BOISE-- On Thursday afternoon a jury handed down a guilty verdict for the man accused of killing his former fiancee at her home near the Boise State University campus on March 5, 2011. 32-year-old Lloyd Hardin McNeil was convicted of voluntary manslaughter, arson, and grand theft.
While prosecutors were seeking a 2nd degree murder conviction, the jury decided the lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter was appropriate.
The voluntary manslaughter is an intentional killing, and to get to murder you have to have malice. And the malice element, it was a hard one in this case just due to the cause of death issue. There was very slim proof on how it was he had killed her, Ada County Deputy Prosecutor George Gunn said.
Prosecutors say McNeil suffocated his former fiancee Natalie Davis, then placed her body between a mattress and box spring and lit it on fire. Then, he stole Davis' car and left the state.
The jury began deliberating on Tuesday, and they delivered their verdict on Thursday just after 2:00 p.m. The jury was comprised of nine men and three women.
We're generally pleased with that verdict. The jury worked hard. It was a long trial, a lot of details like the judge said. And they gave it a lot of good effort and time, and it's obvious they went through the evidence before reaching their verdict, so we're happy with the jury's effort in this case, Gunn said.
McNeil did not visibly react to the verdict, and he was led out of the courtroom in handcuffs after most people had already left. Davis' family, including her parents were present for the verdict.
They're a little disappointed but on the other hand they're happy that he was convicted for an intentional crime, Gunn said. I think overall they're generally pleased and have some sense that there has been justice for Natalie.
For all three of his crimes, McNeil now faces a total of up to 54 years in prison. He will be sentenced on April 16.
Court records say Boise police investigated a fight between the couple the day before Davis died. She told officers she'd broken up with McNeil and she planned to move back to California.
Montana charges that McNeil assaulted Davis at a Gallatin County campsite in 2010 were dismissed after her death.