ARCHIVE STORY: Jury convicts Elias Wanatee of second-degree murd - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

ARCHIVE STORY: Jury convicts Elias Wanatee of second-degree murder

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COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (KTIV) -

After hours of deliberating, a jury found Elias Wanatee guilty of second-degree murder, Friday afternoon.

The decision came in his re-trial after allegedly stabbing his girlfriend's uncle to death, last year.

The jury started deliberating on Thursday, and reached its verdict, Friday afternoon, after nearly seven hours of deliberations. 

Elias Wanatee was accused of stabbing 50-year-old Vernon Mace to death on Sioux City's west side in February 2016.

The prosecution argued that Wanatee should be charged with first-degree in Mace's death. But, the defense maintained Wanatee was acting in self-defense.

After hours of deliberation, Mace's family says, the verdict helps them move forward. "I do feel more comfortable," said Alaxandra Mace, the victim's daughter. "It gives a little bit more of closure to our family knowing that he will never be able to hurt another person's family member or another family ever again. And, they'll never have to go through what we've been going through."

The victim's daughter says, no matter what, Wanatee's punishment will never be enough for killing her father. She says the strength of her family has kept everyone together during this difficult time. 

Judge Duane Hoffmeyer says he will most likely have the sentencing date set soon.

Wanatee faces up to 50 years in prison. 


Previous story:

A Pottawattamie County, Iowa jury found Elias Wanatee guilty of second-degree murder on Friday.

Wanatee was on trial for stabbing 50-year-old Vernon Mace to death in Sioux City's west side February of last year.

His murder trial began Monday and ended with closing arguments Thursday before the jury began deliberations.

This is Wanatee's second trial.

The first one ended in a hung jury and the retrial was moved from Woodbury County because of publicity in December. 

The prosecution was hoping the jury would convict him of first-degree murder. 

The defense has continued to say the defendant was acting in self-defense. 

KTIV's Tiffany Lane is at the courthouse and will have the latest on News 4. 


Previous story:
Both the prosecution and defense have rested their case in the murder retrial of a Sioux City man accused of stabbing his girlfriend's uncle to death.

The retrial was moved to the courthouse in Council Bluffs.
  
Elias Wanatee's retrial went faster than expected, with just two and a half days of testimony.

The prosecution began the morning calling witnesses, including law enforcement officials who were there for Wanatee's arrest.
  
We also heard from a man who was at the Woodbury County jail who said Wanatee told him he had stabbed a man on Sioux City's west side. 
    
The defense rested its case without calling on any witnesses and Wanatee did not testify. 

Closing arguments began at 12:30 and afterward, the jury will be given instructions before beginning their deliberations.

KTIV's Tiffany Lane will have the latest on News 4 and online. 
 

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