The verdict against Alfonso Rodriguez Jr. clears the way for North Dakota's first death penalty deliberations in more than a century.
Rodriguez stared straight ahead as the verdict was read.
Sjodin, 22, a University of North Dakota student from Pequot Lakes, Minn., was abducted from the parking lot of a Grand Forks shopping mall on Nov. 22, 2003. Her body was found the following April in a ravine near Crookston, Minn. Rodriguez lived in Crookston at the time.
Prosecutors said Sjodin was stabbed, raped and left to die.
The jurors deliberated for less than four hours before returning the verdict.
The jury is to reconvene next Tuesday to deliberate on whether Rodriguez is eligible for the death penalty. North Dakota does not have the death penalty, but such a penalty is allowed in federal cases.
Sjodin's mother and father stared straight ahead as the verdict was read, but family members shared hugs later outside the courtroom.
Rodriguez' mother, Dolores, wiped her face with a tissue.
Rodriguez' attorney argued this case never should have been heard in federal
court because prosecutors couldn't prove where Sjodin was killed, CBS News Minneapolis affiliate WCCO reports.
In closing arguments Tuesday, U.S. Attorney Drew Wrigley told jurors Sjodin fought for her life and left "unmistakable" evidence about the crime.
Rodriguez's attorney, Robert Hoy, said the government failed to prove its case. He said a medical examiner called to testify by prosecutors could not say for certain where Sjodin died, when she died, or the cause of her death.
But Wrigley told jurors that blood found in Rodriguez's car matched Sjodin's DNA. He said it was found in a mist pattern, indicating Sjodin fought her attacker and was beaten.
"Ladies and gentlemen, Dru Sjodin battled him every step of the way, and she left us unmistakable messages," Wrigley said.
About 40 minutes after the verdict was read, Sjodin's family left the
courthouse without making comments to reporters, WCCO reports.