Clara Jane Schwartz was convicted Tuesday of orchestrating the murder of her father, biophysicist Robert Schwartz, who was stabbed to death last December in his Leesburg, Va., home.
The Loudoun County Circuit Court jury recommended that Clara Schwartz, 20, spend 48 years in prison.
After five days of testimony, the jurors deliberated about four hours before finding her guilty of first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder and two counts of solicitation to commit murder. Three of her friends, said to share her fascination with the occult, are also charged in his death and awaiting trial.
Defense attorney Corinne Magee said she would appeal the verdict. Judge Thomas Horne scheduled sentencing for Jan. 21.
Clara Schwartz did not testify at her trial. Her attorneys portrayed her as a troubled young woman who constructed an elaborate fantasy world that her friends, including Kyle Hulbert, whose signed confession in the murder was read to the jury -- twisted and misinterpreted.
But prosecutors contended that Clara Schwartz harbored a longstanding hatred for her father, telling friends he was abusive and seeking out two young men in succession to kill her father, ultimately persuading one of them to do it.
According to the confession, Clara Schwartz was at James Madison University the night of Dec. 8 when Hulbert, 18, and two other friends -- Katherine Inglis, 19, and Michael Pfohl, 21 -- went to Robert Schwartz's isolated Loudoun County farmhouse. Hulbert told detectives that he went inside alone and slashed and stabbed Schwartz with a 27-inch sword.
In closing arguments, prosecutors said that Schwartz knew about Hulbert's plan and helped him carry it out -- reminding jurors that he said she had sent him a $60 check through overnight delivery and told him to buy buy gloves and a "do-rag" so he wouldn't leave behind hair or fingerprints as evidence.
A former boyfriend, Patrick House, testified that Clara Schwartz once asked him to kill her father.
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