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Jury finds Vancouver man guilty of murdering his girlfriend

Keith Fraser, Postmedia Network

Rose Paul. (Submitted Photo)

Rose Paul. (Submitted Photo)

A Vancouver man with a history of violence against his intimate partners has been found guilty of murdering his girlfriend.

After a day of deliberations, a B.C. Supreme Court jury on Wednesday found Daniel Alphonse Paul, 45, guilty of the January 2015 second-degree murder of Crystal Rose Paul, 36, a mother of five.

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Christopher Graeur then asked the jury whether they had a recommendation to make on parole ineligibility for the accused.

A second-degree murder conviction carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison with a minimum of 10 years and a maximum of 25 years of parole ineligibility.

The jury told the judge that they could not give an exact number of years of recommended parole ineligibility but that the minimum of 10 years was insufficient.

Crown counsel Daniel Mulligan told the judge that the sentencing hearing for Paul would take longer than usual as the accused had been found to be a long-term offender in 2004 after a series of convictions for violence against intimate partners, including a conviction for aggravated assault and sexual assault against a previous girlfriend.

Paul was sentenced to four years in prison in 2004, to be followed by the five-year long-term supervision order. But he repeatedly breached the order including the special condition that he report any intimate relationships.

A parole board report from 2010 noted that Paul, an Aboriginal man who suffers from alcoholism, could not control his rage when under the influence of intoxicants.

The information about Paul's prior criminal record, which dates back to 1987 and includes 15 convictions, was not before the jury as it would have been deemed evidence he had a propensity to commit violence against women.

At trial, the Crown's theory was that Paul fatally beat his girlfriend while she was staying at his Vancouver apartment on East 22nd Avenue and then took steps to try to conceal the murder.

He piled layers of garbage bags and clothing on top of the decomposing body to limit the smell as well as using air freshener in the suite.

Court heard that Paul lied to the victim's daughter, who had contacted him to find out her mother's whereabouts.

Paul, who admitted being in the apartment when the killing happened but denied the actual killing, spent nearly a month with the body in the suite before his landlady became suspicious because of the smell.

When the landlady said she would be coming by to inspect the suite, Paul fled the building and the body was subsequently discovered. The victim had suffered multiple blunt force injuries, bruises and cuts to her face, head and body.

Police launched a manhunt for Paul and later offered a $10,000 reward for his apprehension. Paul was arrested on April 1, 2015 by police who spotted him riding a bicycle on West Broadway.

The case has been put over until Oct. 23 to fix a date for the sentencing hearing.

kfraser@postmedia.com