Ronald McMullen will be sentenced in December
On Wednesday, jurors in Oklahoma convicted a 45-year-old father in the 2017 death of his ex-cheerleader daughter, whom he’d initially claimed accidentally shot herself in the face.
A Cleveland County Court official tells PEOPLE the jury deliberated for nearly four hours before returning the guilty verdict against Ronald Lee McMullen Jr., of Norman, of the first-degree murder of 22-year-old Kailee McMullen.
McMullen now faces life imprisonment when he’s sentenced in December.Jurors have recommended a sentence of life without the possibility for parole be imposed.
The final decision on his punishment rests with Judge Thad Balkman.
“When the verdict was read in open court, Karen, the defendant’s wife and the victim’s mother, broke out in tears and sobbed uncontrollably,” the court official tells PEOPLE.
McMullen’s trial lasted nearly two weeks.
First responders were summoned to the McMullen home on June 29, 2017, pronouncing Kailee dead at the scene.
McMullen, who refused to submit to a polygraph examination, claimed his daughter shot herself while playing with a loaded gun.
Kailee, a 2013 graduate of Norman North High School, was co-captain of the school’s varsity cheerleading squad.
In the months before her death, police allege she told friends she was molested by her father.
An affidavit against McMullen further alleges Kailee’s father touched his daughter inappropriately in 2007, when she was 14, but that charges were never filed.
• Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.
It was unclear Thursday if McMullen intended to appeal his conviction.
Efforts to reach Kailee’s mother were unsuccessful.