CENTERVILLE (AP) — Ethan Landon Davis is guilty of the first-degree murder in the killing of Cedar Falls hunter Curtis Ross, an Appanoose County jury found.

Jury deliberation concluded around 4:15 p.m. Friday when jurors began entering the courtroom, according to the Daily Iowegian in Centerville.

First-degree murder carries a mandatory life sentence in Iowa. A sentencing hearing has been set for March 18.

The jury had reported Friday afternoon they were nearly deadlocked in their deliberations. They were instructed to return to those deliberations and continue their attempts at reaching an unanimous verdict.

The case against Davis, of Promise City, was turned over to the jury Thursday afternoon.

Authorities say Ross was shot 10 times with a high-powered rifle Nov. 24, 2017, stabbed more than 26 times and his neck, abdomen and legs gashed open. A sheriff’s deputy found Ross’ naked body in a creek on public hunting grounds in Appanoose County.

Davis’ attorney Ken Duker said during his closing arguments Thursday there are too many unanswered questions in the case. He acknowledged Davis’ rifle killed Ross but said, “The question is: Who pulled the trigger?”

Prosecutor Scott Brown dismissed the suggestion Davis was framed.

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