AKRON-- Thirteen years after her murder, a jury has found Denny Ross guilty in the death of 18-year-old Hannah Hill.
The nine women and three men were the second jury to hear his case, after a mistrial was declared in 2000.
Ross had no visible emotion as the charges were read in Judge Judy Hunter's Summit County courtroom Friday.
Nine weeks of trial, with testimony of more than 70 witnesses, and four days of deliberations were nothing compared to the thirteen years Hannah Hill's family has waited for justice.
"It's a big burden lifted and only God could have done it," said Kim Hill, Hannah Hill's mother. "He placed everybody and put people that needed to be, where they needed to be. And that's how justice was served."
The jury convicted Ross on the following charges:
- Count 1 - Guilty Murder, purposely caused the death of Hill
- Count 2 - Guilty Murder (caused death during felonious assault.)
- Count 3 - Guilty Tampering with evidence
- Count 4 - Guilty Abuse of a corpse
- Count 5 - Guilty Felonious assault
"The technology that we have available to us has really allowed us to uncover the truth, the advancements in DNA testing specifically," said Special Prosecutor Matthew Meyer, who is an assistant prosecutor with Cuyahoga County.
Hill's body was found in May 1999, beaten, strangled and raped - then stuffed inside the trunk of her own Geo Prizm. Prosecutors say Ross's DNA was on her body and her belongings were found outside his apartment.
It's an argument the state made in 2000 also, followed by a mistrial and a decade of appeals. Those original proceedings ended in a mistrial after it was discovered jurors discussed a lie detector test that was not presented as evidence.
"The legal system works slowly at times, but we're grateful to not just Judge Hunter and the jury, but all of the courts over the years that have carefully considered the issues in this case," said Meyer.
"It took 13 years to get here. I know the judge will do what is important," said Special Prosecutor Anna Faraglia, also with Cuyahoga County.
What's next for Denny Ross?
"We accept the jury's verdict. We respect the jury's verdict," said his Attorney Roger Synenberg. "But we're disappointed. We hoped for a different result."
Ross is currently serving 25 years in the attempted murder and rape of an Akron woman in 2004.
His supporters say this isn't the end.
"We do intend to appeal it. There's some significant issues in there," said Synenberg.
"Appeal? We're not even done with the first trial yet that's still in federal court. Do I think there will be a round three? You can bank on it. Okay? Bank on it," said Allen Ross, Denny's father.
Denny Ross could face multiple life sentences for Hill's death.
Sentencing is set for 3 p.m. Tuesday afternoon.