR) – A difficult day In court for the family of Jacob Van Zant as they listened to his girlfriend’s frantic screams to a 9-1-1 operator.

That woman, Jamie Page, is on trial for the 20-year-old’s murder.
“I had a knife in my hand. He slipped and fell, I don’t know.”

Many of Van Zant’s family members had to leave the courtroom as that seven minute long 9-1-1 tape played out. Prosecutors say Page stabbed the 20-year-old in the chest in their Belvidere home in February 2013.

The defense argues Page was trying to cut herself and that Van Zant was stabbed as he was trying to take the knife away from Page. However, prosecutors say the defendant’s story was never consistent.

“She didn’t mean it, that she freaked out and that he fell into a knife and she will continue to change the story about what happened and how it happened.”

“You’ll see that this was an accident. It was only an accident. There was no criminal intent.”

In addition to hearing the 9-1-1 tapes, prosecutors also showed the jury the bloody scalpel and pictures from the bedroom where Van Zant died.


UPDATE: The murder trial of a Belvidere woman is underway in Boone County today.

Jamie Page is charged with the stabbing death of her 20-year-old boyfriend, Jacob Van Zant. The death happened in the couple's home on Garden Drive in Belvidere in February 2013.

In opening arguments, prosecutors claim Page and Van Zant began arguing about her Facebook page when Page started hitting him and eventually picked up a knife and stabbed him in the chest.

Page's defense lawyers say the stabbing was an accident, claiming Van Zant was trying to prevent page from cutting herself and in the struggle, he got stabbed. The jury heard the 9-1-1 call this morning. In the call, a hysterical Page cries Van Zant accidentally fell on the blade.


BELVIDERE (WIFR) -- New information about this weekend's homicide in Belvidere where police say a teenager stabbed her fiance to death.

The suspect's grandmother says her granddaughter, 19-year-old Jamie Page, didn't mean to kill 20-year-old Jacob Van Zant, saying Page accidentally stabbed her fiance to death. She says Page was trying to hurt herself with the knife and ended up killing Van Zant while he tried to take the weapon away. Page is the Boone County Jail facing murder charges. She was arrested more seven hours after the crime. Investigators say it all went down at a home in the 200 block of Garden Drive in Belvidere at 5am Saturday morning where the couple lived with Page’s grandparents. When officers arrived, they found Van Zant suffering from stab wounds. He was taken to OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center, where he later died.

Page grew up in the Belvidere area; the victim was from the Chicago suburbs. The suspect's grandparents say the couple moved in two months and the victim was supposed to start a new job Monday morning.


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