CHARLEVOIX -- A Charlevoix County jury convicted an East Jordan man of murdering his brother in what officials called one of the longest criminal trials in the county's history.

A jury found Charles "Chuck" Merriman, 58, guilty of second-degree murder in the death of his brother, William Merriman, 53. Jurors reached the verdict Friday morning after deliberations began Wednesday afternoon.

The trial lasted 16 days over almost a month-long period that included 12 days of testimony from about 70 witnesses, Prosecutor John Jarema said.

"I'm very satisfied with the verdict," Jarema said. "I'm thankful that the jury took enough time to go over all of the evidence."

Jarema said his case was complicated because authorities were never able to locate William Merriman's body.

"We had to spend probably a third of the trial just proving that he's missing and dead," Jarema said.

Investigators believe Charles Merriman killed his brother in their parents' East Jordan home in June 2006 after an argument about Charles' 25-year history of unemployment. William threatened to kick Charles out of the home unless he found a job, investigators said.

A friend reported William Merriman missing in September 2006, and authorities found his blood in the home when they searched it the following month. The home was largely empty at the time of the search, and investigators interviewed a sanitation company driver who removed couches, chairs, trash and carpet from the home in July 2006.

That interview led investigators to a Bay County landfill, where they found a cushion from the home stained with the victim's blood.

Sentencing is set for June 6.

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