Jurors have ruled in favor of two families who filed a lawsuit against the state following the 2007 shootings at Virginia Tech.
The families of two of the victims -- Erin Peterson and Juila Pryde -- will receive $4 million.
Erin Peterson's father, Grafton Peterson, cried as the verdict was read.
The Peterson and Pryde families sued the state following the April 16, 2007 shootings at Virginia Tech. In all, 33 people were killed in the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
The plaintiffs' attorneys argued, and the jury agreed, that Virginia Tech was negligent in not notifying the rest of campus fast enough after two students were found murdered in a dorm room on the morning of the April 16, 2007. Gunman Seung-Hui Cho went on to kill 30 more people after the early-morning murders, including Peterson and Pryde.
Defense attorneys for Virginia Tech argued that all information indicated that the West Ambler Johnston dorm-room murders were an isolated incident.
Although both families were awarded $4 million, they may not actually receive it. Damages are capped at $100,000 dollars in these types of civil cases. The attorney's for the families suing Virginia Tech are filing a motion to keep that full $4 million dollar award.
Both families came to court looking for truth and some accountability, and both were pleased with the jury's decision.
"If you knew Erin you would know, strength, truth," said Celeste Peterson, the mother of Erin Peterson. "She spoke for other people. She always put herself in a position to speak for people that were too weak to speak for themselves. She couldn't speak anymore, so we had to do it."
Harry Pryde, the father of Julia Pryde said: "It certainly was the end of a long process for us where we just said we wanted to get a little bit more truth. A little bit of accountability and we weren't just going to go away and so we came here and this is what happened."
Lawyers for Virginia Tech say they're going to look over all the details of this case and then make a decision on whether or not to appeal.
"I want to re-iterate our sympathy for the Peterson's and for the Pryde's as well as all of the families who were victimized in this tragedy," said defense attorney William Broaddus. "We are disappointed in the jury's verdict. We believe we demonstrated beyond a question that the crime was committed in Norris Hall was unforeseen and it was unforeseeable."
Judge William Alexander said his heart went out to all the families, and no amount of money could lessen the pain. Alexander said it's the most difficult case he's ever been a part of.
The jury began deliberations Wednesday at 11:42 a.m. and returned to the courtroom with a verdict at 3:07 p.m.
The jury was made up of seven members.
Virginia Tech spokesperson Mark Owczarski wrote in a statement:
"We are disappointed with today’s decision and stand by our long-held position that the administration and law enforcement at Virginia Tech did their absolute best with the information available on April 16, 2007. We do not believe that evidence presented at trial relative to the murders in West Ambler Johnston created an increased danger to the campus that day. We will discuss this matter with the attorney general, carefully review the case, and explore all of the options available.
The heinous crimes committed by Seung-Hui Cho were an unprecedented act of violence that no one could have foreseen. Virginia Tech has always and will continue to put the safety and well being of its students first. The extended Virginia Tech family, particularly those on campus that horrible day, will always remember and honor those we lost."
WDBJ7's Karen Kiley has been following the trial since it began March 5.
She will have more coming up tonight on WDBJ7 at 5 and 6.
A jury of seven is now judging Virgina Tech's actions in the hours leading up to the worst school shooting in American history.
The lawsuit brought by two families of women killed on April 16, 2007 has lasted for more than a week.
We could have a verdict later Wednesday.
This is a civil lawsuit, so a jury of 7 is now deliberating.
They heard closing arguments Wednesday morning.
The lawyers for the families suing Virginia Tech summed up their case first.
They say Virginia Tech failed to notify campus that someone had just shot and killed two people in a dorm room and then fled the scene.
They say that negligence -- not warning anyone of the danger -- led to the deaths of Erin Peterson and Julia Pryde inside Norris Hall later that morning.
The lawyers argue police narrowly focused on one suspect, and didn't consider that theory could be wrong.
Lawyers defending Virginia Tech see the evidence completely differently.
They argue there wasn't any evidence that even if a warning had gone out to campus, that the outcome of that day would be any different.
Defense lawyers also noted that every single police officer on scene that morning thought there was no ongoing threat.
Attorneys say there is no way anyone could have reasonably foreseen what would happen later that day.
It's now up to the jury to decide which side is right.
Jurors have begun deliberations.