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Stepdad guilty again in Erin Justice murder, faces possible death sentence

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It was a new trial but it is the same outcome for Laurence Lovejoy - convicted once again in the 2004 murder of his 16-year-old stepdaughter.

A DuPage County jury handed down a guilty verdict after just one hour of deliberation today, according to the DuPage County State's Attorney's office.

Lovejoy, of Naperville, murdered Erin Justice in her Aurora home after she reported to police that Lovejoy raped her.

Prosecutors say Lovejoy waited until the girl's mother, his wife, went to work on March 27. He forced the girl to drink lethal amounts of cold medication. He then beat her over the head, slit her wrists, stabbed her and drowned her in a bathtub.

The girl's mother found the body several hours later.

Lovejoy was originally convicted and sentenced to death in 2007. The Illinois Supreme Court ordered a new trial in 2009 after finding in favor of defense claims that prosecutors failed to give the defense DNA evidence within a reasonable time frame.

Jurors will be back in court tomorrow to determine if Lovejoy should once again be declared eligible for the death penalty.

See: Quinn quiet on death penalty decision, lives hang in the balance - slideshow

The future of the death penalty in Illinois remains unclear. Last month, the Illinois General Assembly passed legislation that abolishes capital punishment. Gov. Pat Quinn has not said yet whether he will sign that legislation.



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