UPDATE 2:31 p.m.: A Palm Beach County jury has convicted Paul Daniels of first-degree murder in the 2012 shooting death of his pregnant wife.
The verdict, which came after less than two hours of deliberations Wednesday, means the Lake Worth man faced a mandatory life in prison sentence.
Circuit Judge Krista Marx sentenced him immediately after the verdict.
ORIGINAL POST: A Palm Beach County jury is now deciding the murder trial of Paul Daniels, the 40-year-old Lake Worth man accused in the 2012 shooting death of his pregnant wife, Donna.
Assistant State Attorneys Reid Scott and Kristen Grimes this week have called Daniels’ actions in the early hours of March 1, 2012 a clear-cut case of premeditated murder that the couple’s own children witnessed after they argued at their home in the 4400 Block of Stevens Road.
The children later told police that Donna Daniels, who was five months pregnant, ran out of the house around 2:30 a.m. Paul Daniels followed her out with a gun shot her five times in the back, and then tried to kill himself.
Donna Daniels, 27, was found lying face down in a white Mitsubishi with multiple gun shot wounds in her back. Paul Daniels, 36, was found lying next to the car on the ground with a gunshot wound in his head and a 9 mm handgun next to him.
“He’d had enough of her,” Grimes told jurors. “They’d been fighting all day, maybe that baby wasn’t his. Try as she might, she wasn’t going anywhere.”
Defense attorneys Ruth Martinez-Estes and Jennifer Klee, on the other hand, have argued that Daniels is guilty of nothing more than the lesser charge of culpable negligence.
Martinez-Estes told jurors that witnesses in the case lied in their testimony to protect Donna Daniels, who records show was using drugs at the time of her death.
In spite of their troubles nad her drug use, Martinez- Estes said, Daniels was still there for his wife, and still loved her.
“He did not want to kill his wife,” Martinez-Estes said. “He just had a lapse of judgement that day. He was not himself.”
The last arguments jurors heard before they began deliberating at noon were from Scott, who described how Daniels stood over his wife and shot her five times.
“This wasn’t a sudden event. This had been brewing, they had been fighting, Scott said. “Reasonable people cool off. Reasonable people don’t do this, murderers do this.”
Circuit Judge Krista Marx sent jurors back to begin deliberations at noon Wednesday.