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Jury deliberations underway in Guelph first-degree murder trial

Surveillance footage shows the shooter outside the front entrance of the Comfort Inn, moments after Aly Sunderani was shot and killed on March 1, 2016. Supplied

The fate of a man accused of first-degree murder in Guelph is now in the hands of a jury, after they received their final instructions on Wednesday afternoon.

Raja Dosanjh has pleaded not guilty to the March 1, 2016, fatal shooting of a hotel manager in broad daylight.

Aly Sunderani was gunned down outside the front entrance of the Comfort Inn on Silvercreek Parkway North as he stepped out of his black Range Rover.

He suffered at least 12 gunshot wounds to his chest, arms and stomach, and was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Sunderani was 35 years old.

READ MORE: Guelph murder trial involving shooting of hotel manager hears closing arguments

The murder weapon, a Sterling nine-millimetre sub-machine gun with a suppressor, was dropped by the shooter as he fled in the scene in a black Infinity QX60 SUV.

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Dosanjh was arrested 10 months later by the RCMP in British Columbia.

Court heard evidence that Dosanjh’s DNA was found on the weapon and the SUV was rented by him in Mississauga.

Defence lawyers argued that Dosanjh was at his brother-in-law’s house on the day of the shooting. According to that relative’s testimony, two tall white men borrowed the SUV from Dosanjh to traffick marijuana that day.

Dosanjh’s lawyer also argued that the 26-year-old’s DNA could have innocently been transferred from one item and onto the weapon. The defence also pointed out that DNA on the weapon does not prove Dosanjh shot Sunderani.

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During their closing arguments, the Crown asked the jury to ignore the brother-in-law’s testimony, describing it as untruthful.

They also added the DNA found on the gun was 3.7 million times more likely to have originated from Dosanjh and two unknown people than to have originated from three unknown people.

A motive has never been clearly established during the trial.

After five weeks of testimony from over 50 witnesses — but not Dosanjh, who chose not to testify — the jury panel of six men and six women received their final instructions from Superior Court Justice Gordon Lemon.

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Lemon urged the jury to look at all of the evidence as a whole and work together to come to a unanimous decision.

He told the jury that if they were satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that Dosanjh shot Sunderani, they must find him guilty.

READ MORE: Guelph man accused of killing his mother makes court appearance

A first-degree murder conviction carries a mandatory term of life in person with no chance at parole for 25 years.

The jury began their deliberations at around 3:30 p.m. before wrapping up for the day at 8:30 p.m.

They are expected to return to their deliberations at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday.

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