Britney Langlois was convicted Friday night of first-degree intentional homicide and armed robbery for the November shooting death of Henry C. Lee Jr.
A Dane County jury deliberated for about 10 hours before returning the verdicts against Langlois, 21.
Langlois' sobs pierced the courtroom as Dane County Circuit Judge Daniel Moeser read the guilty verdict. Langlois will receive a mandatory life sentence for first-degree murder. A date for a sentencing hearing has not been set for the armed robbery conviction and to determine whether she will eligible for early release on extended supervision. She will then also be sentenced for being a felon with a firearm, which she pleaded guilty to earlier this week.
Lee's mother said she was relieved by the verdict even as she mourns the fact that she will never see his "pretty smile" again. "My baby's gone, but that's OK," Lee's mother, Marilyn Butler cried into her family's arms.
"I wanted the person that killed my son to be responsible," she said.
Lee had ambitions, Butler said. He wanted to be a mechanical engineer and was working toward a GED when he died.
Butler said her "heart really went out" to Langlois' family, but "you have to pay for what you've done. You can't go around killing people."
Prosecutors said that on Nov. 21, Langlois shot Lee, 22, in his car in a parking lot of the Wexford Ridge Apartments and took his money, which she had seen him count, and his marijuana.
"She executed him with a shot at point-blank range to the back of Henry Lee's head," Assistant District Attorney Timothy Kiefer said Friday in his closing argument.
Langlois' grandmother, Brenda Preston, testified that when she picked up her granddaughter that night across from the apartments, Langlois said she thought she had shot someone after being hassled by a group of men. Langlois handed her the gun, Preston said, and she threw into Lake Monona along with a pair of panties used to wipe it clean of fingerprints.
The gun and panties were later recovered by police. Preston also said she put the clothes Langlois was wearing that night into various dumpsters.
Police found Langlois several days later in Chicago, where she identified herself as Puree Hill, a friend whose identification and birth certificate she had.
Langlois testified that another man, Vincent Lowe, shot Lee, then gave her the gun he used and told her to get rid of it. She said she told her grandmother that a man had been shot but did not say she had done it. She also denied that her grandmother disposed of her clothes, saying her grandmother had made up details thinking she was protecting her.
In his closing argument, Langlois' attorney, Paul Schwartz, said prosecutors "created a tangled web, a web of deception" with "mind-boggling major discrepancies" that "made no sense whatsoever."
Schwartz said key prosecution witnesses admitted they lied to police both in the past and during the investigation into Lee's death and that they also lied in their testimony.
"These people can't get their stories straight. They're lying to you," Schwartz told jurors.
Prosecution witnesses included Nicole Black, at whose Wexford Ridge apartment Langlois met Lee the night he was killed, and Black's friend, Nicole Williams, who was also at the apartment that night. Lowe and his girlfriend, Altisha Rodgers, who live in another Wexford Ridge apartment building near Black's, also were key witnesses.
Black testified that she saw a gun and panties in Langlois' purse, and she and Williams said Langlois told them she wanted to rob somebody.
Lowe and Rodgers also said they saw the gun in Langlois' purse, and Lowe said that while he watched out a hallway window, he saw Lee go toward his car, which was parked behind a tree, moments before he saw Langlois follow him. He and Rodgers both testified that they heard a shot, and that Langlois then came to their apartment and told them she shot Lee.
Langlois maintained that it was Black who talked about wanting to rob Rodgers and that Lowe became angry when Langlois told him of Black's intention, saying he would "whack" anyone who tried to rob his house. Langlois said Lowe went to Black's apartment, and when he returned, he got out the gun and later left his apartment and shot Lee.