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Wise found guilty of murder

ALBANY, Ga. -- Tiffany Wise, 34, was found guilty Wednesday evening of the murder of 88-year-old Mattie Mabel Berry.

After approximately two hours of deliberation, a jury of nine women and three men found Wise guilty of malice murder, felony murder and aggravated assault for the beating death of Berry on May 3, 2009.

Upon hearing the verdict read by Superior Court Judge Stephen Goss in court Wednesday evening, Wise became ill.

A sentencing hearing for Wise is tentatively scheduled for June 30.

Dougherty District Attorney Greg Edwards said the state will be asking for a life sentence without parole.

"We thought the case was straight forward," said Edwards after the guilty verdict was announced.

"The defendant (Wise) is not remorseful and is committed to not accepting responsibility for what she did. We are happy that the jury was able to bring her to justice."

Leisa Terry, Wise's defense attorney, said she will ask the judge to consider a sentence of life with parole.

"She (Wise) has some redeeming qualities," said Terry. "She has worked in a nursing home setting before and at the (Albany Rescue) Mission she was a trusted resident. To know that you won't die in prison is something to hope for."

During Wednesday morning's testimony in Dougherty Superior Court, Wise took the witness stand and told jurors that she was innocent of the crime of murder.

Previously, Wise had told detectives that a man named Herbert Washington, who she identified as a friend of her daughter's father, had beaten Berry. Officers said Wise later confessed to police that she acted alone in the crime.

Wise changed her story Wednesday on the witness stand. She testified that a woman who was Wise's roommate at the Albany Rescue Mission, killed Berry.

Throughout the trial, the prosecution contended that Wise drove to Berry's house on May 3, 2009 with intent to rob Berry, who frequently volunteered at the Albany Rescue Mission where Wise lived.

Linda Dickerson, one of Berry's daughters, said the family was grateful to the court and the family was pleased with the jury's decision to convict Wise.

"Nothing in the world can replace her (Berry's) life and nothing can give back the time taken away from us with her," Dickerson said. "We do feel that justice has been served and that Tiffany Wise is where she needs to be."