"It wasn't her case, but [Meredith]'s getting her justice," Hendley, now general manager of the Georgia Force arena football team, told the AJC.
Hilton remains a suspect in at least three other deaths and very likely will be charged in connection with the slayings of John and Irene Bryant, an elderly North Carolina couple who disappeared in October 2007 while hiking in the Pisgah National Forest.
"I think the [Florida] verdict was just and appropriate," son Bob Bryant told the AJC. He declined further comment. Hilton has long been the chief suspect in the Bryants' deaths, and North Carolina authorities are confident they have enough evidence to convict him.
The Florida jury took only an hour Monday to decide Hilton's fate. It's not yet known whether Hilton, who suffers from multiple sclerosis, will appeal the decision.
"There's no doubt [Emerson] stopped a serial killer," Karrenbauer told the AJC. "There's not a lot of comfort that comes from this story other than that."