A Cumberland County jury found David Marble Jr. (front) guilty Thursday of murdering an Augusta couple on Christmas morning in 2015. Credit: Jake Bleiberg

David Marble Jr. was found guilty Thursday of murdering an Augusta couple on Christmas morning in 2015.

Around 11 a.m., a Cumberland County jury returned two guilty verdicts for the murders of Eric Williams and Bonnie Royer after less than a day of deliberation and a week and a half of trial testimony.

The 12 jurors appear to have been persuaded by the prosecutors’ case that Marble gunned down Williams, 35, and Royer, 26, in retaliation for the robbery of his apartment, despite a defense attorney’s claim that there was no evidence he actually pulled the trigger.

Marble could be sentenced to up to life in prison for the murder convictions. Justice Michaela Murphy also found the 32-year-old Rochester, New York, native guilty of illegal firearm possession Thursday.

The verdict brings some closure to the double-murder case that grabbed headlines during the holidays three years ago and became part of a 2016 controversy over racially charged comments by Gov. Paul LePage before being moved to a Portland court last year.

[Man charged with murder in Christmas slaying of Augusta couple]

Upon hearing the verdict, Marble lowered his head to the courtroom table where he was seated.

Christine Collins, Royer’s mother, said she was happy with the jury’s decision but won’t have closure until Marble is sentenced. “Personally, I wish we had capital punishment in the state of Maine,” Collins said, tearing up in a corner of the Portland courtroom.

Marble’s mother walked swiftly from the courtroom following the verdict. After the jury was dismissed, she leaned against a courthouse corridor and sobbed inconsolably into a white cloth.

Outside, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Marchese lauded the jury’s decision and said that the state will pursue a life sentence.

Defense attorney Jon Gale said that Marble maintained his innocence throughout the legal proceedings and will appeal the verdict.

During the trial, Marchese and another prosecutor built their case based on corroborating witness testimony against Marble with data from his cellphone and physical evidence from the scene of the shooting.

In closing arguments, Gale said the state’s case was based on “bluster and horror” and raised questions about whether some of the witnesses against Marble, who is black, were motivated by racial bias.

In 2017, Marble’s case was moved from Kennebec County to a Portland court after LePage referenced him in public statement, saying drug dealers with names such as “D-Money, Smoothie and Shifty” come to Maine and sometimes impregnate “young white girl[s].”

The comments were condemned as bigoted in Maine and nationally. Lawyers on both side largely avoided using Marble’s nickname, D-Money, during the trial and in court filings.

Marble will be held without bail until he is sentenced at a later date.

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