A Canadian man who was just a few days short of his 18th birthday when he murdered 15-year-old Laura Szendrei in 2010 was sentenced as an adult to life in prison Friday.
The judge slapped him with a life sentence with no eligibility of parole until after seven years, according to Yahoo! News Canada
. If he had been ruled a minor, he would have received a seven-year sentence with the first four years served in custody and the remaining three possibly served in the community.
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Now 21 years old, the man pleaded guilty last year to bludgeoning Szendrei to death in a park in Delta, south of Vancouver, in September 2010. He told police he planned to knock her unconscious and rape her, but ended up beating her over the head with a metal pipe when she struggled to get away.
"This offense has upset this community's sense of well-being and serenity. The accused has, doubtless, struck enduring fear into the heart of every Delta parent," Judge Robin Baird reportedly said at sentencing.
The Szendrei family has long petitioned for him to be sentenced as an adult and many of them cheered during Friday's hearing.
"We can breathe again," Betty Rotaro, Laura Szendrei's grandmother, told Yahoo! News Canada. "We can try to put it behind us. At least we know that he got what he deserved."
The man has never been publically identified because his lawyers successfully barred his identity from being published, citing his age at the time of the crime and arguing that revealing his name would put him in danger.
He is also suspected in three other sexual assaults earlier in 2010.
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