A jury deliberated Wednesday for just five hours before finding the 24-year-old boyfriend of CJ Fowler guilty of murder in her December 2012 death in Kamloops.
The 11 jurors found Damien Taylor guilty of second-degree murder, which carries with it a life sentence.
They did not recommend a minimum time that Taylor must serve in jail before he may be paroled, something that will be decided later by BC Supreme Court Justice Dev Dley after a sentencing hearing.
The 16-year-old girl was found dead in the Guerin Creek area on Dec. 12, 2012, with a concrete chunk on her chest.
A pathologist testified she choked to death when her tongue became trapped in her airway, the result of at least one blow to her head and face.
“I want to scream so loud and cry at the same time,” Matilda Fowler, CJ’s mother told reporters outside the Kamloops courthouse following the verdict.
“I just don’t want any other mothers going through what I went through. I want to find answers for the other missing and murdered women, but I don’t know how to do that. I know a lot of them are missing their daughters and have no answers. I have answers and he’s going to jail.”
Matilda and her son sat through the two-and-a-half week trial, coming to Kamloops from Prince George.
The trial heard Taylor, then 21, and CJ were inseparable. CJ, who learned hours before her death she was pregnant with Taylor’s child, asked her stepfather to treat him as family. He called him “poppa.”
“I also want to say sorry to Damien’s family,” Matilda said.
Several of Taylor’s family members attended the trial but they declined to speak with reporters following the verdict.
Crown lawyers said the trial went smoothly. One of them, veteran prosecutor Iain Currie said it was the quickest verdict he has experienced in a murder trial.
Defence lawyer Don Campbell called it a “fairly linear case in terms of the issues.”
During argument, he urged the jury to find Taylor was in a psychosis from days of crystal meth use and lack of sleep.
He said there was no motive for the killing and the couple was a loving one.
“To me, when we go to the heart of the case is the human wreckage from the abuse of crystal meth,” he said. “It’s profoundly tragic CJ Fowler lost her life in this.”
Matilda Fowler thanked support from family and victim services “for keeping me going.”
“I want to go to the site where her body was found and put some things there and fix it up, add a cross on there,” she said.
–Kamloops This Week
A Kamloops jury has found Damien Taylor guilty of second-degree murder in the death of C.J. Fowler.
The jury deliberated for five hours before returning a verdict.
Fowler, from the Hazeltons and living in Terrace at the time of her death, had traveled to Kamloops with Taylor in the weeks before her death. She was 16 and he was 21.
Her body was found Dec. 5, 2012 and Taylor was arrested for her murder 13 months later.
The trial was scheduled for three weeks but was completed after two weeks with lawyers giving their final arguments Tuesday of this week and the jury beginning its deliberation earlier today, Oct. 14.
More details to come.