Guilty plea in murder

The man who killed Tracey Ann Guthrie has been sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty to first-degree murder in the January 2006 slaying of the 39-year-old Surrey woman.

Steven Joseph Vezina of Quebec will serve at least 25 years in jail before he becomes eligible for parole.

Guthrie was discovered dead near Vancouver City Hall on Jan. 30, two days after she walked away from the Vancouver General Hospital (VGH) ward where she was undergoing treatment for tuberculosis.

At the time, police said the killing was a random act.

Vezina, a homeless man, was arrested in Calgary two months later.

At a Friday Vancouver Police Department press conference, Guthrie’s sister Robyn Brandow told reporters the family was grateful to be spared the gruesome details of a lengthy trial.

“We don’t want to relive Tracey’s last horrific moments of her life.”

The motive for the murder was not disclosed.

Guthrie was under a court order to get treatment for a potentially contagious case of tuberculosis when she was admitted to VGH.

She frequented Surrey’s Whalley area and was an occasional visitor to the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver.

Guthrie was not a sex trade worker and was only known to have committed relatively minor breaches of the law.

Her family said she was a funny and vivacious young woman whose life became a struggle with substance abuse and serious health problems.

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