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Defence lawyer Lydia Riva is seen questioning Kalen Schlatter in a March 9, 2020, court sketch.

Alexandra Newbould/The Canadian Press

Jurors have begun their deliberations in the trial of a man accused of sexually assaulting and strangling a young woman.

The jury deciding the fate of Kalen Schlatter will have to weigh more than a month of evidence presented by the Crown and defence.

Mr. Schlatter, 23, has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of Tess Richey, a woman whose body was found in an outdoor stairwell in downtown Toronto in November, 2017.

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He testified last week that Ms. Richey was alive when he left her in an alley following a consensual sexual encounter in the early morning hours of Nov. 25, 2017.

Prosecutors, however, have alleged Mr. Schlatter was determined to have sex with Ms. Richey, who he had met hours earlier, and lured her into the alley as she was trying to go meet her Uber.

They argued Mr. Schlatter forced himself on her and strangled her when she tried to fight him off.

Court has heard Mr. Schlatter’s semen was found on Ms. Richey’s pants and his saliva on the inside of her bra.

Jurors have also viewed security footage that shows the pair walking into the alley together just before 4:15 a.m. and Mr. Schlatter leaving alone roughly 45 minutes later.

Ms. Richey was never seen alive again. Her body was found days later by her mother and a family friend.

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