FORT WORTH -- After sitting through eight days of testimony, jurors delivered a swift verdict Wednesday, convicting John "Johnny" Hummel of killing his family and burning down their Kennedale house with the bodies inside.
Hummel, a former Marine and security guard, showed no reaction when state District Judge Ruben Gonzalez read the verdict.
The victims' loved ones, who filled one side of the courtroom, hugged one another and wept quietly after the jury was led away.
The jury deliberated for a little over an hour before convicting Hummel, 35, of capital murder in the deaths of his pregnant wife, Joy, 34, and his disabled father-in-law, Clyde "Eddie" Bedford, 57.
During the past two weeks, the jury has heard that Hummel killed his 5-year-old daughter, Jodi, but the district attorney's office prosecuted Hummel on the indictment accusing him of killing Bedford and Hummel's wife during the same criminal transaction.
The punishment phase began after the verdict. Hummel faces life in prison without parole, or the death penalty.
Earlier in the day, during closing arguments before a packed courtroom, prosecutors Miles Brissette and Bob Gill portrayed Hummel as a monster who killed his family so he could be free to pursue other women, including a convenience store clerk whom he had sex with on one occasion.
They reminded the jury how Hummel returned home the night of Dec. 17, 2009, and stood in the kitchen deliberating how he was going to wipe out his sleeping family. He first tried to slit his wife's throat with a dull knife and then beat her with a baseball bat and stabbed her with two Japanese swords and a dagger.
"This was a very personal killing," Brissette told the jury.
After his wife was dead, Hummel was winded and had to rest before going into Bedford's bedroom with the bat, Brissette said.
"That monster ... went one by one, room by room, and snuffed out their lives," Brissette said. "He went with the same bloody bat and walked through a very small house and killed his father-in-law. And with the same bloody bat, he went back through the house and killed his daughter."
Afterward, Hummel gathered up the weapons, set his house on fire and then went shopping, trying to establish an alibi. Later, after investigators interviewed him at the Kennedale police station, Hummel picked up his paycheck and headed west to California.
He was detained three days later returning to California from Mexico, where he had gone to buy drugs, and confessed to killing his family.
"The state has left no stone unturned on this," Brissette said. [...]