Two of the men accused of killing Zaher “Zack” Noureddine in 2015 have been found guilty in Ontario Superior Court.
Patrick Smith, 28, was convicted of second-degree murder and robbery while Matthew Moreira, 34, was convicted of manslaughter and robbery.
The two men cried softly after hearing the jury verdict as Justice Suhail Akhtar looked on in the Toronto courtroom. Their sentencing hearing will take place on Mar. 29, 2019
A third man, William Cummins, 32, is being tried separately.
The three men were originally charged with first-degree murder in the beating death of the 25-year-old aspiring music journalist from Ottawa. The attack took place outside a restaurant in Toronto on Dec. 30, 2015.
Police said Noureddine was leaving a bar in the Yonge Street and Davisville Avenue area with some friends when they got into a fight with another group of men around midnight.
Noureddine was severely beaten and was taken to a trauma centre where he died hours later.
During the trial, the Crown told the jury what started as a robbery became a vicious beating motivated by anger.
Last month, a murder trial for all three of the men ended in a mistrial due to the Crown playing video clips in court that it hadn’t entered as evidence when it first laid out its case.
‘They killed my son’
Magda Khatib, Noureddine’s mother, sobbed uncontrollably when she heard the verdict. Noureddine’s family said they had been hoping for a first-degree murder conviction.
“It is not fair; they killed my son,” Khatib cried as she was led out of the courtroom on Thursday afternoon.
Born in Montreal, Noureddine grew up in Ottawa and had studied journalism at Algonquin College there before moving to Toronto in 2014.
At the time of his death, Noureddine was gaining a reputation as a music journalist and photographer.
He had interviewed and photographed a number of high-profile artists, including multiple 2015 Grammy-nominee Kendrick Lamar. He had also done freelance photojournalism in Lebanon, where the family is originally from and where his mother was a journalist.
Noureddine was also planning to launch his own business, his family said.