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MARIETTA, Ga. - Jurors near Atlanta on Friday convicted a man accused in the strangling death of a Williamsburg High School graduate in 1995 and the stabbing of her young son.
The jury began deliberating shortly before 10 a.m. Friday and returned a guilty verdict against Waseem Daker, 35, in less than five hours. Daker was indicted on 11 counts, including malice and felony murder, burglary, false imprisonment, aggravated assault, aggravated battery and attempted aggravated stalking.
Daker was charged in the Oct. 23, 1995 killing of Karmen Smith in her Cobb County home. Prosecutors say he also repeatedly stabbed Smith's 5-year-old son Nick, who survived the attack.
Karmen Smith, whose maiden name was Wiggans, graduated from Williamsburg High School in 1984, according to The Gazette's archives. Garwood Mayer, then a teacher at the school and whose daughter was a friend of Smith's, told the newspaper in 1995 that she was active in basketball, cheerleading and student council. Friends also said she was prom queen.
After graduation from college, Smith worked as a flight attendant for Delta Air Lines.
Prosecutors said Daker killed Smith and attacked her son because he was obsessed with Lottie Spencer Blatz, who lived upstairs from them. Daker was convicted of stalking Blatz in 1996. Authorities had long suspected Daker but couldn't connect him to the slaying until new DNA testing linked him to Smith's death in 2009.
Daker did not react as the verdict against him was read, The Marietta Daily Journal reported. But several of Smith's relatives and friends showed relief, including Blatz and Nick Smith, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. Both Blatz and Nick Smith had testified against Daker.