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Ibrahim Ali found guilty of killing 13-year-old girl in B.C.

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Warning: This story contains graphic details.

A jury has found Ibrahim Ali guilty of killing a 13-year-old girl whose body was found in a Burnaby, B.C., park in 2017.

Friday's decision comes less than 24 hours after the jury began deliberations.

Sobbing and gasps could be heard from the gallery in the packed court room, while Ali, dressed in a navy blue sweat suit, stared straight ahead and showed no emotion as he learned his fate.

Earlier in the day, Ali stood up and tried to address the judge, saying he didn’t kill or sexually assault the girl.

Justice Lance Bernard ignored the pleas, and Ali’s lawyers told him to sit down. 

The trial lasted for eight months and Ali's lawyers did not introduce any evidence or call any witnesses, instead arguing that the Crown had failed to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt.

The Crown told the court that Ali sexually assaulted the girl before strangling her to death.

Ali was convicted of first-degree murder, a charge that carries an automatic sentence of life in prison with no eligibility for parole for 25 years.

The girl cannot be named due to a publication ban.

When instructing the jury on Thursday, Justice Lance Bernard told members the Crown's case was circumstantial, requiring them to infer as the only reasonable conclusion that Ali forced the girl off a path and into a wooded area in Burnaby's Central Park, where he raped and fatally strangled her in July 2017.

Bernard said Ali's lawyers, meanwhile, argued that semen inside the girl's body that matched Ali's DNA could have been the result of an earlier encounter with an “innocent explanation” and Ali isn't the person who killed her and dumped her body in the park.

Jurors had the option of finding Ali guilty of first-degree murder, guilty of a lesser charge of either second-degree murder or manslaughter, or not guilty.

After it was instructed Thursday, the jury asked the court for clarification on the definitions of the various offences and the distinctions between them.

A sentencing hearing will be scheduled at a later date.

With files from The Canadian Press

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