A Granite City man has been found guilty of murder in connection with the death of a former East Alton woman. 51 year old Brian Pinkas could spend the rest of his life in prison when he is sentenced. Pinkas shot and killed his then girlfriend, Sharon Reynolds, during an argument at the couple's home in 2004. Pinkas claims he didn't know the gun was loaded. The jury returned the verdict after nearly three hours of deliberations.
His defense team says Pinkas called 9-1-1 immediately after the shooting and has cooperated with authorities during the course of the investigation. Madison County Prosecutors argued Pinkas knew what he was doing when he beat, then shot Reynolds to death. Pinkas successfully appealed a 2005 conviction and sentencing to 20 years in prison in the apparent hope a retrial would result in conviction on a lesser charge and less prison time. Instead, he faces a minimum of 45 years in jail, and possibly 85 years when he returns to court for sentencing. Associate Judge James Hackett heard the case this week in Edwardsville.