UPDATE 3:35 p.m.
A 33-year-old man accused of killing a 13-year-old girl discovered dead in a Burnaby park more than six years ago has been found guilty of first-degree murder.
The jury returned with its verdict Friday afternoon in the trial of Ibrahim Ali, who was charged in September 2018 with the death of the girl, whose half-naked body was found in the forest in Central Park just after 1 a.m. on July 19, 2017, less than two hours after her mother reported her missing.
The girl cannot be identified because of a publication ban.
Gasps could be heard in the gallery in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver when Justice Lance Bernard announced the jury had reached a verdict just minutes after he had given them "clearer definitions" of murder and manslaughter.
The jury had asked for the clarification Thursday evening after Bernard's final instructions to the jury.
The jury's verdict shows jurors accepted the Crown’s theory that Ali had pulled the girl off a secondary path at Central Park and strangled her to death in the forest while sexually assaulting her.
Ali's sperm was found in the girl's vagina and anus, according to DNA witnesses who testified at the eight-month trial.
But jurors rejected the defence's explanation that Ali and the girl had had sex somewhere outside of the park and someone else had later killed her and dumped her body in the park.
ORIGINAL 6 a.m.
A jury is resuming deliberations today in the case of Ibrahim Ali, whose marathon first-degree murder trial in B.C. Supreme Court wrapped up Thursday.
Ali is accused of murdering a 13-year-old girl in a Burnaby park more than six years ago.
The closing stages of the eight-month trial this week heard that Ali's defence team had been receiving threats over the case, with lawyer Kevin McCullough reading out one that said his family faced "a violent and brutal death" before Christmas.
Those claims were heard Tuesday without the jurors present and can only now be reported after they retired to consider their verdict late Thursday.
In his instructions to the jury, Justice Lance Bernard told jurors the case against Ali is circumstantial, requiring them to infer that Ali raped and strangled the girl in Burnaby's Central Park in July 2017.
Bernard said Ali's lawyers argued in the alternative that there could be an "innocent explanation" for semen matching Ali's DNA being found inside the girl as a result of an earlier encounter, and someone else later killed her and dumped the body in the park.
The girl can't be named due to a publication ban.
The Canadian Press