A jury has convicted Anas Mujber of second-degree murder in the April 2019 fatal shooting of Emilio Jimenez, following a seven-week long trial.
The Edmonton man had admitted shooting Jimenez outside of a downtown Ottawa strip club in the early morning hours of April 18, 2019, but he didn't intend to kill the 25-year-old man, his lawyers told the jury during the murder trial.
On Friday afternoon, that jury — minus one member — convicted Mujber.
Crown prosecutors Jon Fuller and Kerry McVey told the court that Mujber stepped out of a Range Rover on the morning of April 18 and shot Jimenez three times at close range outside of York Street's Barefax Gentlemen's Club.
"That was the end of Emilio Jimenez's life," Fuller said in his opening address to the court.
Jimenez was pronounced dead an hour later in hospital after "fruitless" efforts to save him.
Mujber's admission that he pulled the trigger meant it was left up to the jury to decide what he intended to do at the time of the shooting.
"It will be about the choices that Mr. Mujber made to arm himself and the choices he made to end Emilio's life," Fuller told the court.
Jimenez and Mujber were both partying at the strip club with separate groups of friends before the shooting.
Video footage played at the trial showed Mujber leaving the club and sitting inside a parked SUV. Just six minutes later, Jimenez made his way outside to join his friends, who were standing with some of Mujber's friends.
A fight broke out between the two groups and at some point Jimenez was punched, the court was told. As Jimenez moved to flee the attack, Mujber appeared within seconds between two parked cars and began shooting.
Accused fled while victim bled
Security video showed Mujber get back into the vehicle and flee the scene, while Jimenez bled on the ground.
Responding police officers began pursuing the Range Rover, eventually finding it ditched while the occupants fled on foot. Police gave chase and arrested Mujber.
The next morning, a Good Samaritan on his way to get breakfast found a Tauarus 9-mm handgun thrown on the grass along the route Mujber took to flee the scene.
Forensic testing revealed the gun had Mujber's DNA on it and matched shell casings found at the scene.
Defence argued it was manslaughter, not murder
Defence lawyers Mark Ertel and Sarah Ahsan argued instead that Mujber's actions were consistent with manslaughter. They told the jury he had diminished capacity from alcohol and drug consumption, which prevented him from being able to form the necessary intent to commit murder. He was reacting to quickly evolving events and with a group of criminally involved friends, they argued.
Ahead of Friday's verdict, a single juror was dismissed by the judge after revealing researching types of culpable homicide and making a case to convict on a charge that wasn't available to the jury.
Superior Court Justice Ronald Laliberté spent Thursday afternoon instructing the jury on how to apply the law as written to the facts of the case they were trying. That instruction did not include the option to convict Mujber of first-degree murder.
The dismissed juror had told other jury members that Mujber ought to be convicted of first-degree murder because he was acting on behalf of a criminal organization. No evidence showing that was presented during the trial.
Mujber awaits sentencing. A second-degree murder conviction carries with it an automatic sentence of life imprisonment. Laliberté will decide on the length of time before Mujber would be eligible for parole. No sentencing date has been set.