An Oliver man was sentenced for a 2018 murder Tuesday

23 years for Oliver killer

UPDATE: 3:45 p.m.

Sean McKenzie will spend at least the next 23 years behind bars.

The Oliver man pleaded guilty to the second-degree murder of Belgian hitchhiker Amelie Sakkalis near the Trans-Canada Highway in August 2018. 

Tuesday afternoon, Justice Martha Devlin sentenced McKenzie to life in prison with no chance of parole for at least 23 years, as reported by CTV News. The maximum sentence second-degree murder can carry is 25 years without parole.

Sakkalis had been working in Penticton as a fruit picker, before she attempted to hitchhike to Vancouver. McKenzie picked her up north of Boston Bar on Aug. 22, 2018.

In her sentencing, Justice Devlin noted Sakkalis' body had injuries that were consistent with her fighting for her life. McKenzie sexually assaulted Sakkalis before stabbing and killing her. 

McKenzie, who had no prior criminal record, will be added to Canada's national sex offender registry.

ORIGINAL: 12:20 p.m.

A sentencing hearing is underway in New Westminster Tuesday for an Oliver man who murdered a Belgian tourist in August 2018.

Despite initially being charged with first-degree murder, 27-year-old Sean McKenzie pleaded guilty to the second-degree murder of 28-year-old Amelie Sakkalis, who had been hitchhiking across B.C. and had made stops in the South Okanagan.

Sakkalis' body was found near Highway 1 north of Boston Bar on Aug. 22, 2018. McKenzie was found nearby and was immediately arrested.

The court heard Tuesday that McKenzie sexually assaulted Sakkalis and stabbed her repeatedly, as reported by CTV News. The Crown called the attack “exceptionally brutal” and “unprovoked.”

McKenzie has no prior criminal record, and his family say they are stunned by the murder. McKenzie's lawyer said McKenzie “has no answer” for why he committed the murder.

Sentencing submissions wrapped up Tuesday morning, and a decision is expected to be delivered at 3 p.m.

Second-degree murder carries an automatic life sentence with no chance of parole for at least 10 to 25 years. The Crown is seeking at least 23 years before McKenzie is eligible for parole.

– with files from CTV Vancouver

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