MOUNT CLEMENS, Mich. -

Stephen Grant has been convicted of second-degree murder for killing and dismembering his wife, Tara. The second-degree conviction means the jury decided the murder was not premeditated.

That same man tearfully stood before TV cameras and repeatedly denied any involvement in his wife's disappearance, then slipped away to Michigan's remote northern wilderness as police searching his home found her torso, was found guilty Friday of killing her.

Local 4's Hank Winchester Blogs From The Courthouse

Grant looked intently at the jury as the verdict was read, but displayed no outward emotion.

His sister and Tara Grant's sister also showed little emotion when the decision came down Friday afternoon.

Local 4 reported the jurors did not make eye contact with Grant as the judge read the verdict.

Grant faces life in prison but could be eligible for parole.

Tara Grant's sister, Alicia Standerfer, addressed the media after the verdict was reached.

"Obviously, if we would have come back as first degree, we would never have to think of it again," said Standerfer.

"We thank God a portion of this nightmare is complete with the conviction of Stephen Grant."

Prosecutors were seeking a first-degree murder conviction, which carries a mandatory sentence of life without the possibility of parole.

"From day one I thought it was first-degree murder and there is nothing in this trial that has made me change my mind," Macomb County Prosecutor who tried the case, Eric Smith said in a news conference after the verdict was reached.

The jury of six men and six women deliberated over three days.

Prosecutor Smith told the media it is hard to get 12 people to come together and agree on anything.

"Jurors are like snow flakes, 12 people from 12 walks of life," said Smith. Sentencing is set for Feb. 21.

"It was one of the most difficult and emotional cases that one can imagine," defense lawyer Stephen Rabaut said afterward in thanking the jury for their effort.

Smith, who tried the case, said he will ask the judge to exceed the sentencing guidelines and send Grant to prison for the rest of his life.

"I think there is premeditation all over this case," Smith said.

"I really thought up until the jury said `guilty of second-degree murder' that it was going to be first-degree murder," he said.

Surrounded by family members who were red-eyed from crying, Tara Grant's sister, Alicia Standerfer, said following the verdict: "The cold blooded murder of Tara Grant, my sister, has altered my family forever. Even though with the second degree murder, justice was still served."

She characterized her sister as a wonderful mother and a loving wife who did everything in her power to provide for her family.

"There is no doubt my sister's life was taken due to domestic violence," Standerfer said, adding that her sister also suffered from emotional and mental abuse.

Later, she broke down in tears while discussing the jury's verdict.

"If it had come back with first degree we would never have to think about it again," Standerfer said. "Am I happy with the verdict? No, but those 12 people did the best they could."

Kelly Utykanski, Stephen Grant's sister, said her family members are satisfied with the verdict. "We felt manslaughter would have been a slap on the wrist," she said, adding that she never discussed the case with her brother.