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Jurors convict man who died before trial ended

CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wis. (AP) — Jurors in Chippewa County have convicted a man who died before the verdict was announced.

A jury found 37-year-old Jamie Llerena guilty of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl in 2012. The jury did not know at the time that Llerena had been found dead in an apparent suicide at a Lake Hallie home earlier that day.

Llerena attended the first day of his trial Wednesday, which continued the following day despite his absence.

Court personnel were privately notified of Llerena’s death after the defense made its closing arguments. Chippewa County Assistant District Attorney Wade Newell says he didn’t want jurors to know of the defendant’s death so the victim and her family could have closure.

Judge James Isaacson informed the jury following the verdict that Llerena had died.

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