SACRAMENTO COUNTY, Calif. — After 40 years of waiting for justice, the family and friends of Robin Brooks have found it.
On Wednesday, a jury found Phillip Lee Wilson guilty in the murder and special circumstance of rape of a Sacramento County woman.
"I'm so happy that she finally got justice," said Deanna Forrester, the victim's childhood friend.
Closing arguments for the trial started on March 4 with jury deliberations starting not long afterward.
Wilson, the man at the center of the case, was arrested in 2020 after genetic genealogy testing led detectives to him. DNA in the form of semen and blood from the crime scene was used to help detectives.
Public Defender Thomas Clinkenbeard argued that Wilson had a consensual relationship with Brooks and someone else killed her, pointing to a man named Norbert Holston, who is no longer alive. At the time of Brooks' death, Holston was the boyfriend of her sister Maria at the time.
The guilty verdict from the jury came Wednesday afternoon, which also happens to be Wilson's birthday.
"There is justice in the world, and he will spend all his birthdays now in prison. I wish we found him earlier, but finally, justice has been done," said Micki Links, the main detective on the cold case.
Brooks' family and friends waited in the courtroom. Her sister has been in the courtroom every day since the trial began, even testifying during the trial.
"I feel like I can go on with my life now. I think it absorbed a piece of who I was," Maria Arrick said.
"I feel good that this gives other people hope in the future that justice can be served even after 42 years," she added.