Florida mother who brutally murdered her six-year-old daughter and her own father in 2015 faces the death penalty after jury deliberated for just over an hour
- Cheyanne Jessie, 29, was found guilty of first-degree murder in Lakeland, Florida
- She killed her father Mark Weekly, 50, and daughter Meredith in July 2015
- The victims were found stabbed and shot to death behind a neighbor’s shed
- Jessie initially told detectives that Weekly had taken Meredith to Georgia
- She later said she and Weekly got in an argument and she killed him in self defense and accidentally stabbed Meredith during the struggle
- The jury deliberated for 85 minutes before recommending the death penalty
- A Polk County judge will now be tasked with determining the official sentence
Cheyanne Jessie, 29, is facing the death penalty for murdering her six-year-old daughter and her father in 2015 in Florida
A Florida woman is facing the possibility of a death sentence for brutally murdering her six-year-old daughter and her father in 2015.
A jury deliberated for just 85 minutes before finding 29-year-old Cheyanne Jessie guilty on two counts of first-degree murder in Lakeland on Wednesday.
Jessie was accused of fatally stabbing and shooting her father Mark Weekly, 50, and her daughter Meredith before hiding their bodies in plastic bins behind a neighbor’s shed in July 2015.
She reported them missing a week later and claimed that Weekly had kidnapped Meredith and taken her to Georgia.
The bodies were discovered soon after the victims were reported missing, at which point Jessie told detectives that she had killed her father and daughter in self defense.
A jury deliberated for just 85 minutes before finding Jessie guilty on two counts of first-degree murder in Polk County Court on Wednesday. The defendant is pictured center
Jessie was accused of fatally stabbing and shooting her 50-year-old father Mark Weekly (left) and her daughter Meredith (right) in Lakeland, Florida, in July 2015
Investigators said Jessie killed Meredith to appease a boyfriend who threatened to break up with her over the child’s behavior. They did not offer an explanation for why she killed her father as well.
Jessie initially claimed that Weekly texted her and said he was taking Meredith to Georgia because he only had one year to live and wanted to spend it with his granddaughter.
She sent the text message to herself from Weekly’s phone to corroborate the story.
The mother later admitted that she and Weekly had gotten into a heated argument that turned physical.
She claimed that she killed her father in self-defense and stabbed Meredith ‘accidentally’ during the struggle.
Jessie later asked her boyfriend, Matthew ‘Cody’ Monroe, questions about how long bodies take to decompose and whether they would fit in a plastic tote, detectives said.
Investigators said Jessie killed Meredith (above together) to appease a new boyfriend who threatened to break up with her over the child’s behavior
The victims were missing for a week before Jessie reported them missing, telling detectives that Weekly had taken Meredith to Georgia
Monroe testified at Jessie’s trial earlier this month, recounting how Jessie displayed interest in how to dispose of a body.
During cross-examination, Jessie’s lawyer accused Monroe of committing the murders himself, which he denied.
The jury didn’t buy Jessie’s self-defense story and found her guilty on both counts of first-degree murder, as well as evidence tampering.
They recommended that she be sentenced to death for Meredith’s slaying and life in prison for Weekly’s.
The defendant did not display any emotion as the verdicts were read in Polk County Court.
A judge will consider the jury’s recommendation before making a final ruling.
The trial’s penalty face kicked off Friday and testimony is expected to conclude by the end of this week.
Meredith kept her head down throughout the majority of the trial in Polk County Court
The defendant did not react as the jury announced the guilty verdicts on Wednesday