Verdict in Clinton County Cold-Case Murder

LOCK HAVEN, Pa. -- A jury in Clinton County has found a man guilty of third-degree murder in connection with the death of a woman back in the 1990s.

Loyd Groves was found not guilty of first-degree murder by the same jury.

The verdict was announced Monday afternoon.

Family members and friends held hands as the jury foreman read the verdict out loud.

Loyd Groves now faces the possibility of spending the rest of his life in prison for killing Kathy Heckel 27 years ago.

Groves was taken from the Clinton County Courthouse in handcuffs after being found guilty of third-degree murder.

He was arrested in 2015.

Investigators say in 1991, Groves and Kathy Heckel worked together at the Hammermill Paper Company in Lock Haven and were having an affair.

When Heckel wanted to break it off, they say Groves got jealous and killed her. Her body was never found.

"They understand at this point it's unlikely will ever be found. What they do know is who did it and that he is going to be accountable for doing it," said Pennsylvania Deputy Attorney General Daniel Dye.

During the two-week-long trial, attorneys questioned over a dozen people who helped paint a picture of the day Heckel went missing

Last week, the prosecution revealed a speck of Heckel's blood was found in Groves' vehicle.

The jury began deliberating Friday evening after closing arguments. It took nearly 10 hours for them to reach a verdict.

Jurors found Groves not guilty of first-degree murder but did hold him responsible for Heckel's death by convicting him of third-degree murder.

"I spoke with the family. They are thrilled," said Dye. "They have waited so long to feel as though Kathy is at rest. Today starts that healing process."

Groves is set to be sentenced in January.

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