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Stepmother found guilty of second-degree murder in death of Granby girl

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Trois-Rivieres, Que. -

WARNING: This story contains details some may find distressing

A 38-year-old woman charged with second-degree murder in the death of her seven-year-old stepdaughter in Granby has been found guilty.

On Wednesday afternoon, a jury in Trois-Rivières found the woman guilty of second-degree murder and forcible confinement, opting against a conviction for a lesser charge of manslaughter, an option Judge Louis Dionne had given to it.

The decision came extremely quickly for a murder case; the jury took only five hours to reach a unanimous verdict.

The girl died in April 2019 after her stepmother wrapped her in layers of adhesive tape to tie her down overnight, the court heard during the trial. The stepmother testified that she was trying to prevent the girl from escaping, also admitting that she tied her up from head to toe.

The child was found unresponsive in the morning and was pronounced dead the following day in the hospital.

The woman faces an automatic life sentence, though a later sentencing hearing will determine when she will be eligible for parole, which could be anywhere from 10 to 25 years, said Crown prosecutor Claude Robitaille.

The case rocked the province of Quebec before the details became public knowledge. It was in the wake of this tragedy that the Legault government set up the Laurent Commission to review the entire youth protection system in Quebec.

The trial was transferred to the Trois-Rivières courthouse in order to select a jury further away from where the crime took place.

Many elements of this trial, including the woman and the girl's identities, could not be disclosed to the general public because of a publication ban issued by the court. It will remain in effect until at least January 2022.

With files from The Canadian Press

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