The man accused of killing a Southern Illinois University Edwardsville student during a Craigslist meet up has been found guilty of first-degree murder and armed criminal action.

On Monday, a St. Louis County jury found Michael Gordon guilty of murdering 19-year-old Taylor Clark.

In May of 2015, Clark was trying to sell his car on Craigslist and agreed to meet with Gordon to let him test drive the car. After the encounter, Clark went missing before being found dead a few days later of a gunshot wound near the Hazelwood business where Gordon worked.

“I am very pleased that we could at least bring some small measure of justice to our victim’s family,” said St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney, Robert McCulloch. “I know it won’t ease their pain entirely but hopefully, at least, they can put this part of it behind them.”

McCulloch said prosecutors had several pieces of evidence they used to link Gordon to the crime. He said the defendant had a car, nearly identical to the one he stole from Clark, that was repossessed shortly before the shooting. He said Gordon answered the ad with a plan in mind.

“He’s on video purchasing the shovel that was found in the back where Mr. Clark’s body was located,” McCulloch said, adding Gordon also purchased a gun just a few days before the shooting. “In addition, he had also purchased bleach and a few other things, in some pathetic attempt to try and clean up some of the evidence of that in the [area] where he killed Mr. Clark.”

McCulloch said Gordon also searched the internet for how to replace a vehicle’s VIN number on the dashboard.

“All of that evidence shows he was planning this out. It was not a very good plan, and rarely is. But certainly he was planning on killing [Clark] and taking the car and killing him.”

Clark was a sophomore at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Friends from his childhood describe a young man always wearing a smile.

“He was just one of the most genuine people I’ve ever met. He always treated people with the utmost respect,” said Jacob Cygan, a childhood friend who now manages a memorial Facebook page for Clark.

“He was just a nice person. There’s no simpler way to put it than that.”

Cygan and other friends spent some time in court during Gordon’s trial. They consider the guilty verdict bittersweet.

“It was the best conviction that we could have wished for,” said another longtime friend, Andrew Parker. “But also at the same time, it didn’t feel like a win. If we would have won, this would have never happened in the first place.”

“It still doesn’t take away from the fact that he's gone, and he is still no longer with us,” Cygan added. “It’s a sense of closure, but it still doesn’t change anything that happened.”

Cygan and other friends keep a sticker on their cars to memorialize Clark. They hope to keep his memory alive, long after the court case is closed.

“Obviously none of us are ever going to forget him, he'll always be our best friend still,” Parker said.

Gordon is set to be sentenced by a county judge on Dec. 19. Prosecutors did not seek the death penalty in this case, and said Gordon will serve life in prison, without parole on the murder charge. He could get additional time on the Armed Criminal Action conviction.

On Monday, a St. Louis County jury found Michael Gordon guilty of murdering 19-year-old Taylor Clark.

In May of 2015, Clark was trying to sell his car on Craigslist and agreed to meet with Gordon to let him test drive the car. After the encounter, Clark went missing before being found dead a few days later of a gunshot wound near the Hazelwood business where Gordon worked.

“I am very pleased that we could at least bring some small measure of justice to our victim’s family,” said St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney, Robert McCulloch. “I know it won’t ease their pain entirely but hopefully, at least, they can put this part of it behind them.”

McCulloch said prosecutors had several pieces of evidence they used to link Gordon to the crime. He said the defendant had a car, nearly identical to the one he stole from Clark, that was repossessed shortly before the shooting. He said Gordon answered the ad with a plan in mind.

“He’s on video purchasing the shovel that was found in the back where Mr. Clark’s body was located,” McCulloch said, adding Gordon also purchased a gun just a few days before the shooting. “In addition, he had also purchased bleach and a few other things, in some pathetic attempt to try and clean up some of the evidence of that in the [area] where he killed Mr. Clark.”

McCulloch said Gordon also searched the internet for how to replace a vehicle’s VIN number on the dashboard.

“All of that evidence shows he was planning this out. It was not a very good plan, and rarely is. But certainly he was planning on killing [Clark] and taking the car and killing him.”

Clark was a sophomore at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Friends from his childhood describe a young man always wearing a smile.

“He was just one of the most genuine people I’ve ever met. He always treated people with the utmost respect,” said Jacob Cygan, a childhood friend who now manages a memorial Facebook page for Clark.

“He was just a nice person. There’s no simpler way to put it than that.”

Cygan and other friends spent some time in court during Gordon’s trial. They consider the guilty verdict bittersweet.

“It was the best conviction that we could have wished for,” said another longtime friend, Andrew Parker. “But also at the same time, it didn’t feel like a win. If we would have won, this would have never happened in the first place.”

“It still doesn’t take away from the fact that he's gone, and he is still no longer with us,” Cygan added. “It’s a sense of closure, but it still doesn’t change anything that happened.”

Cygan and other friends keep a sticker on their cars to memorialize Clark. They hope to keep his memory alive, long after the court case is closed.

“Obviously none of us are ever going to forget him, he'll always be our best friend still,” Parker said.

Gordon is set to be sentenced by a county judge on Dec. 19. Prosecutors did not seek the death penalty in this case, and said Gordon will serve life in prison, without parole on the murder charge. He could get additional time on the Armed Criminal Action conviction.