A Madison County jury, on a 9-3 vote Wednesday, recommended that a former Northview High School student spend the remainder of his life in prison for murdering his wife and son.
A day after Marc Stone's conviction, they listened to additional testimony in the penalty phase of the trial. Afterwards, they chose not to recommend the death penalty, their only other option.
Krista Stone's parents said they accept the jury's recommendation, though with mixed emotions. Understandable, since they not only lost Krista but also their seven year old grandson, Zachary.
“It's tough to see the man you once trusted to take care of your daughter be convicted,” Dave Kowalsky, Krista's dad, told reporters.
Like Marc Stone, Krista also attended school in Dothan, a 1998 graduate of Northside Methodist Academy . She and Stone met at a church related event.
Later, they married and settled in Huntsville, Alabama. Friends say they had a seemingly good life until 2013.
One day that year, Marc Stone began driving aimlessly around Alabama, traveling as far south as Troy. When he returned home, Stone killed Krista and Zachary.
The Kowalsky's are unsure why Marc went into a rage, though defense attorneys claim he became emotionally unstable so they used an insanity defense.
While he murdered Zachary, he didn't harm the Stone's two younger children, both girls, who were home at the time. Instead, he drove them to his parents who live in Leeds, Alabama.
After dropping them off, Marc Stone went to the local police department and told officers he had killed his wife and son.
Kathy Kowalsky, who bears a striking resemblance to her daughter, has advice for others. “Love your family, love your children, and hold (them) dear, spend all the time with loved ones as you can (because) we're not promised tomorrow.”
The judge is not bound by the jury's recommendation. However, if she chooses to accept it, Stone will never be eligible for parole.