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Family reacts to Duran verdict

INDIO, Calif. - After about a week of deliberations, a jury has found a tribal member accused of killing a Palm Springs man, not guilty of premeditated murder.      
It's been a long road,  Candace Duran was first arrested nearly six years ago.  Even though she will go to jail, her family is happy it's finally over.

"I am just happy for my sister," said Duran's sister Taryn Duran.

Candace Duran was just 19 when 40 year-old Howard Villanueava was killed at her home in 2007, during the 6 and a half week trial, the prosecution argued Duran planned the murder.  They pointed to the fact he was stabbed 12 times and duran cleaned up before calling for help.

But Duran's defense team claimed that's not what happened at all.  They argued Villanueava attacked her and Duran fought for her life.

After nearly a week of deliberations, the jury agreed and found Duran guilty of voluntary manslaughter.

"Absolutely thrilled that the jury acquitted her of both first and second degree murder.  We are very grateful that they saw it the way they did.  From the very conception of this case, we have always contended that this was in no way shape or form a murder case," said defense attorney Dean Benjamini.

Duran's family told us they're happy the ordeal is finally over.

"I am happy with the verdict.  I am happy with it, I am just glad that we can move on from this now," said Taryn Duran.

"She is also very grateful for the jury, the jury has a very difficult job and in this case, they did a good job," said Benjamini.
Villanueva's family told us they hoped for a stronger verdict.

"They wanted her to be held accountable," said prosecutor John Brandon.
Brandon says he's satisfied Duran will go to jail.

"I think reasonable people can differ on whether its a second degree or a voluntary manslaughter, so I think that the fact that these jurors narrowed this issue down pretty quickly and spend a lot of time on it, I think its a reasonable verdict" said Duran.

Duran faces up to 15 years in prison, but she has a few other cases still pending and that could add on several more years.

She is due back in court next month.

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