TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – It was an emotional verdict inside the packed courtroom as the jury found Johnny Oquendo guilty of murdering Noel Alkaramla on Friday.
Oquendo was found guilty on all three charges brought against him murder, strangulation, and concealment of a human corpse.
Oquendo killed his stepdaughter Alkaramla in 2015, put her body in a suitcase and dumped it in the Hudson River. It was almost two years to the date when she went missing.
The jury deliberated for about 2.5 hours on the case. The verdict came back before noon.
Noel’s mother Deborah Napoli was in court sobbing and was consoled by Rensselaer County District Attorney Joel Abelove.
Following the verdict, she spoke directly to her estranged husband.
“You got what you deserved. You betrayed me and you murdered my child.”
Everyday Napoli sat outside the courtroom where jurors heard testimony about Alkaramla’s brutal murder.
She had been barred from the trial after the defense subpoenaed her as a witness. She was never called but she never left.
“I was not moving until justice came and it’s here. I am so, so, blessed.”
Back inside for the verdict, Napoli released tears of joy as the jury found Oquendo guilty.
Napoli says she told the district attorney’s office early on that she believed Oquendo was responsible for her daughter’s death.
Abelove says it has been a long road to this conviction.
“Really, I just think it speaks to the strength of evidence in the case. The jurors did a phenomenal job cutting through all the evidence.”
He’s also happy that Oquendo will be off the streets.
“He knows what happened. He knows the truth of what happened. Now the jury knows what happened. The whole world knows what happened.”
Defense Attorney Bill Roberts expressed his feelings on the verdict.
“Obviously, I’m disappointed. It’s been a difficult and emotional trial.”
He says looking back he wouldn’t have done anything differently.
“I think it’s hard to look past that there’s a young life that is no longer with us.”
He also explained why he didn’t call Napoli to the stand.
“She’s been through enough. You can never bring back a child. That was the discussion that we had.”
Now she’s hoping to see him behind bars for good.
“I don’t know how long that will be but I hope long. May he rot in hell because there is a special place for him for doing what he did to my child. There is no time that can fill the empty space he has left me in my heart.”
Napoli says she plans to be back one last time on December 21st for his sentencing.
He’s facing 25 years to life.