Horn guilty of capital murder in death of Justin Bloxom - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

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Horn guilty of capital murder in death of Justin Bloxom

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Brian Horn, 37, has been found guilty of kidnapping and murdering 12-year-old Justin Bloxom of Stonewall in March of 2010. Brian Horn, 37, has been found guilty of kidnapping and murdering 12-year-old Justin Bloxom of Stonewall in March of 2010.
Justin Bloxom was 12 years old when prosecutors say he was lured to his death by Horn via text message. Justin Bloxom was 12 years old when prosecutors say he was lured to his death by Horn via text message.
Bloxom's body was found in a wooded area off Highway 171 on March 31, 2010. Bloxom's body was found in a wooded area off Highway 171 on March 31, 2010.
DESOTO PARISH, LA (KSLA) -

Brian Horn has been found guilty in the kidnapping and murder in the death of 12-year-old Justin Bloxom.

When the verdict was read aloud in court Wednesday afternoon an instant reaction from the audience could be heard. Amy Fletcher, Justin Bloxom's mom, began wiping tears from her face.

Prosecutors convinced the jury that Horn, 37, posed as a 15-year-old girl to entice Bloxom via text to meet up with him for sex.

The boy's body was found in a wooded area off Highway 171 on March 31, 2010.

The jury of six women and six men from East Baton Rouge Parish were given their instructions and sent to deliberate just after 2 p.m. after a quick round of closing arguments. Word of the verdict came less than an hour later.

When asked what piece of evidence helped prove that Horn intended to kill Justin Bloxom Desoto District Attorney, Richard Johnson said "The circumstances, it could have very well been the text messages, the fact that he could have released him after 15 to 20 seconds, or a combination of all the facts and how he lured the child away from the place he was staying."

During closing arguments, prosecutor Dhu Thompson told the jury to recall the text message sent by Justin Bloxom in response to explicit photos sent to him by Horn, which said, "you gotta remember, I'm only 12." When that portion of the text conversation was read aloud on Monday as the state presented its case, an audible reaction was heard in the courtroom.

Thompson said Bloxom's response to Horn in reminding him of his age is important to note because it shows Horn's intent.

During closing arguments, Horn's defense did not deny that Horn killed Bloxom. Daryll Gold told the jury that indeed the state had "proved Brian Horn killed Justin Bloxom," but disputed that the killing was intentional. Instead, Gold implied that Bloxom's death was an accident.

That conflicts with the testimony from the forensic pathologist that conducted the boy's autopsy, in which he firmly concluded that Justin Bloxom's death by asphyxiation was no accident. Dr. James Trailor testified that it only takes about 30 seconds to pass out from lack of oxygen, but if left alone that person would awaken. He said to kill someone you would have to deprive them of oxygen for 90 seconds. Gold's question whether someone could be smothered to death by accident sparked some heated exchanges in the court room. Judge Robert Burgess reminded both Gold and Trailor to remain civil.

During closing arguments Gold apologized to the jury for losing his temper, then asked the jury to find Horn guilty of manslaughter, which carries a sentence of 40 years in prison.

"I wasn't surprised," said a visibly upset Gold after hearing the verdict. He went on to say that he asked the district attorney's office to allow Horn to plead to a life sentence, and prosecutors said no deal.

Closing arguments for both sides wrapped up around Noon on Wednesday, after Horn's defense team rested its case without calling a single witness.

Now that he has been convicted, Horn is eligible for the death penalty. But a death sentence is only possible if every juror agrees to it. If one juror does not, Horn would be sentenced to life in prison. Sentencing must take place within 12 hours. That phase of the trial is expected to get under way Thursday morning.

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