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Man Guilty Of Murder In Death Of 'Gentle Giant'

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A jury has found a 21-year-old man guilty of first-degree murder of Kenneth Mark, who the Crown had argued was killed because he broke a so-called code of silence.

Lamar Skeete was found guilty on Friday evening.

After the verdict, emotional family members, including Mark's mother Maureen, hugged and congratulated the Crown's legal team outside the courthouse. She said Ken can rest in peace now that justice has been served.

"Peace for the family, justice for Ken and justice for the community," his brother Shawn said.

Mark, 29, an activist known as a 'gentle giant' in his west-end community, was gunned down in late 2009.

Police said shortly after the killing that Mark had likely died because of anti-gang activism. During the trial the jury heard testimony that Mark was afraid of being labelled a snitch.

Meanwhile, the defence had argued there was not enough evidence to convict Skeete.

Mark was known in the community for chasing away gang members trying to recruit youth and had been shot in the neck with a pellet gun 18 months before his death, his family has said. They described him as a hard worker and respected community member who had never run into trouble with the law.

Mark was on his way to work at about 9:45 p.m. one night in late December 2009, when he stopped into a pizza parlour on Dundas Street near Runnymede Road, in the Junction neighbourhood. He left the pizzeria to head to the Wal-Mart outlet where he was a night manager, and put on headphones to listen to music while he walked, police said.

He was shot execution-style in the back of the head.

The jury had been deliberating since Tuesday afternoon.

Skeete's sentencing is scheduled for April 17.