Braswell guilty of second degree murder

Published: Dec. 9, 2005 at 9:48 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 10, 2005 at 10:22 PM CST
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A jury found Vernon Braswell, the former school assistant principal, guilty of second degree murder of his wife Friday night.  The trial had been marked by lurid testimony of non-traditional sex, sexual toys, and erotic asphixiation.  The foreperson delivered the verdict around 10:15 Friday night.  Action News 5 Today will have the latest on this breaking story Saturday morning.


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A jury in Memphis heard closing arguments Friday in the case of a former assistant principal accused of killing his wife during a sexual act.

Framed by a picture of Sheila Braswell, prosecutors described their view of the minutes before her death, while her accused husband Vern looked on.

"He put his hands around her neck and he squeezed, second after second, minute after minute, until the blood vessels in her eyes burst," said prosecutor Betsy Carmisale.

Former Memphis Schools assistant principal Vern Braswell is charged with the November 2004 strangling death of his wife. The trial was a series of sordid tails depicting the couple's aggressive sex life. The defense maintains it was that part of their relationship that led to her death.

"(They had) violent, rough, kinky sex. Rough sex. Rough sex," said defense attorney Walter Bailey. "Now if you want to convict him because he was involved in rough sex, then go ahead."

The trial was jarring for family members, who refused speak to the media, but defense attorneys said they were optimistic.

"It's always a tense time," said defense attorney Javier Bailey. "We believe that the jury has heard all of the evidence and all the facts and we believe that the jury will do what they promised to do."