A Travis County jury finds Shriya Patel, 27, not guilty of capital murder and guilty of arson causing death. Patel appeared relieved. The verdict means she avoids an automatic life sentence. Now, the jury will hear additional testimony and evidence as the case moves into the punishment phase.
Arson causing death is a first degree felony with a punishment range from five to 99 years. The jury got off to a late start Monday. One of the jurors decided not to show up. After several attempts to contact her failed an alternate was called in.
In court, prosecutors presented an incident report filed by police that shows that juror was found as an emotionally disturbed person on 6th street Sunday. Prosecutors argued Patel lured her husband Bimal Patel into the bathtub for a massage. She lit candles and tossed a cup of gasoline into the bathroom which created a flash fire.
Defense attorneys say Patel wanted to commit suicide and he forced his wife to help him.
Punishment phase for Patel starts at 1:30 p.m.