ORLANDO, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - Jurors have found a man guilty of first-degree murder in the killing of 16-year-old Olympia High School student Alexandria Chery in 2014.
Authorities say Sanel Saint-Simon, 46, the long-term partner of Chery's mother, misled detectives in their investigation into the disappearance of Chery.
Chery's body was discovered four days after her disappearance in a wooded area along the Orange-Osceola county line. Her cause of death was believed to be due to stabbing and blunt force trauma. Investigators had already arrested Saint-Simon on a charge of giving false information to law enforcement.
Investigators said Saint-Simon was the boyfriend of Chery's mother at the time and they all lived together. They said Saint-Simon tried to sexually batter the teen, and she tried fighting him off, but was killed.
Prosecutors and defense attorneys rested their case Monday afternoon. Saint-Simon elected not to testify in his own defense.
It took the jury approximately seven hours to deliberate. Shortly after the verdict was read and the jury was dismissed, Saint-Simon appeared faint and collapsed into a chair.
Chery's family says it has been an emotional rollercoaster, but they finally got justice.
Saint-Simon was also found guilty of aggravated child abuse and giving false information to law enforcement officers. He could face death or life in prison without parole. A separate penalty phase hearing will be held on April 16.