The man accused of killing Azalia Wilson in Invercargill has today been found guilty of her murder by a jury.
Samuel Moses Samson (33) has been on trial before Justice Gerald Nation in the High Court at Invercargill since March 8.
After one and a-half hours of deliberation, a jury today found Samson guilty of murdering Azalia Wilson at the Bavarian Motel on November 17, 2019.
A group of about 50 family members and friends were in the public gallery and reacted emotionally when they heard the verdict, applauding the jurors.
Speaking after the verdict, Azalia's mother, Trinette Wilton, described feeling relief, and said "the whole thing was surreal".
"She didn't die for nothing."
Azalia's sister Crystal said: "A little bit of me is healed."
Wilson's stepfather said he was expecting the worst after a short deliberation from the jury but he was pleased with the outcome.
"I feel that part of this journey is over for now.
"We don't have to use any more thoughts on him because he is just going to rot wherever they send him.
"I don't have to expend any more energy on worrying about anything to do with him from here on in. He is going away for most of the rest of his life."
Samson will be sentenced on June 3.
Before the verdict, the jury heard the summing-up of the case from Justice Gerald Nation, which took about two hours.
He reminded the jury about their duties and the concepts of prejudice and sympathy.
Yesterday the Crown and defence teams made their closing statements.
While the Crown's case was Samson had killed Wilson in a jealous rage, the defence claimed police focused on only one suspect and there were "huge failures" in the investigation.
The jury heard from about 60 witnesses during 16 days of trial.