Update: Blakeney sentenced to death - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Update: Blakeney sentenced to death


After a weeklong trial and more than 13 hours in court on Friday, what has been considered a four year battle for justice for Victoria Viner, finally came to an end.

"We have actually accomplished at least a measure of justice for Victoria Viner," said Assistant District Attorney J. Ronald Parrish. "For the last almost four years now when I have come in this office her picture on this wall is the first thing I have looked at," said Parrish.

Hours of witness testimony presented by the defense, included Justin's parents, Marsha and Tommy Blakeney, along with friends and doctors. Jury instructions were given and both sides presented their closing arguments. The jury returned an hour and twenty seven minutes later to return a unanimous verdict for the death of 2-year-old Victoria.

"We the jury find the defendant Justin Blakeney guilty of capital murder," said Jury Foreman. 

The jury was then presented with the sentencing phase of the trial to determine whether Blakeney was to be given life in prison, life without parole, or the death penalty. The defense recalled seven witnesses to testify on Blakeney's behalf.

"He doesn't', I don't think he needs the death penalty at all," said Megan Batte.

It took over two hours of deliberation to return a sentence. With no expression on his face, Blakeney stared across the room to the jury as the sentence was read.

"We unanimously find the defendant should suffer death," said Jury Foreman.

Judge Billy Joe Landrum set the execution date for November 19, 2014.

Blakeney looked to family members and mouthed "it ain't gonna happen that soon; it ain't gonna happen that soon."

After the verdict was announced, hugs were traded among the Viner family.

"It's been a long time coming, it's been four years, and I think now her soul can rest, and I can be a little more at peace than I was," said Vincent Viner, Victoria's father.

As for the photo hanging on the wall at the Jones County District Attorney's office, it now serves as a reminder of a special case in J Ronald Parrish's career.

"When I start something I don't quit, until it's over with, and it's been a nightmare battle with this, but I have seen it through, as I have said before, some of these instances to the better end," said Parrish.

Powered by Frankly