Photo Galleries: Laurie Cone, Gary Gallion guilty in San Bernardino TV repairman murder | Cones Conspiracy-To-Murder Trial | TV repairman found dead inside San Bernardino business
SAN BERNARDINO - A jury on Tuesday found the wife of a local television repairman and her accomplice guilty in the brutal slaying last year of the woman's husband as she fed her gambling habit at a local casino.
After a seven-day trial in San Bernardino Superior Court Judge Michael A. Smith's courtroom, jurors took about 5 1/2 hours to find to find Laurie Cone, 47, and Gary Michael Gallion, 30, guilty of first-degree murder, second-degree robbery and first-degree residential burglary in the death of John "Jack" Cone, 64.
Jack Cone was found bound and fatally beaten on April 2, 2012, in his San Bernardino home, which doubled as his television-repair shop on North Sierra Way.
Throughout the hearing, Laurie Cone sat quietly, her head lowered. When the verdict was read, her legs shook rapidly.
Gallion's family members cried and verbalized their disappointment with the jury's decision before leaving the courtroom.
At the end of the hearing, Gallion and Cone - shackled at their hands and feet - were escorted out of the courtroom.
Deputy District Attorney Cary Epstein said Laurie Cone asked Gallion to do the crimes while she gambled at a casino with her daughter.
Cone had dual motives, Epstein said: She wanted her husband dead, and she wanted his property.
"We're pleased with the verdict," Epstein said. "Pleased that Jack finally got justice for what happened to him."
Cone was also found guilty of soliciting two men - Charles Duke and Nathan Diaz - to commit the murder. Lawyers clarified that Cone was never charged with soliciting Gallion to commit murder.
Defense lawyers argued during the trial that Laurie Cone and Gallion were not involved in the crimes. The defendants testified that they had not met until after they were arrested.
"We're disappointed, certainly," said Ed Congdon, who represented Laurie Cone. "We understand the jury's verdict; we just don't agree."
The jurors evaluated the evidence, Epstein said, which included a surveillance video of the break-in and witnesses who said they heard the defendants talking about robbing Jack Cone.
"They clearly felt the evidence showed beyond a reasonable doubt that these two defendants committed the crimes," he said.
During the trial, Laurie Cone's daughter, Jackie, said her mother may have been stealing from her father after the couple's separation to support her gambling addiction. She said her father owned hundreds of guns but believed she sold most of them.
But Laurie Cone testified that she believed her daughter had something to do with the crime.
Sentencing has been scheduled for April 9.
The defendants could face up to life in state prison without the possibility of parole, according to San Bernardino County prosecutors.
A third defendant, Shawna Marie Bayless, accepted a plea bargain last month - right before lawyers started selecting a jury for the trial.
As part of her plea deal, Bayless pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder, voluntary manslaughter and residential robbery and agreed to testify.
She faces 14 to 18 years in prison, and will have the conspiracy to commit murder charge dismissed if Smith determines she testified truthfully during the trial.
If he finds that Bayless did not tell the truth during her testimony, she could receive 25 years to life.
Bayless is scheduled to be sentenced March 22.
Reach Lori via email or call her at 909-483-9378, or find her on Twitter @IEcourtsNow