WACO - A jury returned a guilty verdict Monday for a West man accused of killing his girlfriend in 2014.
David Zahirniak claimed Caitlyn Goates-Reed committed suicide in her West trailer but the jury disagreed. They came back with the verdict after less than two hours of deliberation.
Zahirniak was on the stand Monday, claiming she took a gun from her father with the intention of killing herself.
Prosecutors said it was meant to protect her from a jealous, controlling man who admittedly beat her several times before, including a brutal attack with a cane days before her death.
A defense expert testified that the evidence pointed to suicide but detectives assigned to the case said their expert didn't see most of the evidence or the autopsy.
In closing arguments, prosecutors said to believe Zahirniak's story, the jurors would have to believe every witness was a liar, including 2 fellow inmates who both said Zahirniak killed Reed with a handgun.
The defense said she was depressed, and while they had a tumultuous, volatile relationship, that didn't mean he killed her.
The verdict was unanimous and sentencing began right after the verdict was given.
"I'm pleased, it's been a long time waiting and I'm glad we got something to say, now we can go home, hug our kids, we know what happened, and go ahead and tell them later on in life the story about their mom and everything," Zachary Goates, Caitlyn's ex-husband said.
Zahirniak could receive a life sentence.
(© 2016 KCEN)