Surrey, Canada — The man who killed 15-year-old Laura Szendrei was sentenced to life in prison with no parole for at least seven years in a decision that prompted cheers in a crowded court room.
The man, whose name has never been released publicly, was days shy of his 18th birthday when he beat Szendrei to death in a suburban Vancouver park in September 2010.
Despite his adult sentence in the case, his lawyer plans on applying for a public ban in the case, reports CTV News. The teen girl was walking through a forested area of the park when her friends heard her screaming.
They found Szendrei, who was taken to a hospital severely beaten. She passed away from her injuries the next morning and her murder shocked the province of British Columbia, because of the age of the victim, as well as the place it happened.
In the months that followed Laura Szendrei’s death, The Vancouver Sun notes that police set up an elaborate undercover operation to extract a confession from the suspect, who was arrested and charged with the crime in February 2011.
During Friday’s sentencing hearing, provincial court Judge Robin Baird commented, “The seriousness of this accused’s criminal wrongdoing cannot be understated.” Baird added:
“Even if I accept that the accused left his home without the intention to kill someone, it was clear that he was resolved to commit rape and prepared to use a significant degree of violence to facilitate that intention or, if he was unsuccessful, his victim would be incapable of bearing witness against him.”
The courtroom in Surrey was packed with dozens of Szendrei’s family members, as well as reporters and other onlookers. Last month, the murderer apologized during his sentencing hearing, as the girl’s parents watched from the public gallery. He admitted, “On that horrible day, I regretfully took the life of Laura Szendrei and destroyed her family… I’m not going to ask for forgiveness because I truly don’t deserve it.”
Had Szendrei’s killer been sentenced as a youth, he would have received a seven-year sentence, with the first four years spent in jail and the final three served in the community.
[Image via ShutterStock]