Meechaiel Criner has been found guilty of capital murder by a Travis County Jury. Criner has been sentenced to life in prison for the death of UT freshman Haruka Weiser in April 2016.
Criner will be eligible for parole after 40 years.
Weiser was found dead in Waller Creek on the University of Texas at Austin campus. According to investigators, she was headed home from dance practice when she was attacked and assaulted.
Meechaiel Criner, who was 17-years-old at the time, was indicted on a capital murder charge in the death of 18-year-old Haruka Weiser, who was last seen leaving UT's drama building.
Prosecutors argued that Criner is the man in a surveillance video, who after parking his bike, allegedly followed Weiser down a path along the creek. A crucial tip also came from Austin firefighters who put out a trash fire near the scene of the crime. They told the Austin Police Department that the man in the video looked like the person who started the fire.
Following the jury's verdict, Haruka's father gave a victim's impact statement. Addressing Criner, Dr. Weiser said "you killed my daughter. You brutally raped her and then you mercilessly murdered her."
The University of Texas will continue to honor and celebrate our vibrant student Haruka Weiser. She is deeply missed, but her memory is a great source of strength for so many here on the Forty Acres. It always will be. https://t.co/DLBa4Vozl2 pic.twitter.com/yfxp4pV2ky— Greg Fenves (@gregfenves) July 20, 2018
Meechaiel Criner is from Texarkana and does not appear to have any prior criminal charges.
According to Child Protective Services, he was in their care at the time of his arrest. Meechaiel Criner was reported as a missing / runaway to Killeen Police on March 24th.