Editor’s note: Some details in our reporter’s tweets from the courtroom may be disturbing to some readers.
SURREY (NEWS1130) – Laura Szendrei’s killer has been sentenced to life in prison with no parole for seven years.
The 21-year-old man pleaded guilty to second-degree murder for killing the 15-year-old girl in a sexually-motivated attack three years ago in Delta.
At the time of the attack, the killer was just six days shy of his 18th birthday.
It was an emotional morning in the courtroom, which was packed with Szendrei’s family and friends, as the judge gave a heart-wrenching account of how the girl died, and how brutally violent the crime was.
Applause rang out as the judge announced the sentence; people had to refrain from jumping out of their chairs.
After the sentencing, the victim’s grandmother told reporters “We can finally breathe a sigh of relief. This is what we wanted. He got what he deserved.”
The girl’s grandfather broke down outside of court; he says he’d never seen his son cry before, either. Mike and Rachel Szendrei — Laura’s parents — say the judge did his job.
The judge laid out a number of reasons for his decision, citing psychiatric reports and numerous experts and witnesses who were called in the case.
Community members in Delta also had their opinions on Friday’s sentencing. Many say three years later, they’re still affected by Szendrei’s killing.
“I don’t know that we’ll ever necessarily recover from that,” explains one man.
A woman at Mackie Park, where Szendrei was attacked, held back tears before saying, “I feel sorry for him in a way like he’s such a young person but I think that’s how it should have been, he knew better.”
Szendrei was walking through Mackie Park in September, 2010, when a group of friends she was on her way to meet heard her screams. When they reached Szendrei, they found their friend beaten with injuries so severe, she died in hospital the following morning.
Szendrei’s attacker was arrested five months later after an undercover police sting.
News1130′s Andrea Macpherson was live-tweeting through today’s sentencing. You can view her tweets below (*Note: Details may be disturbing to some readers)
An application to lift the publication ban on the killer’s name goes to court Jan 24th. For now, the ban is still in effect.