Daniel Sylvester will serve at least 16 years in prison before being eligible for parole in the brutal murder of his 25-year-old next-door neighbour Alicia Ross.

Sylvester showed no emotion as Justice Ted Minden handed down the sentence in a Newmarket, Ont. courtroom on Friday morning.

A jury convicted Sylvester, 33, of second-degree murder on May 29 for killing Ross between their Markham homes, north of Toronto, nearly two years ago.

The conviction meant an automatic life sentence, but a judge had to determine parole eligibility of between 10 and 25 years.

Sylvester's lawyer asked for 10 to 12 years of parole ineligibility, while the Crown sought at least 18 years.

Jurors deliberated for less than four hours before returning their verdict, rejecting the defence's position that Sylvester was provoked before beating Ross in the pathway between their homes.

The defence also maintained Sylvester never meant to kill Ross.

Sylvester admitted he slammed Ross' head off the ground and repeatedly kneed her in the body during the encounter, but he said he "lost it" after she called him a "loser," court heard.

Sylvester then dumped Ross' remains at two wooded areas near Coboconk and Manilla, northeast of his affluent Markham neighbourhood.

Ross' disappearance sparked one of the largest missing persons case in Ontario history.

Sylvester surrendered to police five weeks after the killing, and helped police locate Ross' body.

He tried to plead guilty to manslaughter before his trial, but the Crown rejected that attempt and tried him for second-degree murder.

A forensic psychologist testified Sylvester is an emotionally troubled man who suffers from anxiety and depression. Sylvester has been seeing psychiatrists and psychologists since he was eight or nine years old.

The prosecution, however, labelled Sylvester a liar and manipulator. The Crown said he watched Ross kiss her boyfriend goodnight before the confrontation between their homes.

At trial, court heard Sylvester is a chronic masturbator and engaged in peeping Tom behaviour in the past. The Crown maintains his attack on Ross was sexually charged.

In handing down his decision, Minden believed there was a sexual motive for the killing. The judge also said Sylvester tried his best to get away with murder, but surrendered because he lost his wallet where he dumped Ross' remains and thought it would eventually be found.

Minden called Sylvester "calculating, deeply disturbed and likely beyond rehabilitation."

Sylvester sat with his head bowed during sentencing. He mouthed the words "I love you" to his elderly mother Olga before being led away in handcuffs, CTV's Chris Eby reported.

Outside court, Ross' mother said justice was served, but she found cold comfort in the prison term.

"It's a very bittersweet thing to hear a number because although we were very glad to hear a murder conviction, nothing will bring Alicia back," Sharon Fortis told reporters, fighting back tears.

"It's been two years of torture, and every time you start to heal, you come back and hear it again, and then you sort of forget it a little bit, and then you have to come back, and thankfully we just don't have to come back anymore. It's done," she said.

"Instead of visiting courtrooms, unfortunately we will always have to visit a grave, and it's just very unfair, but it's what we've been allotted in life."

At a sentencing hearing on Wednesday, Fortis read an emotional victim impact statement describing her anguish since her daughter's death on Aug. 17, 2005.

She said her once happy life is filled with misery and pain, and the killing has torn her family apart.

Fortis said she now hates Mother's Day and her family no longer celebrates birthdays or take photographs of each other.

She said she wants to die so she can be reunited with her girl, adding she is in therapy to deal with her grief.

Fortis said she often cries herself to sleep at night thinking of her daughter's final moments.

"I constantly visualize how Alicia died, how she was left naked to rot," she said. "Everyday I wake up it feels like someone punched me in the stomach."

With a report from CTV's Chris Eby