Guilty verdict returned in less than two hours

Staff Writer

At 1:47 p.m. today the jury returned to the court room at Custer County District Court with a guilty verdict in the Britney Pryce trial. The case was submitted to the jury at 12:08 p.m., making the verdict returned in under two hours.

District Court Judge Karin Noakes asked the jury foreperson if the verdict was unanimous to which he replied, "Yes, it was."

The verdict was handed to Clerk of the District Court Amy Oxford who stamped it and read it aloud. It stated that the jury found Brittney Pryce Guilty of intentional Child Abuse resulting in the death of a child. The jury found her guilty of causing injuries to twenty month old Noah Pryce who died from those injuries in November, 2013.

Neither the prosecution or the defense requested a polling of the jury.

Judge Noakes thanked the jury for their service saying "I truly appreciate your attentiveness to the process. It was a very difficult case." She further said jury members are now free to discuss the case with any one and they are also within their rights to not discuss the case. With those words, the jury was dismissed.

Assistant attorney general Michael Guinan requested that bond be revoked and Pryce be remanded to custody. Defense attorney Stephen Potter argued that Pryce has been free for the past three years, is monitored and has caused no problems. Judge Noakes revoked bond and Pryce was immediately taken into custody by the Custer County Sheriff's Office. She remained quiet and walked steadily. Tears rolled down her face and she wiped them away as she was led from the defense table to the door to the holding cell.

About three dozen spectators were in the gallery of the courtroom for the verdict. Before allowing anyone back in the court room, a representative from the Attorney General's office strictly enjoined the public that there would be no outbursts, no matter what the verdict, and that the judge would remove anyone who made a sound. The room remained silent as the verdict was read.

Most family members declined to speak. Jennifer Harding, Noah's grandmother and mother to Christopher Harding, Noah's father, was tearful as she hugged friends. "I'm glad justice is done. Our baby can rest now," she said.

Sentencing for Pryce is scheduled for Nov. 10 in Custer County District Court. Child Abuse resulting in the death of a child is a Class I B Felony which carries a minimum sentence of twenty years and a maximum of life.