LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - The verdict is in and Rogrick Vandyke now knows the jury's decision. Vandyke is guilty as charged of killing the woman he claimed to love with all his heart.
Despite his claims that he loved Rhonda Nelson and would never hurt her-- the jury didn't buy it. And in scarcely an hour the jury came make with a unanimous verdict finding Vandyke guilty as charged of second degree murder. Vandyke and Nelson had dated a year and a half but prosecutor Jonathan Blake says he thinks there was a robbery-- but that Vandyke got nothing of value. "We believe that Mr. Vandyke actually committed the act by actually suffocating the victim in this case, Ms. Rhonda Nelson. He actually took her and grabbed her by her neck area according to what we believe the evidence showed and actually just strangled her to death and then fled the scene. Now why he did that, we don't know. I think that it really was maybe a robbery if anything that took place that had taken place in the process of him actually killing her."
Earlier in the day Nelson's daughter sobbed on the witness stand as she described the devastation of losing her mother... She was finally escorted from the courtroom sobbing, "This is not real! I want my mama."
Blake says the family has suffered tremendously: This has taken a very significant toll on the family, specifically the mother of the victim, as well as the victim's daughter. The victim's daughter in this case has had lots of hardships since the death of her mother. She's very ill right now, she's not in a position to work. She's not even in a position to go to school.
Vandyke faces a life sentence after being convicted of second degree murder. Formal sentencing is set for 9 am November 4th before Judge Clayton Davis.
UPDATE: Rogrick Vandyke is found guilty of second degree murder of Rhonda Nelson in 2008.
Second Degree Murder Trial of Rogrick Vandyke continues with state putting on its remaining witnesses. Victim's daughter was on the stand. Rhonda Nelson's daughter Jontrece Nobles was crying so hard it was difficult to understand everything she was saying. She said nothing is the same since her mother died. She left the witness stand crying hysterically and sobbing, "This not real! I want my mama!". You could hear her outside the courtroom even after the door was closed.
Right now photos of the crime scene and other evidence is being shown to jurors--being passed down the line from juror to juror
Yesterday coroner Terry Welke testified victim Rhonda Nelson died from asphyxiation though he said it was not clear how she was deprived of oxygen. He said she may have been suffocated or that someone could have sat on her back, preventing her from breathing. Welke said there was a mark on her chin, possibly from a fingernail, that might have been left if someone covered her mouth and nose with their hand. The case is expected to wrap up today.