Canada

Jury convicts Roy in Alison Parrot murder

Francis Roy has been found guilty of the first-degree murder of 11-year-old Alison Parrott. Roy, 41, faces an automatic life sentence with no parole eligibility for 25 years.

The jury deliberated for six days before returning its verdict.

Outside the courtroom on Toronto's busy University Avenue, Lesley Parrott, Alison's mother met with a crush of reporters. She told them she was relieved the trial was over.

"We never had any doubt that the just and right decision would happen," she said. "We are very grateful to a jury who had to work long and hard, perhaps with not all the information they should have had to come to this decision."

For five days as the jury sifted through the evidence trying make a decision, there were some facts it didn't have. It didn't know Roy had twice been convicted of rape or that both victims were teenagers. And it didn't know one was tricked, abducted and bound, much like Alison.

That evidence was excluded by presiding judge David Watt following established legal precedent.

Lesley Parrott suggests the judge was trying to ensure Roy couldn't appeal a guilty verdict on the grounds the jury was prejudiced by powerful evidence about his past. But she believes it almost resulted in a miscarriage of justice.

Parrott disappeared near Varsity Stadium in downtown Toronto in 1986 after going to a supposed meeting with a photographer. Her body was later discovered in a west-end park. Her killing and the way she was stalked shook the city.

The strongest piece of evidence against Roy was DNA found in the girl's body that matched Roy's. But Roy's lawyer did his best to raise the possibility that police charged the wrong man.

Roy's explanation for the DNA was that he discovered Alison's naked body in a park, then molested her. Roy's lawyer Todd Ducharme told the jury that while what Roy did was admittedly vile and disgusting, he wasn't a murderer.

Roy plans to appeal.