TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) - A man has been convicted in the 2015 beating death of an Alabama woman and a jury will now decide whether he should die for the crime.
The Tuscaloosa News reported a jury deliberated less than two hours Thursday before returning the guilty verdict against Michael Belcher.
The same jury meets Friday to consider whether Belcher should die for killing 29-year-old Samantha Payne of Maplesville. The jury could recommend life in prison without parole.
Tuscaloosa County Circuit Court Judge Brad Almond will consider the jury's recommendation and make the final decision.
Prosecutors say Payne had been beaten by a group of friends who were using drugs. Her body was found in the Talladega National Forest.
District Attorney Hays Webb said Belcher was the leader of the group in the attack.
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