Wyatt DeBruin identified as Laura Szendrei's killer
Judge lifts publication ban on identifying convicted teenager
A Surrey judge has lifted a publication ban on identifying Wyatt DeBruin as the teenager who was convicted of killing Delta teen Laura Szendrei.
"Now you're allowed to say his name. What's his name? Wyatt DeBruin is a killer. He killed Laura for no reason and he should rot in jail," said Szendrei's grandmother Betty Rotaro outside of B.C. provincial court today.
DeBruin was just days short of his 18th birthday when he attacked 15-year-old Szendrei with an iron bar as she walked through Mackie Park in Delta, B.C., on her way to meet friends in Sept. 2010. She died in hospital the next day.
He was sentenced as an adult in October 2013 and handed a life term, without chance of parole for seven years.
At the sentencing the judge noted DeBruin was adequately socialized, possesses above average intelligence and had sexually assaulted three women prior to murdering Szendrei.
While the young man's identity was already known to many in the community, his name was never publicly released until today because he was a young offender when he committed the murder.
Everybody remembers her as a sweet little girl. She didn't have enemies. She was A-1 in everything she did.- grandmother Betty Rotaro
His lawyer filed an application asking the judge to extend the publication ban in the interests of the man's personal safety, but on Thursday the judge rejected that application.
The judge did, however, leave a ban in place preventing the publication of images of DeBruin.
"Everybody needs to be protected, including people who have committed crimes, and to be safe while they're serving their sentence in prison. And there had been a threat against Mr. DeBruin," said Crown prosecutor Wendy Stephens.
"In order to make that threat the least likely to be carried out, and also to further his rehabilitation so that he can attend programs, we thought it best that his name was published, but there's no real need for his photograph to be published."
The Crown mentioned in court today that published reports rumouring Szendrei's father has ties to the Hells Angels could jeopardize DeBruin's safety in federal prison, where he could be serving time with some of the gang's members.
"I don't know what they're protecting. He's a murderer. Just treat him like everybody else," said Szendrei's father Mike as he left courthouse today.
The Crown also suggested DeBruin could change his name in prison to further protect himself.
Ultimately, the family says the only name worth remembering is Laura Szendrei's.
"Everybody remembers her as a sweet little girl. She didn't have enemies. She was A-1 in everything she does. It's a loss to the world for taking her away from us and we never get over it,"said Rotaro.