A jury has found Thomas Brine guilty of first-degree murder in the death of 73 year old Elizabeth Lafantaisie.
It took the jury of nine men and three women less than three hours to reach the guilty verdict Wednesday afternoon.
Lafantaisie was brutally sexually assaulted and strangled five years ago. Her body was found in the trunk of her own car on February 18.2011.
Lafantaisie’s family has filled the court room throughout the six day trial, sometimes crying as graphic details about the murder were revealed.
“We were cheated out of so many years without her,” Lafantaisie’s daughter, Anna Maynard told reporters following the verdict.
“At least this process is done, but the pain is there.”
Brine, 29, was later arrested, but only told police that he stole Lafantaisie’s car from her apartment parkade.
Lafantaise’s family and Brine’s were both in tears, but Brine showed no emotion as the verdict was read out.
“She was always a happy person, smiles everytime you’d greet her, she’d always have a smile,” Maynard said.
“Always happy to see everyone of us whether it was her children, her nephews, her grandchildren – it didn’t matter, she always had that loving smile.”
A key piece of evidence was sperm found on an internal swab taken from Lafantaisie. An RCMP forensics officer testified the DNA extracted from it matched Brine’s DNA and there was a 1 in 18 trillion chance it would belong to someone else in Canada.
Brine is expected to serve a life sentence without a chance at parole for 25 years.
Family members of Lafantaisie will have a chance to speak to Brine directly through victim impact statements at his formal sentencing Thursday morning.