- Associated Press - Thursday, March 10, 2016

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - An ex-convict will be sentenced next month in the death of a 15-year-old girl whose badly burned body was found in an Indianapolis backyard.

William Gholston was convicted of murder Wednesday night in the August 2014 slaying of Dominique Allen. Her family members expressed sighs of relief when jurors returned the guilty verdict after less than five hours of deliberation.

“I’m glad that we got justice,” said Mareeka Allen, Dominique’s sister. “We got what we have worked so hard for. (Allen) is looking down on us right now, and she’s smiling.”

This week, the jury trial began in Marion Superior Court, about a year and a half after Allen was last seen alive.

Prosecutors argued that Gholston kidnapped Allen from the front porch of her sister’s home, strangled her and hogtied with a coaxial cable, and then burned her body in an attempt to destroy evidence. Her body was found in a backyard on the west side of Indianapolis near Gholston’s last known address.

Investigators found Gholston’s DNA on the girl’s body and shoes. He was arrested about three months after her death.

“The DNA evidence obviously was the big key and jurors used common sense to connect that with him and it couldn’t have been anyone else,” said Indianapolis Det. Marcus Kennedy, the lead investigator in the case.

Defense attorney David Staples contended during the trial there were no witnesses or evidence showing what happened to Allen from the time she disappeared until her body was found.

Allen was a freshman at Ben Davis High School and dreamed of becoming a model.

Gholston is scheduled to be sentenced April 15.

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