Update, Jan. 14, 1:08 p.m.: William Gregory Mordick, 64, will spend the rest of his life in prison for killing his estranged, then-28-year-old wife in 1983, a judge decided today.
Mordick read a brief statement declaring his innocence before Superior Court Judge John Conley announced the life-in-prison sentence, which produced no sign of emotion from the convicted killer of Katherine O'Connell Mordick.
The case has obviously split a once-happy family, according to an Orange County Register report on today's sentencing hearing.
Before he revealed the maximum penalty he could give to Mordick, Conley heard from the deceased woman's sister, who expressed her love for the woman whose ultimate desire was to be a good mom for her children. Mary O'Connell also said she wished Mordick received the death penalty and hopes he dies alone and afraid in prison.
Elise Mordick, the dead woman's daughter, said she also loved her mother and wished she had never been taken away. But the daughter also said she has always believed in her father's innocence, the Register reports.
Original Post by Milena Enguidanos, Oct. 15, 2010, 11:08 a.m.: Blood at the scene pointed to William Gregory Mordick's guilt.
After 27 years and a second trial, the 64-year-old was found guilty this week of first-degree murder of his estranged wife, Katherine O'Connell Mordick, who was 28 when she perished.
The woman's body was found with her throat slit in her Anaheim Hills home on Jan. 23, 1983. Mordick now faces a maximum penalty of 25 years to life in state prison.
The swaying piece of evidence that brought jurors to rule Mordick guilty was the DNA evidence of his blood scattered throughout the house. It took the jury only two days to deliberate before the decision was read Wednesday morning.
Deputy District Attorney Dan Wagner had proven to jurors that Mordick picked up his young daughters to take them a birthday party, left the 2- and 4-year-olds in the car, went back inside the house and slashed Katherine's throat.
He went on to raise his motherless daughters in Washington state before he was arrested in 2008, when authorities discovered forensic evidence found at the scene 25 years before linked him to the murder. He was then taken into custody and waited two-and-a-half years for this week's verdict.
Evidence of Mordick's blood inside the house was the crucial factor in the outcome of the trial. Blood was found on a closet doorknob, a bag inside the closet, a bathroom sink and rear-door drapes. However, the most important piece of evidence was a blood smear on the rear door that proved to be a combination of the husband's and wife's blood.
Wagner asserted Mordick wanted his wife dead so he could avoid paying her $124,000 in child support over a span of 16 years. But jurors did not find that he committed the murder for a financial motive, which would have made him eligible for a sentence of life in prison without the chance of parole.
This was actually a retrial of a case that ended with an evenly deadlocked jury last year. Mordick's sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 19.