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Jury finds Volusia man guilty of 1st degree murder in death of girlfriend

A jury has found on Thursday the Volusia County man accused of beating and strangling his girlfriend guilty of first-degree murder.

It took six hours for a jury to convict 43-year-old Thomas Prins of first degree murder. He's accused of killing his girlfriend, 28-year-old Crystal Pifer, last August.

"We've been waiting for a long time for it. It's bittersweet. We still lost our daughter and we'll never get her back. It's been a very tough nine months," said Fred Campagnuolo, Pifer's father.

Once the verdict was read, Prins collapsed on the courtroom floor.

The jury listened to several witnesses, including a key witness who called 911 after Pifer jumped from Prins' boat and swam to his, looking for help.

During deliberations, the jury came out once and requested to listen to two 911 calls from that night. They heard one call from the witness and one call from Prins.

"I started getting nervous at the end but I'm just happy. Very happy, so it doesn't happen to somebody else," said Campagnuolo.

A fisherman found Pifer's body in the Halifax River in Port Orange the next morning.

Sentencing has been postponed due to Prins collapsing in court.
 


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