Lawyers to argue whether young murderer should be sentenced as an adult

Laura Szendrei's killer was days shy of his 18th birthday when he killed teen in North Delta.

A four-day hearing is scheduled to begin Monday (July 15) into whether a young man who admitted killing a North Delta teen in Mackie Park should be sentenced as a youth or as an adult.

The accused was 17 when he beat 15-year-old Laura Szendrei to death and cannot be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

He was days away from his 18th birthday at the time of the murder and Crown prosecutors are expected to argue that he receive an adult, rather than a more lenient youth sentence.

The man was originally charged with first-degree murder, but pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of second-degree murder last October.

The adult sentence for second-degree murder is life in prison, with parole eligibility set by a judge, while a youth sentence for the same conviction is a maximum of seven years, only four of which can be served in custody. If sentenced as an adult, the accused can also be named publicly.

Szendrei, a Burnsview Secondary student, died from head injuries she suffered after a daytime attack on a path in Mackie Park near 110 Street and 82 Avenue on Sept. 25, 2010. Her killer was arrested and charged the following February.

The hearing in Surrey Provincial Court is expected to continue until Thursday.

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