- Associated Press - Friday, February 13, 2015

PRESCOTT, Ariz. (AP) - A North Carolina man was convicted of first-degree murder for killing the husband of his Arizona lover and dumping his body at a New Mexico airport.

Marzet Farris III, 50, left the husband’s body in a van in a parking garage at Albuquerque International Sunport in June 2011, authorities said. He then caught a flight to his home near Raleigh, North Carolina, where Laura Jeanne Stelmasek, 48, joined him shortly afterward. They were arrested there a few days later.

Stelmasek will be tried separately in the stabbing death of Craig Stelmasek at their Prescott home.

A Yavapai County Superior Court jury also convicted Farris on Thursday of conspiracy, tampering with evidence and concealing a dead body, The Daily Courier reported (https://goo.gl/ycKMro ).

Farris III had sent numerous emails and texts promising to take part in the killing, but he contended during his trial that he never intended to follow through.

He testified that he was just stalling until he could figure out a way to get Laura Stelmasek out of an abusive relationship before she killed her husband or herself.

Farris said he arrived to find Laura Stelmasek stabbing her husband and that he tried unsuccessfully to stop her and save Craig Stelmasek.

Prosecutor Susan Eazer said Farris’ testimony may have hurt his case.

“It was clear he was not truthful,” she said.

Defense attorney David Shapiro said the verdict did not surprise him. Jurors probably couldn’t ignore the emails and “certain conduct,” Shapiro said.

Laura Stelmasek’s defense lawyer, Craig Williams, watched Farris’ trial, including the prosecutor’s presentation. Eazer said she won’t do anything different when Stelmasek goes on trial.

Williams “has an advantage - he’s going to be well-prepared,” she said.

Farris’ sentencing was set for March 16.

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