Investigators say Affleck kidnapped Hearn from her home on Tree Haven and discarded her body on I-20 near Bolton after killing her.
The trial for an ex-convict accused of killing his girlfriend in south Jackson ends with a guilty verdict.
George Affleck was found guilty in the brutal murder of Diane Hearn.
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -
George Affleck has been sentenced to two terms of life in prison without parole for capital murder and felon in possession of a weapon for the murder of Diane Hearn. He has been sentenced as a violent habitual offender.
During sentencing, prosecutors pointed out that Affleck has five prior convictions on his record, two for violent crimes. The crimes date back to the 1970s.
During sentencing, Hearn's daughter gave an emotional, tear-filled testimony about the death of her mom at the hands of Affleck, who stabbed, beat, and smothered her in May 2011.
"He would rape her, strangle her, throw her tiny body into the wall and knock her to the floor taunting her to try to get away from him. His actions have caused me the most horrendous grief and pain that I have ever known," Kathy Hearn said.
On March 29, jurors found Affleck guilty of Hearn's murder. Affleck was facing two counts in the indictment, capital murder and being a convicted felon in possession of weapons. He has been found guilty of both charges.
Hearn's body was found along Interstate 20 near the Bolton exit May 22, 2011. She had been stabbed multiple times.
During the trial, prosecutors focused on the physical blood evidence in the case found in Affleck's car and home. Officials from the state crime lab testified there was a one in ten billion chance the multiple blood samples belonged to anyone else but the victim, Diane Hearn. They also focused jurors' attention on phone records that place Affleck's phone in Bolton near where Hearn's body was discovered.
Defense attorneys say the multiple knives introduced into evidence were used to confuse jurors. They claim no evidence was shown the knives were used to kill Hearn, and there was no blood found on them. They say phone records show Hearn called Affleck several times before the murder, which they indicate shows she did not fear Affleck as prosecutors claimed.
In addition, the defense claims Hearn was not kidnapped, which was the underlying crime, escalating the charges to capital murder. Jurors also have the option of a lesser charge of manslaughter as they deliberate the case.
The defense rested on the afternoon of March 28 in the capital murder trial, without calling a witness. The prosecution rested earlier that day.
Hearn's daughter testified that her mother called her frantic on Aug. 18, 2010, saying George was hurting her. The daughter testified that Diane Hearn had marks on her arms and neck and bruising on her face. She said they called police to file a protective order against Affleck, who re-appeared later that night after police told him to stay away.
Leslia Davis, a lab tech at the state crime lab, testified that she compared blood samples taken from splatters found in Affleck's home, truck and clothing. Davis said the samples gave a positive match to the DNA of Diane Hearn.
Prosecutors entered nearly 155 items into evidence, including knives, guns and makeshift spears. Jackson police officers testified the weapons were found in Affleck's truck and in his home, where multiple blood splatters were also discovered.
Witnesses took the stand, giving their accounts of an argument that turned physical between Affleck and Hearn. The witnesses say they saw Affleck pull up to his home in his truck engaged in a fight with Hearn.
The witnesses explained that Hearn tried to flee the truck, but Affleck held her back, pulling her by her hair. One witness, Michelle Rushing, claimed she heard Affleck say "I will kill you" to Hearn. Eventually Hearn broke free and ran into Affleck's home. That was the last time Hearn was seen alive.
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