An Albemarle County jury found 25-year old Roderick McDowell guilty of first degree murder and robbery Friday. The jury also recommended McDowell spend a total of 60 years behind bars for the crimes: 45 for the murder and 15 for the robbery.
McDowell is now convicted of killing William Godsey outside of the Wood Grill Buffett back in April 2007 and robbing the victim's wife, restaurant manager Sandra Godsey during the attack.
During the sentencing portion of the trial, Sandra Godsey took the stand. The victim's wife looked at McDowell and asked, "How could you?" She also said William was her best friend, a wonderful man and that she "worshipped the ground he walked on."
Before that, during closing arguments, Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Elliot Casey said this was "almost the perfect crime" for McDowell.
He says the suspect planned, executed and tried to cover up the beating of Godsey.
But the defense painted a different picture. Attorney Lloyd Snook said the commonwealth tried to cover up the fact that Sandra Godsey thought her husband's killer was white or hispanic, not black.
Throughout the trial both sides argued about the credibility of the six convicted and jailed felons that testified this week claiming to have overheard McDowell talk about the crime in jail.
In an interview after the trial, Snook said he was surprised by the verdict. Casey thanked the citizens for coming forward with information.
McDowell will be back in court for a final sentencing hearing on July 29.