ab_beauchamp

Jack Beauchamp was found dead in his downtown office in January 2006.

It took a Calgary jury five days to convict two men of first-degree murderin the contract killing of businessman Jack Beauchamp.

After a six-week trial, the jury on Sunday found Robert Deer, 54, and Mohamed Karim, 25, guilty. They were sentenced to a mandatory term of life in prison with no parole for at least 25 years.

The verdict brought cheers from the victim's friends and family in the Calgary courtroom.

"My husband is gone, my children's father is gone. We miss him every day in our lives and we cherish the memories we have, but we must try to look forward," Debra Beauchamp said to reporters.

Those closest to Beauchamp, 49, have been waiting almost two years for a verdict. The financier was shot six times and found dead in his downtown office in January 2006.

The Crown argued that the shooting resulted from a failed $1.2-million mortgage deal. When Beauchamp pursued his $18,000 fee, Deer hired Karim to kill the financier, the jury was told.

The jury heard of threatening e-mails and phone calls Deer made to Beauchamp, as well as a deposit of $1,000 into Karim's bank account two days after the shooting.

Deer told the jury he only asked his former employee to scare Beauchamp and didn't know Karim was armed.

Karim testified in his defence that he planned to frighten the president of Morbank Financial, but panicked when Beauchamp rushed at him.

Karim's lawyer, Naeem Rauf, said he plans to appeal, insisting there was no evidence of a contract killing.

Alain Hepner, Deer's lawyer, said he will decide on an appeal in a few days.