James Morris Lynn, Jr., a defendant on trial for the murder of his wife, Tonya Faye Royster Lynn, in late July of 2011, was found guilty in Barrow County Superior Court on Thursday. He was sentenced to life without parole.
A panel of 12 jurors, three women and nine men, delivered its verdict after just one hour of deliberation, convicting Lynn of malice murder, felony murder and aggravated assault. Lynn pleaded not guilty to the charges when he was indicted by a grand jury in October 2011.
After three days of trial, the jury found that Lynn murdered his wife in the late evening to early morning hours of July 26-27, 2011, by hitting her with a baseball bat in their Winder home, killing her, and then disposing of her body in a well on her parents' property off Etheridge Road in Auburn.
Before his sentencing, the court heard a victim impact statement by one of Tonya Lynn's brothers, Tim Royster, who tearfully delivered a plea for how the victim's family thought the court should proceed: “... it is the desire of my family and their children, that we would never see this man walk the street again... he should think about what he's done for the rest of his life.”
Lynn's sister also gave a statement, her husband by her side, tearfully exclaiming her sorrow for her brother's actions, and pleading the court to show mercy. Lynn additionally gave a statement, but details in his statement were objected by the state and the judge sustained the objection.
While delivering Lynn's sentence, the Honorable Judge Joseph Booth gave what he said was “the one and only appropriate sentence in this case... life sentence without the possibility of parole.” In addition, Booth said Lynn showed both “cruelty and cowardice... he inflicted on his life and inflicted on his children.”
Lynn was escorted away to serve his sentence immediately after his sentence was handed.