BRITISH COLUMBIA

B.C. man convicted again of killing 19-year-old woman found dead in 1993

06/17/2015 12:11 EDT | Updated 06/17/2016 05:59 EDT
KAMLOOPS, B.C. - A man has been convicted of manslaughter for the second time, more than two decades after a 19-year-old woman was found dead in a ditch following a party in Kelowna, B.C.

Jurors began deliberating in Kamloops on Tuesday morning and found Neil Snelson guilty at about 9 p.m. the same day.

Jennifer Cusworth was strangled and struck on the head repeatedly before her body was discovered in 1993, and an investigation led to Snelson being charged in 2009.

"If I'd have been a little weaker I'd have fallen over," said Cusworth's father, Terry Cusworth, after the verdict was announced.

His wife, Jean, who has been at his side through various court proceedings over the years, was unable to be with him Tuesday due to a medical condition.

Cusworth called her immediately after the verdict.

"We got it," he told her.

Cusworth said he is not hoping for a specific sentence for Snelson.

"What Mr. Snelson gets, I believe in spiritual justice," he said. "I think he'll get his spiritual justice later."

A forensic pathologist testified during the trial that Cusworth suffered skull fractures from the blows to her head. Evidence presented by the Crown showed Snelson's DNA matched semen found on Cusworth's body.

A pick-up truck similar to Snelson's was seen by a witness near where Cusworth's body was found. He was questioned by police in 1993, but wasn't charged until detectives revisited the investigation in 2009.

Court heard Snelson and Cusworth were at the same house party the day before her body was discovered.

Snelson successfully appealed a 2011 guilty verdict when B.C.'s highest court found the Crown could not enter a question from police about whether he was ready to plead guilty or innocent.

In the first trial, the Crown said an innocent man would not have had pause to consider that question.

A date for a sentencing hearing has not been set. (Kamloops This Week)