(11/16/12) - A Lapeer County jury has convicted the man accused in the 2006 murder of 86-year-old Marie Warren.
It's a case that sat cold for quite some time. Frank Choate was charged with murder just this year.
Friday, Choate was found guilty on all seven counts in the case.
Investigators believe he was breaking into Warren's home, woke her up and beat her. Warren's body, her fingers and thumbs severed, was found in a ditch about five miles away.
Warren's family has been in court for the trial day after day.
"Our family can move forward now. It feels like everything has just been on hold. I just thought this day would never happen and I'm so happy," says Warren's daughter, Janet Brace.
"It's still a nightmare that this happened to my mother. It will always be there," Brace says. "At least now we know the person who did this has been caught.
Choate was arrested and jailed, connected to this case, in July of 2011. He was charged with crimes then tied to a break in at Warren's home.
A jail inmate came forward with information this past spring. Lapeer County Prosecutor Byron Konschuh says that, coupled with DNA evidence and Choate's own statements to police, led to the murder charge in September.
That DNA evidence? One single strand of hair.
"The hair itself doesn't convict him," says Konschuh. "It puts him in a place he shouldn't be."
Konschuh says he's more convinced now that Choate acted alone. Konschuh says he's hoped the community can also feel some relief knowing Choate will be locked up for the rest of his life.
Choate faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison, without parole, when sentenced.
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