Cindy Ali, a Toronto woman who was previously found guilty in the death of her daughter, has been acquitted in a retrial.
Cheers and applause rang out in a packed Toronto courtroom Friday as a judge handed down that decision.
Speaking to reporters outside the courthouse, Ali said she was feeling a sense of relief that her ordeal is now done — but also that she hasn't yet had an opportunity to properly grieve for her daughter.
"After today, it's going to be our time as a family to start healing and grieving — but not forgetting Cynara, because she's still here with me. She will always be with me, with us."
Ali was originally found guilty of first-degree murder back in 2016. She had pleaded not guilty in the February 2011 death of her 16-year-old daughter Cynara, who had cerebral palsy and was unable to walk, talk or feed herself.
Ali successfully appealed that conviction in 2021, and was granted a new trial, which started last October.
During the initial trial, Ali testified she was home alone with Cynara one morning when two masked men in black suits rang her doorbell and pushed their way into her home demanding a mysterious package, which they never found.
Ali said one of the men had a gun and made her take him through various rooms in the house in search of the package while Cynara lay on the living room couch with the other man nearby.
At one point when she broke away from the man with the gun and ran to the living room, Ali testified she saw the second man with a pillow in his hand, standing by Cynara, who wasn't moving and was "very quiet" and pale.
Ali said the two men then left after announcing they had the wrong residence and she called 911 after shaking her daughter and finding her unresponsive.
Cynara was pulled off life support in a Toronto hospital in February 2011, two days after emergency personnel, responding to the 911 call, found her without vital signs.
Ali said Friday she felt emotion wash over her as the judge read out her decision.
"After so long it's done, and I'm really happy for that," she said.