Hello and welcome to today's blog. After hearing closing arguments on Friday the jury is deliberating and working towards a verdict. Catch up with Friday's coverage of the closing arguments from Jack Flynn here: http://bit.ly/rHy0ay
Tuesday November 1, 2011 9:15
9:45 a.m. - Hampden Superior Court Judge Peter A.Velis is on the bench now. He said there is an issue with one juror that needs to be addressed. She is brought in to talk to the judge and lawyers at the judge's bench.
Tuesday November 1, 2011 9:44
9:50 a.m. - The juror is moved away from the judge's bench and now lawyers and the judge talk together. No one in the audience knows what is going on.
Tuesday November 1, 2011 9:50
9:55a.m. - Lawyers and the judge are still talking as the juror waits on the other side of the courtroom.
Tuesday November 1, 2011 9:54
10 a.m. - The juror is called back to the judge's bench and Judge Velis talks with her further.
Tuesday November 1, 2011 10:00
10:05 a.m. - Juror is moved away from the bench again, lawyers and judge continue talking.
Tuesday November 1, 2011 10:03
10:15 a.m. - The jury is brought into the courtroom, with the juror who had been questioned still on the jury. Judge Velis tells the jurors they should now begin deliberating for the day. Jurors are led from the courtroom to their jury room.
Tuesday November 1, 2011 10:13
10:30 a.m. - Now begins the long wait for families and friends of Conor W. Reynolds and Eric B. Denson. Lawyers leave their contact information with Velis' clerk, William Eason, so they can get back quickly if there is a jury question or verdict.
We will be posting any questions the jury sends to the judge, and of course we will post the verdict here as soon as it happens. There is no way of knowing if the jury will reach a verdict today, or even tomorrow.
Tuesday November 1, 2011 10:28
Noon - There is a verdict in the Denson case. Parties are being summoned to the courtroom which could take 10 or 15 minutes. We will bring you the verdict as it is read to the court.
Tuesday November 1, 2011 11:59
12:10 p.m. - Many people are beginning to gather, including many of the detectives and other police officers who worked on the case and members of the staff of Hampden District Attorney Mark G. Mastroianni.
Tuesday November 1, 2011 12:08
12:15 p.m. - The rows in the courtroom are quickly filling up. Reynolds family has not come into the courtroom yet, they are still in the District Attorney's office with victim-witness advocates. Many of Denson's family members are here.
Tuesday November 1, 2011 12:17
12:25 p.m. - The prosecution is not in the courtroom yet, and Denson has not been brought in yet. Defense lawyers have been in the courtroom since noon. The judge is not on the bench yet.
Tuesday November 1, 2011 12:24
12:28 p.m. - Reynolds' parents have come in and are in the front row.
Tuesday November 1, 2011 12:26
12:30 p.m. - The audience benches are completely full and detectives and other police officers are standing up in the back of the courtroom.
Tuesday November 1, 2011 12:29
12:32 p.m. - Mastroianni has come into the room, Denson is brought in and all are awaiting the judge.
Tuesday November 1, 2011 12:31
12:33 p.m. - Jurors are now in the room, still awaiting the judge's entrance.
Tuesday November 1, 2011 12:32
12:35 p.m. - Judge Velis is on the bench.
Tuesday November 1, 2011 12:34
12:37 p.m. - The jury has found Denson guilty of first degree murder with premeditation and extreme atrocity or cruelty.
Tuesday November 1, 2011 12:35
12:40 p.m. - Judge Velis has set sentencing for 2 p.m. The first degree murder conviction carries a mandatory life sentence without the possibility of parole. At the sentencing Reynolds' family will be able to give impact statements to the court and talk about Reynolds.
Denson was also found guilty of the only other charge against him, which was assault and battery with a dangerous weapon for cutting Peter D'Amario.
All lawyers are talking with Velis at his bench. We will see if anything is reported about their talk.
Tuesday November 1, 2011 12:41
12:50 p.m. - The jury and defendant are brought back into the courtroom on a technical matter. The jurors needed to be asked, for the case record, if they were unanimous in finding both extreme atrocity and cruelty and premeditation. The jurors say it was unanimous and they file out again.
Tuesday November 1, 2011 12:49
2:15 p.m. - People are gathered in the courtroom for the sentencing of Eric B. Denson. The judge has not come on the bench as of yet.
Tuesday November 1, 2011 2:12
2:20 p.m. - Eric Denson is brought out to sit with his lawyers and Judge Peter A. Velis takes the bench.
Tuesday November 1, 2011 2:19
2:30 p.m. Hampden District Attorney Mark g. Mastroianni asks Denson be sentenced to one and a half years in state prison on the conviction for assault and battery with a dangerous weapon for cutting Peter D'Amario.
Mastroianni said he wants the life sentence for murder to begin after that sentence.
Reynold's parents Liam and Kate Reynolds come up to the prosecution table.
Liam Reynolds said in February 2010 Conor had all his college applications in and soccer coaches were recruiting him.
March 13, 2010, Conor was at the birthday party when Liam Reynolds texted him. He said he was proud of Conor.
In an instant, Conor Warren Reynolds was taken from us in such a senseless way, his dad said.
The ER doctor came in and said, "we did everything we could," Liam Reynolds said.
Kate Reynolds said her family "cried ourselves to sleep that night. That Sunday morning and every day after, we wake up, wish it was all a dream then remember that it's a reality."
"It is amazing how many lives our son has touched in his short 17 years of life," she said.
Tuesday November 1, 2011 2:27
2:32 p.m. - Sara Warren Gardner, Kate Reynolds' sister and Conor's aunt, now speaks to the court.
"I ask that when you consider Eric Denson's sentence you remember the profound impact of his actions. In that split second when he chose to strike out and take Conor's life, he rocked the world of hundreds of people - Conor's mother and father, his brothers, as well as his many friends," she said.
Tuesday November 1, 2011 2:30
2:35 p.m. - Mastroianni reads a statement from Conor's younger brother Ryan Reynolds.
Ryan wrote, "I see how sad my family is all the time and I want things to get better. The changes I see in everyone scare me."
"I am angry. My anger scares me...I wish for my old life back. I want to kick the ball around with both my brothers, not just one, I want to see my parents laugh again...I love Conor and miss him and always will."
Tuesday November 1, 2011 2:34
2:40 p.m. - Assistant District Attorney Karen Bell reads a statement from Maureen Mann, Conor's grandmother. Mann said, "Conor was a peace lover, who did not have a mean bone in his body...he loved everyone and was looking forward to the bright future ahead of him until the night he left to go to a birthday party with his friends, and all that was extinguished with one stroke of a knife, leaving his family and friends bereft, grieving and asking why."
Tuesday November 1, 2011 2:38
2:45 p.m. - (We will post comments read from Conor's grandparents Dr. and Mrs. David Warren in a short time)
Mastroianni said there was no way in that split second Conor knew what was going to happen to him.
The way Conor died was "Truly horrible, as was everything about this case," Mastroianni said.
Judge Velis said he has observed these kinds of situations for years but he has never seen two families more torn apart then Reynolds' and Denson's families.
"The loss of this courageous young man.. has left its mark," Velis said.
Tuesday November 1, 2011 2:44
2:50 p.m. - Denson's lawyer Harry Miles now addresses Velis. He said the law says the judge must sentence Denson to life for first degree murder. He asked that the sentence on the assault and battery with a dangerous weapon be concurrent with the life sentence.
Tuesday November 1, 2011 2:49
2:55 p.m. - Velis sentences Denson to state prison for one and one half years for the assault on Peter D'Amario. For the murder charge he sentences Denson to state prison "for the term of your natural life," and that sentence starts after the year and a half sentence.
A few women call, "I love you Eric,' as he is led from the courtroom.
Tuesday November 1, 2011 2:52
3 p.m. - Reynolds' family leaves the courtroom and goes into the District Attorney's office. Denson's family consoles each other in the courtroom and in the hall.
This is from the statement read to Velis from Conor's grandparents Dr. and Mrs. David Warren: "After 80-plus years of living, Conor's grandfather and I understand well that no greater tragedy can befall a family than the death of a child...When the death is a cruel and unprovoked murder - layers of darkness are added to the tragedy."
"Conor was a peacemaker and a star soccer player. But, he was also a leader among his friends where he exercised kindness, thoughtfulness and over all good judgment - qualities rare in a teenager."
"The jury's conviction of Eric Denson and your sentencing will not bring closure to the Reynolds/Warren family, but it is a turning point. In the healing process, it means that one painful door can be shut. I hope and pray it will set our beloved family free so they can continue rebuilding. That is what Conor would want us to do!"
Tuesday November 1, 2011 3:03
3:23 p.m. - Reynold's parents and Mastroianni spoke briefly with reporters after the verdict. The Republican and Masslive.com will have the family's comments on a later story for this website and The Republican.
Denson's lawyers Harry Miles, David Rountree and Bonnie Allen declined to comment on the verdict.
Tuesday November 1, 2011 3:24
This concludes today's live blog coverage of the trial. For complete coverage of the trial go to http://bit.ly/sxFKV0