NASHVILLE, Tenn. - After just 90 minutes, a Chattanooga jury found Jerome Barrett guilty of first-degree murder in the 1975 slaying of Vanderbilt University student Sarah Des Prez.
Des Prez was 19-years-old when she was found dead in her apartment not far from the university's campus on February 2, 1975.
Barrett, 61, was arrested in the fall of 2007 after police linked DNA found in Des Prez's bedding to him.
He showed no emotion as the verdict was read just before 12:30 p.m. Friday. The conviction carries an automatic life sentence.
The case was prosecuted and sentenced according to the laws in place when the crime was committed. There was no death penalty in Tennessee in 1975.
Deputy District Attorney General Tom Thurman prosecuted the case and said the guilty verdict was a long time comin.
The victim's brother, Roger Des Prez, delivered a statement on behalf of the family that thanked the cold case detectives who continued to pursue the case through the years.
"My family and I would like to thank the district attorney and the Metro Police Department for your hard work on this case. We think it is a credit to all involved that this case was successfully prosecuted after so many years we feel justice is served," he said.
Barrett will go on trial in July for the murder of nine-year-old Girl Scout Marcia Trimble. She disappeared around the same time Des Prez was killed.
He will also be tried under the statutes of 1975 for the Trimble trial and the jury will likely be asked to sentence him.
The prosecution would not say what Friday's conviction means for that case.
Thursday, August 28 2014 3:28 PM EDT2014-08-28 19:28:07 GMT
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