GUILTY: Teen love triangle case verdict

11:36 PM, Jul 23, 2010   |    comments
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Clearwater, Florida - The jury in the teen love triangle case came back with a guilty verdict for Rachel Wade on second degree murder charges.

It took them less than three hours.

The 20-year-old began sobbing as she stood next to her attorney, Jay Hebert.

"She's devastated.  She can't believe it.  I think she's somewhat in shock.  She was crying and sobbing hysterically as you can imagine," said Wade's attorney, Jay Hebert.

Photo Gallery: Teen love triangle murder trial

Rachel's parents stood in the back of the courtroom, clinging to one another.  They were surrounded by friends and family trying to shield them from the media.

When asked if they had a comment about the verdict, they said, "No, not now."

Hebert says he was shocked by the verdict.

All along, he maintained that his client was acting in self defense the night that Sarah Ludemann was killed.

The two girls had been fighting for months over a boy named Josh Camacho, and their intense feud finally came to a head in April 2009.

As Sarah was leaving Josh's house one night with several friends, on their way to McDonald's, another girl drove by them and said, "Rachel is around the corner. You should go confront her."

That fatal fight would be their last.

Sarah Ludemann was stabbed twice in the heart, and police officers say Rachel stood there without emotion and asked them for a cigarette.

Throughout the trial, the defense maintained that when Sarah and two other girls got out of their minivan, they rushed over to Rachel.

At that point, Hebert says, his client had no idea what the girls were going to do.  He says she had to defend herself.

"They came to her, they came to her," he told the jury.  "She had no way of knowing what her assailant was going to do.  She had to act.  Every person has a right to defend themselves."

As far as her testimony, Hebert says he felt like Rachel was compelling.

"We worked for hours and hours and hours preparing. I thought she did an exceptional job," Hebert said.

So, where did the case go wrong?

Profanity-laced voice mail messages were played on Thursday, revealing violent threats, cruel taunts and catty put-downs.

"I'm going to f----g murder you, you b---h," one message said.

Detectives say it was Rachel's voice on the messages, and she was addressing Sarah.

The courtroom fell silent when the tapes were played.

"Those tapes were our most difficult obstacle," Hebert admitted with a sigh. "They were very powerful."

What Hebert was hoping for was a better jury.

"I respect the work they did, but I wish I would have had a jury of her true peers. The youngest person on the jury was 34.  I wanted someone younger who could related to this generation," he told us.

Since there was a large aspect of technology-based communication in this case, Hebert was hoping there would be a younger presence.

Instead, he says, "There were several teachers on the jury.  I know the messages affected them."

One of two jurors in the pool of sixty Hebert was hoping to place is 20-year-old Kyle Faison.

"I've changed my decision from guilty to not guilty for a reason," said Faison, who says he sat through the entire week of testimony.

Faison tells 10 Connects he can relate to what the girls were going through. 

"In our times, these days, three girls do not go to a fight to let one girl fight another.  They were going to jump her," Faison said of his opinion on what happened on that April night last year.

"Without a doubt, you've got to put yourself in her shoes.  She was afraid of her life and that's why she brought the knife and that's why she did what she did," Faison told 10 Connects.

Rachel could face up to life in prison for the second degree murder charges.

She will be sentenced September 3rd.

10 Connects

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