Calgary

Kristopher Guenther found guilty of murdering Lacey Jones Mcknight

Kristopher Guenther has been found guilty of first-degree murder in the death of his former fiancée Lacey Jones Mcknight.

Calgary man strangled ex-fiancée in October 2012

Kristopher Guenther has been found guilty of first-degree murder in the death of Lacey Jones Mcknight in 2012. (Facebook)

There were audible sobs in a Calgary courtroom this morning as Kristopher Guenther was found guilty of first-degree-murder for killing his former fiancée.

Lacey Jones Mcknight was strangled on Oct. 25, 2012, after she and Guenther got into an argument when she discovered he was cheating on her.

Lacey Jones Mcknight's mother went to visit her grave after the verdict came down Friday. (CBC)

Justice Allan Macleod read his decision Friday morning to a courtroom packed with the victim’s friends and family.

Guenther admitted to killing Jones Mcknight, but the issue was whether he forcibly confined her during the act, making it first-degree murder.

The court heard the 32-year-old had confined Jones Mcknight during the murder by taping her hands, feet and mouth and putting a plastic bag over her head.

His lawyer argued the evidence of confinement — tape and rope found on her body and in his car — was used for consensual sex.

Macleod said he didn't believe Guenther's version of events, calling his testimony "contrived." Parts of Guenther's story were "absolutely ludicrous," according to Macleod.

Family members attend grave

Outside the courtroom, the victim's mother described her mood as "exuberant."

A group, which included her mother and close friends, have spent the last two years fighting for justice in Lacey Jones Mcknight's death. (CBC)

Shelly Jones had been fighting for the first-degree murder charge against Guenther. It was upgraded from second-degree murder a year after her death.

Jones has also filed a complaint with Calgary's police commission, claiming officers did not follow proper domestic violence protocols. She was told the complaint would be dealt with after the trial wrapped up.

Family and friends gathered at Jones Mcknight's grave Friday afternoon after the verdict came down. 

A first-degree murder conviction comes with an automatic life sentence with no chance of parole for at least 25 years.

A sentencing date will be set in April so that victim impact statements can be prepared.

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