A Winnipeg jury has found Daniel Jensen guilty of first-degree murder in the stabbing death of three-year-old Hunter Smith-Straight.
The jury came back with a verdict in the case at about 8:30 p.m. Wednesday.
While there was lots of hugging and crying in the courtroom after the guilty verdict was read, Hunter’s family declined to comment. There was also no comment from Crown or defense lawyers in the immediate aftermath.
Sentencing will begin Friday at 10 a.m., Crown attorneys confirmed to Global News. First-degree murder carries an automatic life sentence with no possibility of parole for 25 years.
The decision comes after more than two weeks of testimony in the first-degree murder trial, nearly two years after the toddler’s death.
Hunter was stabbed multiple times in the head and neck while sleeping in his Pritchard Avenue home on Oct. 30, 2019.
He was rushed to hospital and taken off life-support three days later.
The night Hunter was stabbed, his mother Clarice Smith told Jensen she was leaving him. Crown attorneys told the court Jensen killed the child to get back at her in the cruellest way possible, adding the core of the case is domestic abuse.
The Crown’s arguments were supported by witness testimony, DNA evidence and surveillance footage presented in court, pointing to Jensen as the killer.
Jensen’s defence team, however, argued the case was largely circumstantial as no one saw him attack the boy.