Evan Grykuliak was stabbed at his birthday party in November 2006. ((Family handout))

A teen who pleaded guilty to killing Evan Grykuliak at his 17th birthday party in west Edmonton almost two years ago has been given a life sentence with no chance for parole for seven years.

In a written decision handed down Friday, Judge James Koshman rejected arguments from the defence to have the young man, now almost 20, sentenced as a youth.

Grykuliak was stabbed in the early morning hours of Nov. 19, 2006. He was celebrating his birthday at LaPerle Community Hall in west Edmonton when the teen showed up at the party with a group of friends.

In an agreed statement of facts, the teen admitted to stabbing Grykuliak six times with a pocket knife during an argument in a hallway.

The teen pleaded guilty in youth court last October to second-degree murder. He cannot be named because he was 17 at the time of the slaying.

In deciding on a sentence, the judge said he was swayed by testimony that the man was a drug-dealing gang member when he stabbed Grykuliak and still maintains some of those gang contacts.

Koshman also said the man has not expressed a sufficient amount of remorse, sympathy or responsibility for the murder.

Despite handing out the adult sentence, the judge has refused to lift the publication ban on the young man's name, pending a further hearing.