NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The jury has found Kelley Cannon guilty of first degree premeditated murder. She was accused of strangling her husband and leaving his body in a closet.
The defense rested Thursday without calling Cannon to the stand to testify on her own behalf. Deliberations began at 2:25 p.m. after closing arguments. The jury reached a verdict around 3:30 p.m.
The state believes Cannon strangled her husband Jim Cannon with a cell phone cable, tried to cover up the crime and left his body inside a closet. Jim Cannon was a well-known Nashville attorney.
The family of James "Jim" Cannon released the following statement after the conviction of Kelley Cannon:
"We are grateful to have this behind us. We feel that justice has been served, and thank the members of the jury for their careful attention to the facts of the case. Our family appreciates the efforts of the local authorities, and the support and well-wishes of everyone as we return our focus onto our family."
"I still believe in my heart that my daughter didn't do this deed. There are some things that didn't come out that should have been," said Kelley's mother Diane Sanders.
Kelley received a life sentence in prison after the conviction. She will be eligible for parole in 51 years.
"Whenever there's a death involved and three children have lost their father, it's not victory but justice was done. Still it's a sad day all around," said assistant district attorney Katy Miller.
Witnesses called by the prosecution testified about forensic evidence that officials said link Kelley to the murder scene including the tip of a latex glove that contained her DNA.
Brad Putnam was the lead investigator in the murder case. He told the jury Wednesday he found a box of gloves at Kelley's home the day after Jim was found dead in his Green Hills home.
"I noticed a box of latex gloves, and the name brand was Walgreens. The corner of the box was missing," said Putnam.
Prosecutors said the tip of glove found at the crime scene contains Kelley's DNA on the inside, and her husband's on the outside. The jury also saw surveillance video showing Kelley taking a box of gloves from a nearby Walgreens the same night as the murder.
In a phone conversation played to the jury Wednesday, Kelley explained to a friend that she used the gloves when coloring her hair.
The attorney was strangled to death, with bleach poured on his body. Putnam showed the jury the pants Kelley had been wearing that night and part of her pants appeared discolored by bleach.
Wednesday afternoon Rick Greene testified he was Kelley's lover at the time her husband was killed. He said he pressed Kelley about the murder of her husband.
"I said look me in the eye and tell me you didn't know his body was in the closet," said Green. She said ‘Rick, I can't tell you anything because I don't want you to have to lie.'"
Aaron Bagley, a bartender, told the jury he heard Kelley talk about her husband while waiting on her at a restaurant in Smyrna.
"He was flying women to come see him in other states. They were going through a divorce, and if he tried to take the babies from her that she would kill him," said Bagley.
In addition to the DNA evidence at the scene, the jury will have to consider whether Kelley was strong enough to strangle her husband with a cell phone charger cord.
Her attorney Peter Strianse, said at 5' 3" and around 100 pounds, she was simply too weak to commit the crime. He also tried to convince the jury that police did a sloppy job investigating the case. He argued they didn't check thoroughly on other potential suspects, and did not proceed carefully enough in evidence gathering.
Kelley and Jim Cannon's three young children are in the custody of Jim Cannon's sister. The children have filed a $40 million wrongful death lawsuit against Kelley.