BRITISH COLUMBIA

Adult Sentence For Laura Szendrei's Killer, Psychiatrist Says

07/16/2013 09:23 EDT | Updated 09/15/2013 05:12 EDT
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The young offender who killed Delta teenager Laura Szendrei in 2010 told a psychiatrist he woke up that morning planning to help his father fix an appliance.

Instead, he was consumed with “choking a girl until she passed out and raping her.”

Laura Szendrei was attacked in broad daylight in a Delta park. The man, whose name cannot bed released, was just 17 years old when he picked Szendrei at random and killed her by beating her with a metal pipe.

He was initially charged with first-degree murder but pleaded guilty to second-degree murder last year.

He is expected to find out this week whether he will be sentenced as an adult or as a teenager.

On Tuesday, forensic psychiatrist Kulwant Riar told the court the offender should not be placed in a youth centre comprised of 12 to 18-year-olds.

"When you do treatment for these individuals, you have got to follow whether they are applying what they have learned or not,” said Riar, who interviewed the offender for more than seven hours.

“So you have got to have four or five more years of follow up, and he wouldn’t get that in a juvenile system.”

If sentenced as a youth, he will have to serve seven years, with a maximum of four years in prison and the remainder to be served in the community.

If sentenced as an adult, he'll receive an automatic life sentence with parole eligibility to be determined by a judge. If sentenced as an adult, his name will also become public.

“In the adult system, the sentence is life in prison, which means that the young person would be ... either in the custody or under the control of the parole boards for the rest of his life, and that’s obviously the best,” said Crown counsel Wendy Stephen.

Szendrei's family says they want their daughter’s attacker to get treatment and to be sentenced to life in prison, with no chance of parole for seven years.

“That’s what he deserves and God-willing and the judge, that’s what will happen. Laura deserves this, please,” said Rachael Szendrei, Laura’s mother.

While the hearing is scheduled to end Thursday, the judge told the court today that even though the process is painful for both the Szendrei family and the offender’s, he’s prepared to extend the session.

“You’ve got one child who has lost her life, you’ve got one child who has completely ruined his life,” said defence lawyer Donna Turko. “Families are ruined. It’s a very difficult decision for the judge in this case.”

This hearing will continue tomorrow with more testimony from psychiatrists.