110217-William Howard Lail III murder trial-2

ROBERT C. REED/RECORD FILE PHOTO: Defendant William Howard Lail III takes a moment to collect his thoughts as defense attorney Victoria Jayne questions him on the witness stand last week during his murder trial in Catawba County Superior Court.

NEWTON — The jury has yet to reach a verdict in the William Howard Lail III murder and child abuse trial.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the jury had been deliberating for roughly 7.5 hours in Catawba County Superior Court.

To aid in their deliberations, the jury has asked for a printed copy of Bridges’ instructions, copies of the photo evidence, a more detailed definition of what the word “intentional” means as it pertains to the law, a copy of Whitney Weathers’ divorce documents and the full transcript of Lail’s testimony.

Superior Court Judge Forrest D. Bridges approved all of those requests but the transcript of Lail’s testimony.

After reviewing the law, hearing opinions from the state and the defense, and consulting with the court reporter, it came to his attention it would take the court reporter days to transcribe Lail’s lengthy testimony, and in an effort to transcribe as quickly as possible, errors could be made.

A request from the jury to bring evidence into the deliberation room is at the judge’s discretion.

Lail is charged with one count of first-degree murder in the drowning death of Jaydon Ray Sandlin, 1, and four counts of felony child abuse.

He is accused of abusing both Jaydon and his sister Kylie Madison Sandlin, who was 3 at the time of Lail’s arrest.

On May 3, 2013, first responders arrived to a residence in Long View to find Jaydon deceased and both Jaydon and Kylie covered in burns and bruises.

Lail said the burns were caused by accidentally leaving the children in the bathtub with running water that was too hot a week and a half prior to Jaydon’s death.

As for the drowning, Lail testified on the witness stand in court last week that the drowning was caused by leaving Jaydon unattended in the bathtub.

Neither Kylie nor Jaydon received professional medical treatment for their injuries, which physicians described as excruciatingly painful second- to third-degree burns.

Kylie and Jaydon were the children of Lail’s now ex-girlfriend Weathers, who pleaded guilty to multiple charges of felony child abuse earlier this year.

Lail’s child abuse charges include:

» one felonious count of burning Kylie,

» one felonious count of severely bruising Kylie,

» one felonious count of burning Jaydon, and

» one felonious count of severely bruising Jaydon and fracturing his ribs.

The jury must come to a verdict on each of those charges with their verdict options being: guilty of the felonious charge, guilty of misdemeanor, or not guilty.

As for the murder charge, the jury may choose to find Lail guilty of first-degree murder by torture, first-degree murder by deliberation and premeditation, or both.

They may also reduce the murder charge to second-degree or involuntary manslaughter, or they may find him not guilty.

Each verdict must be a unanimous vote.

The jury will continue to deliberate Wednesday.

Get today’s top stories right in your inbox. Sign up for our daily newsletter.

Recommended for you