Judge decides Coston verdict - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Victims' families react to guilty charges against Coston

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Danny Coston. Danny Coston.
Coston is charged in the deaths of Jacob Wheeler and Jessica Evans. Coston is charged in the deaths of Jacob Wheeler and Jessica Evans.

A judge has found Danny Coston guilty of murder and all charges. 

After a bench trial Monday afternoon in White County, the judge found Coston guilty of first degree murder, second degree murder, and sexual assault.

Earlier on Monday, Coston waived his right to jury trial and a stipulated bench trial began. That meant no witnesses were in the courtroom, testimony was read by attorneys, and the judge decided if Coston was guilty or not guilty.

Coston was charged in the shooting deaths of 17-year-old Jessica Evans and 22-year-old Jacob Wheeler. The bodies of the victims were found in a remote area of the county near the little Wabash River in August, 2012.

"He will be spending the rest of his life in prison. Therefore justice for Jess and Jake has been served without the need of witnesses, jurors, the families, the friends and the public to have to relive the nightmare that occurred almost a year ago to these two innocent victims," Evan's mother Kristina Suprenant said.

Family members say they are happy with the outcome.

"There'll never be closure losing our kids. You lose one of your kids, it's the worst thing you can go through. You'll never have closure, but at best we can try to live knowing he's going to be in prison for the rest of his life," Jacob's father Harold Wheeler said.

 Coston is facing a minimum of about 50 years behind bars. His sentencing is September 17.

"I was scared that one juror might come in there, find him not guilty and he couldn't be trued again so we played it smart. He's going to get 50 years any way we go now," Wheeler said.

A fundraiser is planned for Labor Day weekend called the Tenderness Tour. Read about the event here.

Related Stories:

Small town coming together to help family of Jessica Evans
Charges against Coston include aggravated sexual assault, murder
Missing man found dead in Wayne County, suspect arrested
Community remembers young couple as 'happy'

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