A man has been found guilty of murdering a Sydney teenager whose body was found in a shallow grave in the Blue Mountains.
Yigit Can Erdogan, 22, known as John, pleaded not guilty in the NSW Supreme Court to murdering 17-year-old Justin Tsang and detaining him for financial advantage causing actual bodily harm.
After a month-long trial and lengthy deliberations, the jury on Wednesday afternoon found Erdogan guilty of murder, but were discharged on the detention count after being unable to reach a verdict.
The Crown had alleged Erdogan was part of a joint criminal enterprise to detain and injure Tsang in a Burwood Heights share house in a dispute over allegedly stolen property, including money.
Tsang’s family last saw him on March 11, 2019. He was reported missing on March 15 and his body was found wrapped in plastic in a shallow grave at the Jamison Lookout in Wentworth Falls on March 19.
Erdogan was alleged to have instructed another man to hit Tsang on the head with a cricket bat, and was alleged to have injured the teenager with a wrench tool and knife and stomped on his head.
The defence disputed that Erdogan was involved in the “middle part” of the events, when objects such as the knife and cricket bat were alleged to have been used on Tsang.
Erdogan gave evidence that he had first met Tsang at an internet cafe, and they would share the drug Xanax. His case was that he had played no part in the detention, and was asleep during the assaults on Tsang in the morning and afternoon of March 12, and the killing.
Forensic pathologist Dr Kendall Bailey, who performed an autopsy on Tsang, gave evidence that he had been found wrapped in black plastic sheeting, his “wrists and ankles were secured by black plastic tape” and there were “signs of early decompositional change”.