Adam Wade Disa was convicted Tuesday, October 2, 2012 of first degree murder in the death of 2002 Benicia High graduate Katherine “Katie” Gillihan. Jurors notified Judge Peter Foor that they had reached a verdict on all the counts at 1:30 p.m. and the verdict was read at 2 p.m.
Besides the murder charge Disa was facing a domestic battery charge with an enhancement for great bodily injury. He was found guilty on all charges.
“it’s been a long time coming,” said Donna Gillihan, Katie’s mother who has been a fixture at every hearing during Disa’s trial.
“It’s not closure, but just a step in healing, in trying to heal, trying to live without her,” said Gillihan. “It’s hard everyday, but it’s a start and he’s not going to be able to hurt anyone else’s daughter.”
After the jury was let go, the judge verified Disa has two prior convictions that qualify as serious and violent under California’s “Three Strikes” law.
"First degree murder is 25 years to life,” said Barry Taira, the prosecutor on the case. “With the strikes it’ll be 50 years to life and he has to serve 85 percent of the sentence before he’s eligible for parole.”
The jury left the courtroom shortly before noon after receiving instructions from Judge Foor and hearing closing arguments from Taira and Defense Attorney Ken Lee of the Solano County Public Defenders Office.
Foor told attorneys and interested parties to be back in court at 1:30 in order to answer any questions that might come from jurors – questions that never materialized.
The reading of the verdict was a highly emotional moment for Gillihan who said, “I was overwhelmed. I didn’t expect them to come back so quickly.”
While visibly happy about the verdict Gillihan was also sensitive to what Disa’s family was going through. “I didn’t want to jump for joy in front of Adam’s family,” said Gillihan. “I don’t want to hurt his family in any way. They didn’t do anything.”
If Disa is given the 50 years when he is sentenced on November 26 he will be eligible for parole in 2055.
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