Steven Bacon, man who murdered Nanaimo teen Makayla Chang, sentenced to life with no parole for 20 years

Steven Bacon, man who murdered Nanaimo teen Makayla Chang, sentenced to life with no parole for 20 years

Steven Bacon, the man who pleaded guilty to murdering 16-year-old Nanaimo girl Makayla Chang last year has been sentenced to life in prison with no parole eligibility for at least 20 years.

Bacon was handed the sentence for Chang’s second-degree murder at the Nanaimo Courthouse Friday, where family members of the slain teen — including her parents — were present to hear the verdict.

“This is a chapter of our life that we need to not so much close, but find a sense of closure for and be able to move forward in our lives from here on,” said Makayla’s father, Kerry Chang, prior to the sentencing.

“[Makayla] was the biggest part of my life that existed so far, that’s why we’re here. We’re here for her today.”

Six years have passed since Chang vanished in March 2017.

Her sudden disappearance sparked an investigation and wide-scale search, vigils and then a hunt for Bacon, who she had been staying with briefly after leaving her grandmother’s over an argument over house rules.

“And that’s why she was even talking to this man,” said Keeana Horn, a friend of Makayla’s.

Court heard that a friend dropped the 16-year-old off at Bacon’s home and shortly afterwards an argument broke out between her and Bacon. Bacon pushed Chang and she fell and hit her head.

“He put her on the couch and after about 15 minutes he made the decision to strangle her with his bare hands to avoid any criminal ramifications from the push. He strangled her for about 10 minutes until he was sure she was dead,” said prosecutor Nicholas Barber while reading from an agreed statement of facts.

Her body was found in May of that year, with police deeming it a homicide leaving family and friends devastated.

Bacon was initially charged with first-degree murder and had pleaded not guilty, but eventually changed his plea for the lesser charge.

The minimum sentence for second-degree murder in Canada is life in prison with no chance of parole for at least 10 years, though sentences can range up to no parole for 25 years.

Asked after the sentencing how she felt about the sentence, Makayla’s mother Janine Vautour said she felt “grateful” that the judge came down on the harsher side of the parole decision.

Kerry Chang said while sitting behind Bacon in court, he just wanted his daughter’s murderer to know that he’s torn their family apart.

“I just want him to know the impact that he’s had on our family and the traumas that we’ve had to live through for the last six years. It’s been hell for us, it really has,” said Kerry.

The parents also addressed the youth of Nanaimo, in hopes of preventing a nightmare similar to the one he and his family have had to endure — one that started with an argument.

“Listen to your parents,” he said. “We’re not trying to be hard on you, we’re not trying to hold you back from life, we want to be able to see you prosper and have a life.”

The parents thanked community members, investigators and the courts for their support through the ordeal, saying the sentencing was a “long time coming” as they begin to move on from this tragic chapter.

With files from CHEK’s Skye Ryan.


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