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Apr 2, 2012 8:35 AM by AP

Man found guilty in death

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Jurors deliberated less than an hour before unanimously finding Franklin Meredith Jr. guilty in the 2010 rape and murder of a 29-year-old Zachary woman whose body was found in Monte Sano Bayou.

The Advocate reports an East Baton Rouge Parish jury of five women and seven men convicted Meredith Friday of aggravated rape and second-degree murder of Jennifer Gonzales.

Both crimes carry automatic sentences of life in prison. State District Judge Richard Anderson will formally sentence Meredith on May 4.

Trey Frazier, one of Meredith's court-appointed attorneys, suggested to the jury that Meredith had consensual sexual intercourse with Gonzales sometime prior to her death but did not kill her.

Police have said Gonzales was raped, severely beaten and choked before she drowned.

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