A jury in Saskatchewan has found Tammy Goforth guilty of second-degree murder in the death of a four-year-old girl entrusted to her care in 2012. 

Her partner, Kevin Goforth, was found not guilty of second-degree murder, but guilty of manslaughter in the girl's death. 

The 12-member jury's verdict came in just before 3 p.m. CST Saturday, more than 24 hours after deliberations started.

The couple was also found guilty of causing bodily harm to the girl's two-year-old sister who was also in their care.

Tammy Goforth cries after verdict

Kevin Goforth, wearing a grey shirt and a black tie with a pattern, sat in the packed courtroom with his hands folded in front of his waist, looking towards his family. Tammy Goforth sat beside him, wearing a buttoned-down purple shirt.

Tammy and Kevin Goforth leave the courthouse

Tammy and Kevin Goforth leave the courthouse during a break in the trial earlier this week. (CBC)

Upon hearing the verdicts, supporters of the mother of the four-year-old girl clapped, while supporters of the Goforths sat silently. Justice Ellen Gunn was forced to tell the gallery to be quiet. 

After hearing her guilty verdict, Tammy Goforth broke down and began crying, while her partner tried to console her.

Her conviction means a sentence of life imprisonment, with a chance of parole in 10 to 25 years, as set by the judge after possible jury recommendations. 

The jury doesn't need to make a recommendation on the length of sentence. If it does, the judge will take the recommendation into account.

The defence requested a poll of the jury to learn how many of the 12 came to the guilty verdicts.

All jury members were in agreement that Tammy Goforth was guilty of second-degree murder and Kevin Goforth guilty of manslaughter. There was also unanimous agreement for the causing bodily harm charge.

Emergency hospital trip and initial charges in 2012

The murder charges for the Goforths stem from incidents in the summer of 2012.

The couple rushed the four-year-old girl to a Regina hospital in July of that year.

She arrived in hospital malnourished, dehydrated and injured. She received a brain injury as a result of a heart attack, and was taken off life support two days later, on Aug. 2.

Hours after the Goforths took the four-year-old to hospital, Regina police went to Tammy's mother's home and picked up the girl's younger sister, who was also taken to hospital and treated for malnutrition, dehydration and injuries. The two-year-old survived. 

Both girls were placed in the couple's care in November 2011.

Tammy and Kevin Goforth were initially charged with criminal negligence causing bodily harm when the girls were taken to the hospital.

New charges of manslaughter were laid after the older girl died.

In January 2014, Saskatchewan justice officials stepped in to lay the more serious charges of second-degree murder in the older girl's death, and unlawfully causing bodily harm to the two-year-old. 

The province's Deputy Attorney General and Deputy Minister of Justice, Kevin Fenwick, said that officials decided to upgrade the charges after a preliminary inquiry showed they were more appropriate.

Corrections

  • A previous version of this story said that a sentence of life imprisonment must be more than 10 years but less than 25 years. In fact, a person sentenced to life imprisonment is given a chance of parole in 10 to 25 years, as determined by the judge.
    Feb 07, 2016 9:27 AM CT
With files from CBC's Tory Gillis