Derrick Lawlor has been found guilty of first-degree murder in connection with the death of Mark McCreadie.

McCreadie was killed in April 2014 via strangulation by a scarf or similar item and had his body left in a wooded section of Kitchener’s Victoria Park.

Jurors had been given the option of finding Lawlor guilty of first-degree murder, second-degree murder or manslaughter, or not guilty of any of those offences.  They reached their verdict after deliberating for about four hours.

Lawlor has maintained that he has only vague, hazy memories of the night McCreadie was killed. A few days after the death, he called police to say that he thought those memories might point to information that could help them solve McCreadie’s death.

Speaking to police, Lawlor said he had thoughts of harming promiscuous gay men, who he referred to as “perpetrators.”

A key witness in the case was John Davie, who told police that he had met up with McCreadie for sex on the night McCreadie died.

Davie testified that Lawlor joined them, and at one point placed a scarf around him. Later, Davie said, he left after Lawlor told him it would be OK for him to leave Lawlor and McCreadie alone together.

Lawlor’s lawyer did not call any witnesses, arguing instead that the Crown had not done enough to prove Lawlor’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

In his closing address, defence lawyer Stephen Proudlove suggested that McCreadie could have died after going into cardiac arrest from erotic asphyxiation.

Proudlove also questioned why McCreadie had no wallet, money or other items with him when he was found, arguing that it indicates he could have been robbed and killed after leaving Lawlor.

Lawlor has a previous manslaughter conviction on his record. In 1985, he was handed a four-year sentence in connection with the suffocation death of a man in Newfoundland and Labrador. He was later pardoned.

Lawlor, who audibly gulped before the verdict was delivered but showed no emotion afterward, will be sentenced on Thursday. A first-degree murder conviction carries an automatic life sentence with no chance of parole for 25 years.

With reporting by Nicole Lampa