MIAMI -

A South Florida man accused of killing his ex-wife 20 years ago was found guilty of second-degree murder by a jury Friday.

It took the jury about five hours of deliberating before they found Clifford Friend guilt Friday night.

Friend appeared to be choking back tears and his lawyer later told Local 10 News they are in shock by the guilty verdict.

In 1994, Friend strangled his ex-wife and threw her body over the side of his boat into the ocean.

A judge had just granted Lynne Friend permission to take their 5-year-old son, Christian, out of state. Prosecutors believed that bitter custody battle was the motive behind the murder.

"We were looking for first, but we're very comfortable and happy with second," prosecutor Michael von Zamft said. "It's taken 20-plus years to get here. We were looking for vindication for Lynne Friend. We got it."

Defense attorney Peter Heller said his client felt "incredible disappointment."

"He believes in the system, though, and we'll keep fighting," Heller said.

Heller said they plan to appeal the verdict.

Clifford Friend could face life in prison. No sentencing date has been set.