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Delmer Smith found guilty in Bradenton woman's murder

Staff
Published:   |   Updated: March 18, 2013 at 11:30 PM

A jury has found Delmer Smith III guilty of first-degree murder in the 2009 brutal death of a Manatee County woman.

Already serving a life sentence for a violent home invasion in Sarasota County, Smith could now face the death penalty for the killing of 48-year-old Kathleen Briles.

Prosecutors say Smith attacked Briles on Aug. 3, 2009 after she returned to home from grocery shopping, binding her hands and feet with duct tape and using a 23-pound antique sewing machine to bash her head multiple times.

It took jurors about two and a half hours to deliver a verdict in the case.

After the verdict, family members in the courtroom hugged each other and law enforcement who had worked on the case. Briles' family did not comment on the conviction, but Manatee County Sheriff Brad Steube called the verdict "just."

During the trial, Dr. James Briles presented emotional testimony about discovering his wife's lifeless, bloody body in their Terra Ceia home.

"It was dark, darker than usual," Briles said. "She was lying on her stomach with her hands bound behind her with duct tape and had a gag around her face."

Briles said he knew his wife was dead when he called 911.

The 911 call was played for jurors on Monday. "She's tied up; it looks like someone hit her in the head with something," Briles told the dispatcher.

Smith is already serving a life sentence for strangling a Sarasota woman during a home invasion.

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