A forensic psychologist says the man who killed Delta, B.C., teenager Laura Szendrei had the "irrational" belief that if he had sex with a woman, whether it was consensual or not, it would cure his anxiety in dealing with girls.
The man, whose name cannot be released, was just 17 when he picked Szendrei, 15, at random in 2010 and beat her to death with a metal pipe in a Delta park.
He was initially charged with first-degree murder but pleaded guilty to second-degree murder last year.
A judge must now decide whether he will be sentenced as an adult or as a teenager.
Simon Fraser University forensic psychologist Robert Ley testified in Surrey Provincial Court today saying he disagreed with prior diagnoses that said the offender was sadistic and showed no remorse.
Ley said the man, now 20, showed no signs of cruelty before the attack and that he believes the man feels terrible about what he did.
Ley said the man had never held hands with or kissed a girl as a teen. At the time of the killing, he spent five to 10 hours a day playing video games and five to 10 minutes a day looking at porn.
He had no history of substance abuse and there is no evidence he was exposed to any family violence, Ley said.
Ley recommended the offender should be sentenced as a youth, adding the young man has been lifting weights during his time in custody to improve his fitness because he expects he will have to defend himself in prison.
If sentenced as a youth, the offender will have to serve seven years, with a maximum of four years in prison and the remainder to be served in the community.
If sentenced as an adult, his name will become public, and he'll receive an automatic life sentence with parole eligibility to be determined by a judge.
Psychiatrists disagree with psychologist
Earlier this week, two psychiatrists told the court the offender should be sentenced as an adult so he could be supervised by the parole boards.
The psychiatrists also told the court that the offender admitted to attacking three other women in Delta's Burns Bog in the months leading up to the attack on Szendrei. Charges were never laid.
Today, Ley said those attacks were "grossly misguided" attempts to have sex with a real person, which escalated from touching to hitting a woman with a stick.
In Szendrei`s case, the offender said he had planned to take off her clothes and rape her, but when he tried to restrain her around the neck with straps, she "freaked out." That`s when he clubbed her with a metal pipe.
Ley said he believed there was a low-to-moderate risk the man will re-offend, and because the man was motivated to seek treatment, the risk was even less.
Ley told the court he came to that conclusion through highly regarded psychological tests, but the Szendrei family expressed skepticism today.
"Sounds like a lot of mumbo jumbo," said Rachael Szendrei, Laura's mother.
Betty Rotaro, Laura's grandmother, agreed.
"Hopefully the judge will see through that .. .and make justice. He's dangerous to society ... Not his first time, that's the fourth time," she said. "Especially he's big and strong now so he'll be stronger to beat some more women."
The sentencing hearing was supposed to end today, but is now expected to continue into next week.