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A Salt Lake City jury on Thursday night found Viliamu Seumanu guilty in the 2013 kidnapping and execution-style slaying of a man near a Weber County ski resort.

Seumanu, 43, was convicted of aggravated kidnapping, murder and obstruction of justice — although he was not the one accused of pulling the trigger and killing 34-year-old Cleat Knight.

Prosecutor Vincent Meister argued Thursday during his closing argument that Seumanu, also known as "Juice," was an active participant and assisted in the kidnapping and murder of Knight and the kidnapping of another man, Andrew Beck.

"By failing to say no, by failing to extricate himself, he is encouraging that behavior," Meiser said. "By acting as 'muscle,' by not saying no, if you are there when these things are going on, the assumption is you are not against it."

But Seumanu's defense attorney, Rudy Bautista, accused prosecutors of "cherry-picking" facts in their case, and said his client did not participate in the crimes willingly.

"We don't require anybody to be a hero," Bautista said. "There is no law that says you have to stop all this stuff."

The eight-member jury began deliberations at around 4 p.m. Thursday, after a week of trial testimony.

Knight's body was found under 6 feet of snow near the Snowbasin ski resort on Jan. 7, 2014, more than a month after prosecutors say Knight and Beck were held captive and then driven — bound, blindfolded and at gunpoint —┬áto Weber County, where Knight was shot in the back and left to die.

Prosecutors contend Seumanu helped plan Knight's murder, along with Christopher Leech, Theron Myore and Tina Soules.

Seumanu is accused of taking Knight to a spot near Snowbasin and ordering him to sit down. Knight was then shot in the back, allegedly by Leech, as payback for the alleged theft of drug money.

Beck testified earlier this week that after Knight was shot in the back, the man rolled down a hill and said, "I'm dead."

Then, Beck said Leech gave him an ultimatum: Shoot his friend or be shot himself.

After being handed a gun with one bullet, Beck said he pointed the weapon down and fired at Knight without looking. That bullet went through Knight's left cheek, according to the medical examiner's report.

Leech, Myore and Soules all face their own set of murder and kidnapping charges and have entered pleas of not guilty.

Leech is scheduled for a trial in July. Myore is set for an August hearing and is expected to enter a guilty plea to reduced charges. No trial date has been set for Soules.

jmiller@sltrib.com Twitter: @jm_miller