Laura Szendrei's teen killer sentenced to life
Young offender was days short of 18th birthday when he killed Delta, B.C., teen
The young man who beat 15-year-old Laura Szendrei to death in 2010 has been sentenced as an adult in a Surrey, B.C., courtroom and handed a life term, without chance of parole for seven years.
Lawyers have been arguing, in court, off and on for months, whether the man should be sentenced as an adult because he was just days short of his 18th birthday when he killed Szendrei as she walked through Mackie Park in Delta, B.C., on her way to meet friends.
At the sentencing hearing on Friday, the judge pointed to several key reasons for the decision, telling the packed courtroom that Szendrei's killer was adequately socialized, possesses above average intelligence and had sexually assaulted three women prior to murdering Szendrei.
The judge also mentioned that, shortly after the killing, the man went on a Mexican vacation where he attempted to smear fish blood all over the clothes he wore during the murder while on a fishing excursion.
The judge also criticized several doctors' reports on the mental state of the man, citing inconsistencies in their evaluations. In particular, he rejected a notion in one report in which the killer seemed to think a woman he knocked unconscious would have amnesia and not know he had sexually assaulted her. He called it "patent nonsense."
The man had told doctors he only intended to knock Szendrei unconscious before raping her and thought she wouldn't remember the attack when she awoke. However, he ended up hitting her in the head with an iron bar after she tried to struggle free of him, killing her.
The sentence was met with cheers from the courtroom gallery. Outside, members of Szendrei's family told CBC News they were relieved they would no longer need to hear the gruesome details of her death.
The family has said previously that they wanted their daughter's attacker to be sentenced to life without a chance of parole for seven years, and they hope he receives treatment.
While the man's identity is known to many in the community, his name has never been released because he was a young offender when he committed the murder.
His lawyer has filed an application asking the judge to extend the publication ban in the interests of the man's personal safety. The judge will hear arguments regarding the ban in January.
With files from the CBC's Dan Burritt