By JD LONG
CADIZ – After nearly nine hours of deliberations, the jury in the Matthew Dowdel murder trial returned a verdict of guilty on six of seven counts Friday morning.
Dowdel was accused of the murder of Joseph Strother in Sally Buffalo Park last March of 2014. His former co-defendant, Eve Kelley had already pleaded guilty to three charges last October and appeared as a witness for the prosecution.
In a shocking turn Harrison County Common Pleas Court Judge, T. Shawn Hervey read, “Not guilty” on count one of murder. There was no reaction in the courtroom, though, as Hervey continued reading guilty verdicts on the next six counts, including murder, which was listed as count six but was read last. That count’s description was slightly different in that it implied murder during the attempt at committing an offense of violence.
Count one leaned more towards premeditation, which one juror said they had trouble with and was the reason they could not reach a verdict on Thursday. The other counts Dowdel was found guilty of were two counts of grand theft of a motor vehicle, one committed in Harrison County and the other in Jefferson; there was tampering with evidence, felonious assault and aggravated robbery.
Harrison County Prosecutor, Owen Beetham was pleased over the verdicts but only slightly surprised over the one not guilty verdict. He added that there wasn’t too much concern over the jury locking up Thursday night without a verdict because of all the evidence and witnesses they had to sift through.
Sentencing will commence at 2 p.m. Friday afternoon.