HEBER CITY (ABC4 -Utah) – After 21 years of hiding from the law, Joseph Simpson was found guilty of murdering a 17-year-old.
For nearly two decades, the murder of 17-year-old Krystal Beslanowitch remained unsolved. That is until DNA pointed the finger at a suspect in 2013.
It took three years of legal wrangling for the Wasatch County attorney to bring Simpson to trial. It resulted in a nearly 10-day trial. But Thursday the outcome was swift. It took jurors a little over two hours to find him guilty.
Beslanowitch was from Washington state. No members of her family were present Thursday. Denine Sullivan was in court watching as the verdict came down. She closed her eyes and covered them up with her hands as the verdict was read.
“I was elated,”.” said Sullivan. “Relieved, finally justice was served finally.”
In 1987, she had a relationship with Paul Helminger resulting in a daughter. But he was murdered by Simpson. He served seven years in prison for stabbing him 14 times.
“(The pain) is still there,” she said. (This trial) opened it up. It’s going to take quite a while.”
The trial involving the 17-year-old teen’s murder hinged on DNA found on her body and at the crime scene.
In 1995, her body was found along the Provo River in Wasatch County. Investigators also found Simpson’s DNA on a rock at the river. They claim the rock was used to kill the teen.
Simpson’s attorney tried to cast doubt on the DNA. They claimed because Beslanowitch was a prostitute other men’s DNA was found on her body. And they also argued someone else’s DNA was found on the rock. Prosecutors maintained that other DNA was just a trace and difficult to process.
Simpson will return to court Friday for sentencing. He’s facing life in prison with a chance at parole or live in prison without parole.
Sullivan said she will get an opportunity to speak at his sentencing.
“I want them to know the pain he’s caused my daughter and I,” she said. “She grew up without a father because of him.”