Dateline | May 15, 2013
>>> and it just happens to be the defendant's house.
>> the only verdict this case requires is a verdict of not guilty. thank you.
>> reporter: as the trial came to an end, jeffrey pyne's family hoped and even believed that he would be home for christmas .
>> i thought that we had a real good chance. i thought that the jury would come back with a not guilty verdict .
>> reporter: jeffrey 's aunt susan remained certain he was innocent. what's more, she says, there was just no evidence to convict him.
>> i could not see him doing that and coming away with no evidence. it should have been somewhere. it should have been on him somewhere.
>> the blood?
>> something. is he that good? i mean, really.
>> reporter: as jurors retired to deliberate, they faced three choices -- guilty of first-degree murder, which meant a life sentence . guilty of second-degree murder, which could mean as little as 13 1/2 years, possibly even less. or not guilty.
>> waiting for that verdict was tough. i didn't know what to think.
>> reporter: day one, no verdict. then a second day.
>> you always wonder if the longer they're out, is it the worse for the prosecution.
>> the verdict is reached by the jury. is it --
>> reporter: finally, on the third day came the news. a verdict. the courtroom was hushed.
>> we the jury find the defendant guilty of second-degree murder.
>> i went over to bernie , and i hugged him, and i apologized that i didn't get the job done.
>> a very good closure for us, but at the same point also, you know, sad.
>> there's a dead woman here. and there's a family that's destroyed.
>> reporter: outside in the hallway jeffrey 's father was numb.
>> i wasn't there to protect my wife when i needed to be. and i wasn't able to get my son son -- first of all, i believe in my son's innocence. and i wasn't able to get him home for his sister for christmas.
>> julia broke. and she said, "no, dad, no." and she said that over and over again. the pain that she felt was like nothing she's -- i think that was harder on her than losing her mom.
>> reporter: bernie 's friends, carol and john stako were stunned. she criticized the defense for not calling witnesses. she believed it might have swayed the jury.
>> you know, the prosecution did a great job of building this case about this poor abused child. that wasn't his whole life.
>> that wasn't his whole life.
>> it was a small part of his life.
>> there were good times and there were bad. and you can say that about any household.
>> i don't understand why his attorney did not put people on the stand to testify about the pine household.
>> i have a statement i'd like to read, your honor.
>> reporter: weeks later on sentencing day jeffrey pine spoke up for the first time.
>> i continue and will always maintain my innocence in this crime. i hope and have faith that one day the truth will be made known and i will be acquitted.
>> reporter: and he asked for leniency.
>> i do, however, ask you for compassion in my sentencing. in doing so considering that i have no previous criminal record, no history of violence, that i was a productive member of society.
>> reporter: family members added their pleas for compassion.
>> i am ruth pyne's sister.
>> reporter: believing in jeffrey 's innocence.
>> i feel that this case was not proven beyond a reasonable doubt .
>> i am sure that my son had nothing to do with this but must try to live with the verdict.
>> reporter: jeffrey , so stoic throughout the trial, began to quiver and finally broke down when his father read the judge a letter from his little sister , julia .
>> my name is julia pyne. i am 12 years old. and i am a victim of this crime. i miss my mom, ruth, very much. my brother jeffrey and i are very close, and i miss him very much as well. he is a great big brother , and i ask you to send him home very soon, to me and my dad, because we love him very much.
>> reporter: the judge wasn't swayed.
>> i believe that until jeffrey acknowledges his role in this crime and finds a way to deal with the anger and rage that caused him to do such a horrible act it is not safe for him to be free.
>> reporter: he sentenced jeffrey to 20 to 60 years in prison.
>> this is beyond surreal. i know that jeffrey didn't harm his mother. and yet he sits in prison for a crime he didn't commit.
>> reporter: bernie pyne will proclaim his son's innocence until the day he dies. he's pinning his hopes on an appeal for a new trial.
>> on a daily basis i think about all aspects of this, and it just doesn't make sense.
>> the court stands adjourned.
>> i mourn not only for my wife but my son. it is a pain that doesn't go away. it's a living agony.
>> reporter: jeffrey once told his teacher he wanted to study medicine to find a cure for his mother. he told others that he'd trade places with her if he could. now jeffrey pyne, the one-time valedictorian, will spend at least 20 years behind bars for ending