Chaze Lamar Thompson has been found guilty of first-degree murder in the 2009 shooting death of Dartmouth taxi driver Sergei Kostin.
The conviction for Thompson, 22, carries an automatic life sentence before he can apply for parole in 25 years.
Thompson showed no emotion as the seven men and five women of the jury delivered their verdict just after 3 p.m. AT on Thursday at Nova Scotia Supreme Court in Halifax.
His mother buried her face in her arm and was audibly sobbing from the back of the courtroom. She later broke down at the entrance to the courtroom and cried, "No. No. No, give me my baby."
A friend of Kostin — a long-time driver who moved to Canada from Ukraine — also sobbed as the verdict was read.
Justice Glen MacDougall sequestered the jury Wednesday night after it spent nearly three hours deliberating. Court reconvened just after 9:30 a.m. on Thursday.
The jury's had three possible verdicts to consider: guilty of first-degree murder, guilty of second-degree murder or not guilty.
During the trial — which started Sept. 10 — the Crown called the only witnesses.
They argued not only did Thompson plan to kill Kostin — who disappeared on the afternoon of Jan. 17, 2009 after picking up two young black men at Gaston Road Variety in Dartmouth — Thompson then attempted to cover his tracks by cleaning the sawed-off rifle he used to shoot Kostin in the head, as well as burn the blood-stained clothes and set fire to Kostin's cab.
But the defence said the Crown had placed the weight of the entire case on the testimony of Wayne McAvoy, a cousin of Thompson's, who was given immunity from prosecution.
McAvoy told the court that on that day in January 2009, the pair got into Kostin's cab in Dartmouth headed for Cherry Brook. McAvoy was in front, Thompson in the back.
McAvoy told the court that when Kostin told them the fare, he could hear clicking from the back seat where Thompson was sitting. Then he heard a gun shot.
He described Kostin slumped forward, a bullet wound in the back of his head.
Kostin's burned out vehicle was found a few days later in woods in North Preston and his body was discovered that spring near Upper Governor Street in the same community.
Kostin had no family in the Halifax area — his wife and other relatives live in his native Ukraine — and he was a driver for Bob's Taxi for about 10 years.
Thompson was charged in January 2010, almost a year after Kostin was first reported missing.
In all, the crown called 20 witnesses while the defence offered no evidence during the trial.