Crispin Harmel found guilty in murder of Jessika Kalaher


GEORGETOWN, Texas (KXAN) — After a mistrial in 2014, a Williamson County jury found Crispin Harmel guilty of murder in the 2009 death of Jessika Kalaher. Harmel was automatically sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Over the past week, prosecutors reintroduced evidence they say points to Harmel as the person who murdered Kalaher on Sept. 7, 2009.

They say he kidnapped Kalaher, sexually assaulted her and ultimately murdered her, leaving her in her car parked at a Cedar Park Walmart. 

Harmel originally told investigators he and Kalaher met on a sex website and that she was a paying member since she messaged him, and only paying members can message people.

However, during the trial, the detective said there were no credit or debit card records of Kalaher subscribing to any such site.

The defense argued the detective never verified you had to be a paying member to message people. However, after analyzing Kalaher’s cell phone and computer, detectives said she had never registered on any sex or dating website.

On Monday afternoon, the defense said there’s no proof Harmel intentionally killed Kalaher and made a motion for Judge Rick Kennon to make a directed verdict to find Harmel not guilty instead of leaving it up to the jury. Judge Kennon denied the motion. 

Both sides presented their closing arguments Tuesday morning and the jury started deliberating around 3 p.m. and came back with a verdict around 8:45 p.m.

The defense did not call Harmel to the stand during the course of the trial. Harmel is charged with capital murder, aggravated kidnapping and aggravated robbery.

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