FRANKLIN COUNTY, IL (KFVS) - A 21-year-old woman heard the words guilty six times in a Heartland court on Wednesday.
A Franklin County jury convicted Afton Ferris of killing Kandis Major and Terri Seibeck in their West Frankfort home in back October of 2009.
Late Wednesday morning, Ferris walked back into the Franklin County Courthouse handed cuffed and shackled to hear her fate. Many filled the court room to hear that verdict. One of those was Carol Kesler, Seibeck's aunt.
"Before we went in there, before that I was really getting sick to my stomach," Kesler said.
Kesler says she worried that Ferris would go free. But after a span of two days and nearly 6 and half hours of deliberation, Kelsey and others learned Ferris would stay behind bars.
"In that court room, after they announced it, it was a big relief," Kesler said.
Kesler took the witness stand and couldn't listen to testimony. But Seibeck's grandmother, Judy Turner, watched as the state built a case against Ferris for what took place in a West Frankfort home nearly two years ago.
"Really shaky, nervous and very upsetting and I'm glad it's over," Turner said.
Kesler says it's been difficult without her niece. But Kesler added, when she heard the jury's decision it was hard to control her emotion.
"When they said guilty to everything, you wanted to jump up and say yahoo, but you couldn't," Kesler said.
Outside the courthouse hugs were exchanged and tissues wiped away more tears. Franklin County State's Attorney Evan Owens spoke with relieved family members. But even as deputies took Ferris back to jail, Kesler couldn't completely celebrate.
When asked if Wednesday's guilty verdict was justice, Kesler said, "Halfway there, part of it."
Kesler hopes the other part of justice will come, when Ferris's former boyfriend Michael Schallert, walks into court to stand trial for the same crime in early September.
The family of Kandis Majors said they had no comment.
Meanwhile Ferris's attorney Jerry Crisel said they believe she got a fair trial under the circumstances. But added they did file a motion to have a change of venue. Crisel says they do plan to file an appeal.
Ferris is expected back in court July 29, 2011 to learn her sentence. A jury found her guilty on six counts which include first degree murder, home invasion and armed robbery.
She faces up to life in prison.