updated 10/9/2008 4:29:38 PM ET 2008-10-09T20:29:38

A man accused of killing and dismembering his ex-girlfriend before burning the college student's remains on two outdoor grills was convicted of murder Thursday.

Jurors deliberated for four hours before convicting Timothy Wayne Shepherd of the March 2007 murder of 19-year-old Tynesha Stewart, a Texas A&M University freshman.

Shepherd, 28, showed no emotion when the verdict was announced. His victim's family broke down in tears.

The trial was entering the punishment phase, and Shepherd faces a possible sentence of life in prison.

The case drew national attention after investigators said they would not search for the body because it may have ended up in one of several landfills. Officials later said they knew there were no remains to be found.

Police have said Shepherd confessed to choking Stewart, dismembering her and burning the remains on the patio grills. According to court records, police recovered 30 pieces of charred bone and hair from Shepherd's apartment.

During the trial, Shepherd's attorneys argued that there was not enough evidence to convict Shepherd beyond a reasonable doubt.

However, prosecutors maintained that Shepherd had abused Stewart throughout their relationship and believed he had a "license to kill" to kill Stewart because she "disrespected" him.

During closing arguments, Assistant District Attorney Kebharu Smith reminded jurors about witnesses' testimony in which Shepherd said Stewart "disrespected me" as he led authorities to the trash bin where he said her body was dumped.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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