Adonay Zekarias was convicted on Tuesday of first-degree murder in the stabbing death of Nighisti Semret.

Semret, 55, was found stabbed to death on a rainy morning on Oct. 23, 2012 as she walked down a Cabbagetown laneway following a night shift a nearby hotel.

She was stabbed seven times. Court heard that Semret fought her attacker, getting blood under her nails.

“Justice was served today,” Crown Attorney Mary Humphrey said.

The jury came back with a guilty verdict within four hours. The conviction comes with an automatic life sentence.

“My client and his family are very disappointed with the verdict,” said Susan Adams, Zekarias’s lawyer.

Semret had once been helping Zekarias with his English and both were Eritrean refugees.

Sentencing will commence on Friday at which time Semret’s son will make a victim impact statement.

Charged in another murder

​Some information, however, was not allowed to reach jury members before making their decision.

Zekarias, 43, has been charged in another murder, that of 28-year-old Rigat Ghirmay.

Adonay ZekariasAdonay Zekarias, seen above, has been convicted of first-degree murder in the death of Nighisti Semret. (Toronto Police Service)

Details about the other charge came out in an investigation led by police homicide Det. Gary Giroux who questioned Zekarias on Sept. 30, 2013, about 11 months after Semret’s death.

Ghirmay’s remains were found in a duffle bag in Toronto’s west end about six months after Semret was killed. Some remains are still missing.


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