Laura Szendrei was killed on Sept. 25

‘I wish I could rewind time and take back that day’: Delta teen’s killer apologizes in court

Judge to decide if 17-year-old who murdered Laura Szendrei will be sentenced as an adult.

The boy who killed Delta’s Laura Szendrei three years ago stood before the girl’s family in court Wednesday and apologized.

“I can only imagine the endless pain, suffering and agony the Szendreis feel every single day, and it’s all my fault,” he told the courtroom.  “Their pain and sadness must be unbearable. There’s no way to justify what I did. I’ve caused so much agony, I only wished I had sought out help earlier, by talking with my parents to help seek out a psychologist or psychiatrist, so that perhaps  I could have prevented taking Laura’s life.”

He said he doesn’t expect the Szendrei family to ever forgive him for what he did.

“There’s nothing I can do or say to lighten the pain of the Szendrei family – I’m not going to ask for forgiveness, because I truly don’t deserve it.

“I wish I could rewind time and take back that day.”

The killer’s father wept earlier as he addressed the court during the final days of the killer’s sentencing hearing this week.

“How could my little boy have done this?” the father said, overcome with emotion as he spoke on a video monitor from another location.

“What could make him strike out at anyone, especially when it leads to a parent’s worst nightmare?”

The man’s son was 17 in 2010 when he killed 15-year-old Laura Szendrei in George Mackie Park in North Delta.

On Wednesday, the court also heard statements from the killer’s brother, sister and mother as they appeared via teleconference in Surrey Provincial Court. The accused teen wept as he listened to his family speak.

Earlier in the day, Crown Counsel Wendy Stephen called experts from the provincial and federal prison systems to bolster her argument that the now 20-year-old should be sentenced as an adult. He was just weeks shy of his 18th birthday when he killed Szendrei. If he was 18, he would have been tried as an adult.

He was arrested in February, 2011 and initially charged with first-degree murder. He pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of second-degree murder last October.

An adult sentence for second-degree murder is life imprisonment, whereas a youth sentence carries a maximum of seven years, three of which are served in the community.

It was on Sept. 25, 2010 that the young man awoke at 9 a.m. with an urge to have sex, Stephen said during the beginning of the sentencing hearing in July.

The court heard the killer did some work with his dad and decided he was going to act on his urge. He packed a pipe and zap straps and headed to Mackie Park in North Delta, where he saw Szendrei, who he didn’t know.

Upon seeing her, he tried to loop a zap strap around her neck, with the goal of rendering her unconscious so he could have sex with her.

She saw him and started to run, and that’s when he struck her with a pipe three times. She died in hospital later that evening.

The court heard it was the killer’s fourth sex-motivated attack in six months. The three others took place near Burns Bog.

In the first, he grabbed a woman’s buttocks, in the second he pulled down the pants of a runner, and in the third, he hit a woman in the head with a stick.

Those details came out in a so-called “Mr. Big” police investigation.

In the Mr. Big scheme, the killer – a video game aficionado – was promised a big screen TV as part of a video game challenge and a lucrative career in the video game industry.

On Wednesday, Fraser Valley Correctional Centre’s Deputy Warden Harry Draaisma said it’s quite possible the accused would need a secure setting to serve his sentence.

“Inmates are very well-versed in government websites,” Draaisma told the court. “They will know in short order what an inmate is in there for.”

Sexual offenders are often victims of violence in prison and have to be protected.

Defence psychologist Robert Ley said the killer is a typical child from a normal home, whose major failing is an inability to interact with women his age.

“Central to his belief is about the benefit of a sexual attack on a woman,” Ley said, adding it is an “irrational belief, but he held it strongly.”

Doctors testifying throughout July said the young man expressed remorse over the death of Szendrei.

“I wonder every day how I could do this to someone and their family,” the accused is quoted as saying. “I have destroyed my own family.”

The sentencing hearing is expected to wrap up Friday.

@diakiw

 

Surrey North Delta Leader

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