For the first time, we're hearing from some of the jurors from the Julie Schenecker double murder trial.

A judge sentenced Julie Schenecker Thursday to life in prison.

A jury found the New Tampa mother guilty on two counts of first-degree murder in the January 2011 deaths of her two teenage children, 16-year-old Calyx and 13-year-old Beau.

Judge Emmett L. Battles sentenced her to life in prison without parole on both counts.

Foreman Charles Madison started deliberations.

“I said the first thing I want to do is take a vote to see where we stand. The first vote was 11 to 1,” said Madison.
One man believed Schenecker was insane when she shot and killed her kids. Fellow juror Trent Lawhon said it took an hour and a half to change that juror’s mind.
“As soon as we walked in there the one guy was on the fence. He said we’re gonna discuss this,” Lawhon said. “Everybody else says we can sit here for a day or four weeks. You’re not gonna convince 11 other people she’s innocent.”
How did they do it? Lawhon said they went over all the evidence methodically. He said Schenecker’s “tell all” journal, sealed the deal.
“Whenever you start writing a journal out about what you’re going to do and how you’re going to do it…you can’t say you’re crazy,” Lawhon said.
Lawhon said seeing Schenecker’s impromptu speech at her sentencing Thursday just reaffirmed Schenecker knew what she did was wrong and they got the right verdict.

Still, jurors said putting someone away for life no matter how evil will stay with them forever.
“It just made me sick. We’re going to put her away. I hope… they actually evaluate her more instead of just locking the door and throwing away the key,” said John Hart, a juror.
“When I had to sign the verdict, ah man, this is real,” Madison said. “But I said to myself if it had gone the other way, that I couldn’t live with for the rest of my life. This I can live with.”

In a message sent to Bay News 9, Juror #8 said, "I feel so sick to my stomach from this whole tragic event. I feel like i need to talk with someone or maybe just need a few days to unwind."

The juror went on to say that he felt sympathy for Schenecker only because of her mental illness.

"The killing of her children will impact me for life! But that doesnt excuse her for that! I have an 11 year old daughter, and could not imagine the pain Parker is going through. My heart goes out to both families, especially Parker, who's family has been taken from him," said the juror.

The jury deliberated for about two hours before issuing its verdict.

Schenecker: 'I know our children are in Heaven'

Schenecker addressed the judge after the verdict was read.

"Your honor, I’m prepared and I accept your sentence," she said. "I apologize to everybody in this courtroom who I have broken. The lives I have destroyed. I hope that they can collect themselves as best as possible. All of us...

"Everyone has been so deeply affected and I understand there are people who are affected by this, that may have just read in the paper, maybe a child who looked at their mommy and said 'mommy are you ever going to shoot me?' I know that this could have happened and I apologize for what happened, what I did. I take responsibility. I was there. I know, I know I shot my son and daughter. I don’t know why, but I have a period of time to try and understand that...

“I know our children are in Heaven, I want people to try and find comfort in believing as I do that they are in no pain, and they are alive and enjoying everything and anything Heaven has to offer--Jesus protecting them and keeping them safe until we get there. Their loved ones, all of us, to join them.”

The judge responded by saying, "it's almost too much to comprehend what brings us here. Regrettably there is nothing that this court can so or do that is going to bring comfort to those that have been touched by this tragedy."

Col. Parker Schenecker, Julie's former husband and the father of the slain children, also addressed the media after the sentence was read.

"First of all I would like to thank the greater Tampa Bay community for their love and support of Calyx and Beau over past three years. It's been a trying time for all of us and you have continued to show us your kindness...

"Today's decision for many reasons gives my family a great sense of relief. As I've consistently mentioned over the past three years, the most important thing in all of this is Calyx and Beau: my lovely children. My smart, beautiful, loved and missed daughter and son. Giving voice to them has been my priority throughout this entire process. And their voices have been heard due to the efforts of many...

"While this decision doesn't bring my children back, it does give our family a chance to move forward."

Prosecutors present the jury with hard evidence

James Pruner spent his closing arguments going over previous evidence introduced in court. Still, he meticulously and emphatically went through Schenecker's movements in the days before and of the killings.

"The overwhelming evidence I suggest to you," Pruner said to the jury. "Proves beyond a reasonable doubt that this defendant committed first-degree premeditated murder."

Defense attorney Jennifer Spradley spent more than an hour telling jurors of Julie Schenecker's descent into the "claws of bi-polar illness."

"In this case, what your focus is going to be is my client's state of mind because this is not a who done it, this is not a what happened, this is not a cause of death, a self defense," Spradley told the jury. "This is my client's state of mind."

In closing, Spradley asked the jury to find her client not guilty by reason of insanity, taking into consideration her mental illness and psychosis.

"A healthy Julie Schenecker would have never shot her children," she told the jury.

In his rebuttal, Pruner said the entry "the evil starts Thursday" Schenecker wrote in her journal shows she knew what she was doing was wrong.

Schenecker's fate hinged on whether jurors believed she knew what she was doing when the teenagers were shot. Since being convicted of first-degree murder, Julie Schenecker will receive a life sentence, since prosecutors chose not to seek the death penalty.

To be found criminally insane under Florida law, a jury would have to find that either didn't know what she was doing when she killed her children or didn't understood that it was wrong.