Guilty verdict for man who killed woman, set her body on fire at church - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Guilty verdict for man who killed woman, set her body on fire at church

By Chuck Weber

WEST PALM BEACH, FL (WFLX)-A jury in West Palm Beach has convicted a man of killing a woman, then setting her body on fire on the grounds of a church.

Tuesday jurors found John Liebro guilty as charged-- second degree murder, and abuse of a dead body. Liebro killed Katie Brunelle, a 24-year old mother of two small boys, in December 2008. A passing deputy noticed Brunelle's body-- on fire-- in the yard of a Catholic Church in Royal Palm Beach.

Liebro and his victim worked together at a Denny's in Broward County. During the trial, Liebro's relatives testified that he had taken Brunelle to a party, then back to his place. That's where there was a confrontation between Brunelle and Liebro's girlfriend. Liebro later admitted to family members, as he took Brunelle home, he "snapped," hitting and choking Brunelle until she died.

Liebro shows little emotion as the guilty verdicts are read. He potentially faces life in prison at his sentencing, tentatively set for mid-April. Liebro's lawyers said they would appeal today's verdict.

"I'm glad that he won't be able to do this to someone else," said Brunelle's mother, Terri Aguilar. She said Katie loved her sons and aspired to be a nurse.

"You know if you're having a hard time, she'd be the first one there to help you," said Aguilar. "But she'll never reach any of her dreams."

Brunelle's sons have been adopted by her sister.

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