A Vancouver jury convicted Shane Ertmoed of first-degree murder Thursday in the death of 10-year-old Heather Thomas of Surrey.

Ertmoed, 24, now faces a maximum life sentence without parole eligibility for 25 years. The jury deliberated only five hours.

Calling the crime "horrific," Justice Wally Oppal of the B.C. Supreme Court said a first-degree conviction meant the jury believed Ertmoed intended and carried out Heather's murder, along with sexual assault.

After the verdict, Ertmoed told the court there had been a "miscarriage of justice."

"You murdered a 10-year-old child just to satisfy your own sexual desire," responded the judge.

In an earlier confession, Ertmoed said he strangled the young girl and dumped her body in a lake. He later retracted the confession, claiming the RCMP manipulated him.

But the Crown prosecutor urged the jury to convict Ertmoed because in his confession, he appeared to know too many details of the crime.

Heather disappeared Oct. 1, 2000, at her father's suburban Surrey townhouse. Ertmoed lived nearby.

Her body was discovered 21 days later in a lake.