A Delaware County jury has recommended that a Pennsylvania gay man receive life without parole for murdering a young man in his home, reports The Philadelphia Inquirer.

The jury found William Smithson guilty of first-degree murder, aggravated assault, attempted rape, kidnapping, and drug possession.

Smithson, 43, drugged Jason Shepard with GHB – the date rape drug – attempted to violate him and ultimately strangled him to death when he resisted, prosecutors said.

William Smithson is a gay man who frequently hosted gay sex parties which featured pornography, crystal methamphetamine and GHB.

Jason Shepard, 23, a sports marketing major at South Dakota college, was interning at Smithson's office in Edgmont, a suburb of Philadelphia, in 2006 when he was found dead in Smithson's basement by police.

On Monday, Smithson took the stand in a last ditch effort to save his own life. It quickly became apparent that the death of his grandmother had severely affected him. He lived with his grandmother from about the age of 19, only parting from her side when she moved to a nursing home in 2000.

Afterward, he said, he began using drugs. And in 2006, police confronted Smithson about the missing Shepard at the gravesite of his grandmother.

“I didn't know I was gay,” Smithson said Monday. It would not be until after his grandmother's death that he would admit this to even himself.

Smithson said he began using drugs to enhance his sexual pleasure, but eventually became a hard-core user. He said he would often stay up for six days in a row doing drugs before crashing.

During the trial, Daniel Hall testified he received a frantic call on Sept. 19, 2006 from ex-boyfriend Smithson and drove from Virginia to pacify him. The dead body of Jason Shepard lay in the bedroom.

The next day, Smithson filed a missing-persons report on Shepard with police.

But it was ex-boyfriend Hall who two days later would call police and tell them what he knew. Shepard's lifeless body was found in the early stages of decomposition in Smithson's basement, wrapped in sheets and bound by belts.

Smithson's formal sentencing is scheduled for January 30.