Local

Jan 21, 2011 7:07 PM by Greg Boyce

Stark guilty on five counts

A jury of four men and 8 women took about six and a half hours today to convict Paul Stark on five counts including 1st Degree Murder.

Stark was arrested in the strangulation death of 14-year-old Ashley Patterson in Pueblo West in March of 2009.

At around 4 p.m. the jury declared Stark guilty on charges of 1st Degree Murder, Felony Murder, Child Abuse, Sexual Assault on a Child and Attempted Sexual Assault on a Child.  Stark had a look of concern on his face as the verdict was read, but showed no emotion.

The victim's mother cried softly in the front row.

Judge Victor Reyes immediately moved to the sentencing phase.  He explained that because of the seriousness of the charges the sentence was mandatory -- life in prison.

Stark said through his attorney he didn't wish to say anything to the court. 

Judge Reyes then sent Stark to the Department of Corrections for the "rest of your natural life."  The judge then said he hoped in time the family of the victim "could find solace," and that Stark's family could "find understanding."

The trial had begun nearly three weeks ago.

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