Cantrell Ellis Found Guilty Of Second Degree Murder for Killing Wife

December 4, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
Jurors convicted a Clovis man of second degree murder for killing his estranged wife last year. Cantrell Ellis now faces 15 years to life in prison. The jury chose the maximum conviction of seconded degree murder. The judge previously threw out first degree murder because there was no evidence Cantrell planned to kill his wife. A juror described to us how they reached their decision.Cantrell Ellis showed no reaction when he heard the verdict. His defense tried to show that Cantrell acted out of rage when he caught his estranged wife Charlotte Ellis in bed with another man and stabbed the woman to death. But juror David Shoemaker tells Action News ... the evidence shows the man had intent to kill.

Shoemaker said, "Going to the kitchen, grabbing two knives and going straight to the bedroom-one the directness of that action and two the lethality in it."

While the prosecution agrees with the verdict- the defense believes justice was not served.

Defense Attorney Sal Sciandra said, "I believe that he was ... under the law ... there was adequate provocation ... any person in his position would have been provoked."

An officer testified in the trial that Cantrell admitted to stabbing his wife. But when the defendant testified- he could not recall the murder. Shoemaker says the jury did not buy Cantrell's explanation.

"He seemed to have a real clear commentary on the events that had occurred and it really caused us to doubt the degree he blacked out ... or was unaware," said Shoemaker.

Cantrell Ellis will be sentenced January 5th. He was also convicted of assaulting his wife's estranged lover.


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