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Woman Gets 78 Years in Prison for Murder, Dismemberment of Husband

Updated: Thursday, June 26 2014, 09:52 AM CDT
SPRINGFIELD -- A Springfield woman convicted of killing and dismembering her husband will likely spend the rest of her life in prison.

Before Juatasha Denton-McCaster's sentencing Wednesday, her attorney
asked for an acquittal and a new trial. The judge denied the motion.

Sangamon county judge Pete Cavanagh then sentenced her to 78 years in
prison; which means the 24-year old will be 102 when released; although
she'll be eligible for parole when she's 90.

When Cavanagh announced the sentence, Denton-McCaster showed no emotion.
Meanwhile, the family of her murdered husband showed plenty.

"I'm so happy our family got justice," said Faith Payne, the cousin of
Norman McCaster. His family members sat through five days of testimony a
few months ago and heard gruesome evidence surrounding the murder and
dismemberment of McCaster in 2012.

On April 1st, a jury found his wife, Juatasha, guilty on all counts --
first-degree murder, dismembering a body, concealing a homicide, and
obstructing justice.

Day after day of trial, evidence against Denton-McCaster stacked up...
from Google searches on her laptop about how to kill and get away with
it, to buying supplies to carry out her plan that investigators traced
to her credit card and found evidence of in her trash. She eventually
borrowed a gun; which prosecutors believe she used to shoot her husband
in the head, before dismembering him and dumping his body parts.
Prosecutors also exposed a web of lies.

Sangamon county state's attorney John Milhiser said, "As the evidence
came out, this was the planned execution of Norman McCaster by the
defendant; then she attempted to cover it up. It was excellent work by
the Sangamon county sheriff's office. We are satisfied with the verdict
and satisfied with the sentence."

Before her sentencing, Denton-McCaster made a statement to the judge; a
surprise move because she didn't testify during her trial.

Through tears, she said, "I normally don't show emotions because it
shows weakness... being falsely accused is a hard pill to swallow... but
with God on my side, anything is doable... one thing I won't do is play
the victim role because both families have suffered a lot of pain... I
ask for grace and mercy."

She never once addressed her husband's family.

"If she got up and talked, she should have apologized to his mom and father," Payne said.

Juatasha's defense attorney, Lindsay Evans, says there's a reason why she didn't apologize to the family.

"When a defendant is being sentenced and there's a pending appeal, it
puts the defendant in a difficult position. It's typically a defense
attorney's advice to caution a defendant about making any statements
during the sentencing that could later be construed as a confession,"
Evans said.

Evans has already filed a motion for the judge to reconsider the 78 year
prison sentence. Sangamon county judge Pete Cavanagh will return a
ruling on reconsidering the sentence on July 1st.

After that ruling, Denton-McCaster's defense attorney has somewhat of a
green light to file a full appeal for a new trial and new sentence. But
if the 78 year sentence sticks, Denton-McCaster could be eligible for
parole after serving 66.5 years.

Woman Gets 78 Years in Prison for Murder, Dismemberment of Husband

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