The aunt of Jason Skinner, a man stabbed to death in Grand Falls-Windsor four years ago, released an emotional statement after a surprise development in the case Thursday.

"Pam Pike wants closure. What a joke," said Mary Ellen Giles in a prepared statement.  

Giles spoke out after Pike, on the eve of a jury trial for first-degree murder, agreed to plead guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter. Her lawyer told reporters she wanted closure.

"For four years this family has had salt poured into its wounds over and over with delays, while this one walked the street," Giles said. "Now she wants closure in the 11th hour. What about the past four years?"

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Mary Ellen Giles says her family has suffered anguish over the past four years, and feels the court system let them down.

Skinner died in hospital April 15, 2013 after the RCMP found him injured in his Grand Falls-Windsor home. 

Police charged Pamela Pike and Wanda Ash with first-degree murder. Ash was convicted of manslaughter by a jury in February and is awaiting sentencing. 

Pike's murder trial by jury was set to start on Thursday but the manslaughter plea means she will be tried by judge alone. 

Pamela Pike murder trial

Pamela Pike entered a guilty plea to manslaughter, just as a jury trial was about to begin on a more serious charge of first-degree murder. (Garrett Barry/CBC)

"This family would also like closure but it doesn't look like it is coming anytime soon," said Giles.

"Jason was stabbed four years ago and this justice system continues to stab us in the back."

'We can hold our heads high'

Pike's lawyer Bob Buckingham spoke with reporters shortly after she entered her plea on Thursday. 

"At the end of the day, it's going to be a situation where Ms. Pike will be incarcerated," said Buckingham.

"I don't think anyone wants to go to jail, so that's disconcerting and upsetting. But it will be cathartic to get it resolved and to move on with her life."

Giles said her nephew was also a young adult trying to move on with his life. 

"You know what is truly upsetting?" Giles asked. "Watching a mother and father in church holding each other, wretched in pain as the lid closes on the casket, covering up the face of a son they will never see again."

Skinner battled drug addictions for most of his adult life and was days away from heading to rehab when he was killed. 

Giles said that people have sent her messages saying her nephew deserved to die because of his addiction. 

"How ludicrous is that thinking that somehow the choices he made justified someone taking his life ... that somehow his life didn't matter?" her statement said. 

"My response is the same every time. He may have been a drug addict but he never murdered anyone. The harm he did was to himself and those who loved him … but a murderer will always be a murderer, no matter how the justice system spins it."

Pike will appear in Supreme Court on May 17 for a joint sentencing submission from the Crown and defence.