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Guilty plea in Laura Szendrei's murder

SURREY (NEWS1130) – The young man accused of killing 15-year-old Laura Szendrei in North Delta two years ago has entered a surprise guilty plea.

Today was supposed to be last day of a pre-trial hearing for the man, who can’t be named because he was only 17 when Szendrei was brutally beaten in Mackie Park in September 2010. She later died in hospital.

Instead, the man pleaded guilty to second degree murder this morning.

Delta Police say today’s events will undoubtedly re-ignite the pain that the teen’s family and friends have been living with since her death.

“This has been an unspeakable tragedy for the family and friends of Laura to endure. It is my hope that the outcome today will give some solace and closure knowing the person responsible will be held accountable for his incomprehensible actions,” says Police Chief Jim Cessford.

Many in the community are already expressing relief.

Brian White with the Annual Laura Szendrei Walk, Run & Roll is just pleased the girls family will not have to sit through a lengthy trail, instead the young man will likely be sentenced in February.

“It certainly doesn’t bring Laura back, but it does bring some closure. It was almost like the community was on a lock-down for a period of time.”

The Crown will now push to have him sentenced as an adult.

“A sentencing hearing will proceed as though the youth before the youth court is an adult… The broader range of sentencing and the longer sentences available to adults will be available… in that situation,” explains News1130 legal analyst Michael Shapray.

“Certainly, the young person and their lawyer will have the opportunity to argue why the matter should proceed as a youth sentence,” adds Shapray.

If the judge rules in the Crown’s favour, the young man’s name would then be reported.

The Szendrei family has asked for privacy; they will not make any comments about today’s guilty plea.