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Jury finds Gary Waite guilty
WARREN COUNTY -- Gary Waite, the Warren County man accused of killing his 15 month old son, was found guilty on all counts Wednesday.
Waite faced charges of murder, manslaughter, and endangering the welfare of a child after authorities say he physically abused his son to death In February of 2012.
Jesse Smith died of severe head trauma.
Waite told police the toddler fell off the couch and hit his head after he tossed him across it, however police and medical staff maintained the child's injuries were not consistent with his story.
It took a Warren County Court jury two and a half hours, over the course of two days, to convict Waite.
Waite's attorney, Marc Zuzkerman said Wednesday he prepared his client for this verdict and told him all along the "the real fight will be in the Appellate Court".
Zuckerman did not think the facts of the case merited a murder charge. If he was going to be convicted of a charge it should have been manslaughter, not murder, Zuckerman conceded.
"It is really a question of law, not facts. The facts are horrendous and when you have horrendous facts the jury reacts to that emotionally, which i asked them not to do," Zuckerman said. "They aren't supposed to do that but that is not something a jury will often do (in a case like this)."
Zuckerman says he will appeal this conviction to the New York State Court of Appeals.
The murder charge was thrown out once, before the trial started, but a court of appeals judge overturned that decision.
Warren County District Attorney, Kate Hogan, said Wednesday she is not worried about the appeal stating the higher court already heard a similar case that dealt with "depraved murder", a charge Waite was convicted of.
The family of Jesse Smith left the courtroom Wednesday in tears and holding a picture of the toddler. His mother, Lisa Younes, said Gary Waite "can rot in hell".
"He was murdered, he was beaten to death," Younes said. "Now this baby has justice and that is all that matters is that this baby has justice."
Gary Waite faces 25 years to life on prison when he is sentenced December 11th.