British Columbia

Manslaughter plea angers victim's family

The family of a Burnaby sex worker who was stabbed so badly her body was nearly unidentifiable says her killer has robbed them of justice by pleading guilty to manslaughter.

The family of a Burnaby sex worker who was stabbed so badly her body was nearly unidentifiable says her killer has robbed them of justice by pleading guilty to manslaughter.

Aaron Hickey, 20, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the 2007 knifing and beating death of Tammy Murray, 38, on Tuesday morning in Vancouver provincial court.

Murray was found stabbed to death in her Burnaby apartment in September 2007. She had been stabbed 60 times.

Outside the courthouse on Tuesday, her sister Tanya said the decision by Crown prosecutors to allow Hickey to plead guilty to manslaughter rather than face a trial for murder was wrong.

"I would like to have it go up for second-degree murder. Because that's what it deserves. I know the evidence," she said.

The Crown has said a murder charge would be difficult to prosecute because Hickey was drunk and high at the time of the stabbing. Hickey will be sentenced in January for manslaughter.

Second-degree murder charges require evidence of intent, and defence lawyers have often argued a drunk person cannot form intent.

But Tanya Murray doesn't buy that.

"You can't be high, you can't be drunk enough to stab somebody that many times. And not mean to do it. I don't care what you're on," she said.

"Sixty times? And then slit her throat. I don't know too many people who can live from somebody cutting a main artery in your throat. You want to kill somebody when you do that," she added.

Murray's family is petitioning the Supreme Court of B.C. to overturn the manslaughter plea and is expecting a hearing on the application within two weeks.

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