Mike Szendrei

Szendrei killing was sexually motivated, court hears

Killer had attacked three other women in North Delta in the months prior to the teen's murder

The man who clubbed North Delta’s Laura Szendrei to death nearly three years ago was motivated by sex, and was responsible for three other attempted sexual attacks in Burns Bog in the months leading up to the 15-year-old’s killing.

Szendrei, a student at Burnsview Secondary, was found badly beaten in Delta’s Mackie Park on Sept. 25, 2010. She later died in hospital.

Her killer was arrested in February 2011 and cannot be named because he was not yet 18 years old.

He sat in the prisoner’s box in Surrey Provincial Court Monday, with his expressionless face tilted down, while he listened to  testimony during a hearing to decide whether he’ll be sentenced as an adult.

The hearing is scheduled for four days.

Crown counsel Wendy Stephen described the killer as a shy boy growing up, with a B-average while attending Sands Secondary in North Delta.

His youth was fairly typical, Stephen said, except for some teasing and bullying he endured early in high school. That leveled off in Grade 11, but he had noted he was still concerned he didn’t have a girlfriend at that time.

He was fond of playing badminton, video games, and told guards in prison he also liked golf, watching movies and snow-shoeing.

He was medically typical except for a case of asthma, Stephen said.

The court also heard from Stephen that the attack was sexually motivated, and  that he arrived at the place of the killing with a pipe and zap straps.

“Laura began screaming and tried to run for help,” Stephen told the court. “He hit her with the pipe.”

Stephen said the accused reported he had hit her in the head at least three times. The court heard earlier she had five blows, two of which may have been consistent with a fall.

Stephen said the accused admitted to three other attacks on women in Burns Bog, in the months prior to Szendrei’s murder.

Stephen said the accused was deeply impacted after killing 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.”

Stephen said the young man felt depressed, suicidal and physically ill after the killing, and reported having difficulty sleeping while in custody.

He was initially charged with first-degree murder, but pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of second-degree murder in October, 2012.

In arguing that he be sentenced as an adult, Crown prosecutor Christina Godlewski told Justice Robin Baird there are a few factors to consider when deciding whether to sentence someone as an adult, including the seriousness of the crime, the age and maturity of the accused and any previous record.

But Godlewski said one of the more paramount considerations is that it be “sufficient to hold the person accountable.”

A youth sentence should only be applied when the sentence will be meaningful enough to address the offense, she said.

An adult sentence for second-degree murder is life imprisonment.

The Crown said if a youth sentence is applied, it should be the maximum length allowed, seven years.

Szendrei’s parents attended the hearing Monday, but did not speak to media.

The hearing continues.

@diakiw

 

Surrey North Delta Leader

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