UPDATE: McKinley found guilty of girlfriend's 2011 murder, sente - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: McKinley found guilty of girlfriend's 2011 murder, sentenced to life

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Marcus McKinley Marcus McKinley
Ayana Patton Ayana Patton
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PRINCETON (WVVA) - Marcus McKinley has been found guilty without mercy in the 2011 murder of the mother of his young child.

The verdict was returned shortly before 9 p.m. Friday. The jury deliberated for approximately five and a half hours.

Following the verdict, Judge Omar Aboulhosn proceeded with sentencing, giving McKinley a life sentence without parole for the shooting death of 18-year-old Ayana Patton.

The defense said it plans to appeal.

Patton's body was found at the Opera House apartments in Bluefield on the morning of May 19, 2011. McKinley was apprehended that evening in the Charlotte, N.C., area.

McKinley expressed remorse in court Friday night.

"I loved Ayana to death," he said. "I have never been a violent person. I'm sorry from the bottom of my heart. I had a bad reaction. I'm going to man up for what I did."

Testimony in the trial had painted a picture of repeated domestic violence incidents between both McKinley and Patton.

View WVVA.com's previous reports on this case

WVVA News was the only media outlet present in the courtroom when the verdict was announced.

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PRINCETON (WVVA) - The jury has reached a verdict in the Marcus McKinley murder case.

WVVA's Josh Frketic is there and will relay the verdict as it is received.

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PRINCETON (WVVA) - The fate of a Mercer County man accused of murdering the mother of his child was in the hands of jurors Friday evening.

Marcus McKinley is charged with first-degree murder in the May 2011 shooting death of Ayana Patton.

Testimony earlier in the week painted a picture of repeated domestic violence incidents between McKinley and Patton, including a March 2011 incident at the Knights Inn in Bluefield where their five-month old baby was present.

The couple was ordered to have no contact with one another but the two were arrested on April 12, 2011 for domestic battery -- a month before the deadly shooting.

A CPS worker testified that Ayana claimed she was afraid for her life, but says two weeks after the arrest, she witnessed Patton and McKinley eating dinner together at a local restaurant.

She said that prompted her to take custody away from Ayana Patton and give the child to Ayana's mother.

In addition, an officer who transported McKinley from North Carolina back to West Virginia said that McKinley spoke voluntarily from the back seat, saying he didn't intend to shoot Ayana and that he loved her and was sorry for what he did.

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