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Man guilty in wife’s murder

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A jury deliberated only an hour and 15 minutes before coming back with a unanimous guilty verdict against Sherman Alexander Lynch III.

Lynch bowed his head as the jury foreman read the verdicts that convicted him of first-degree felony murder and obstruction of justice, a second-degree felony, in the death of his wife, Patricia Rothermich.

The jury received the case at about 6:30 p.m. Friday. By 7:45 p.m., word filtered from the 3rd District Court that a verdict had been reached. Lynch, 60, would occasionally look over at the jury as they were being polled on the verdicts, but showed little emotion.

Friends of Rothermich were in the courtroom when the verdicts were read.

"It's over," Olivia Moreton sighed outside of court.

Lynch's defense attorneys refused to comment as they left the courtroom.

"I feel like justice was served," prosecutor Michaela Andruzzi said.

Lynch was convicted of running down Rothermich on a Holladay road in October 2007. During the trial, Salt Lake County prosecutors suggested he led a double life with a girlfriend on the side. It was that girlfriend who went to police after seeing him on TV grieving over the death of his wife.

Defense attorneys said police were quick to focus on Lynch, refusing to consider other evidence that pointed to other possible suspects. They said Lynch had an alibi — he was buying milk and gas at Costco at the time. Police and prosecutors countered that Lynch had plenty of time to ditch the pick-up he bought and make it to the store.

"Pat was a neighbor of mine for over 30 years. She was family," said Don Carter, who testified at trial. "I was called down to the hospital. He kept repeating at least 50 times, 'What am I going to do? What am I going to do?' I thought it was way over the top. I don't know how people react with grief, so I suspected nothing really."

Lynch was led from the courtroom in handcuffs. He faces up to life in prison when he's sentenced on Jan. 9.

For Rothermich's friends, the verdict was closure. They plan to create a scholarship in her name at the University of Utah's school of social work.

"We'll just build up a scholarship and keep up the work that she did," Moreton said.

E-mail: bwinslow@desnews.com