WARNING: This story contains details about a murder that may not be appropriate for all readers.
The man who killed a Nanaimo teenager has been handed a life sentence with no parole for 20 years.
Sentencing for Steven Michael Bacon, 58, happened in Nanaimo on Friday, April 14. Bacon was originally charged with the first-degree murder of Makayla Chang, 16 when she disappeared in March 2017. He pleaded guilty to second-degree murder last August.
Bacon strangled Chang to death, according to an agreed statement of facts. Gilbert Labine, Bacon’s legal representative, and Nick Barber, Crown counsel, entered a joint submission with Justice Robin Baird overseeing proceedings.
Bacon and Chang met in the summer of 2016 and formed a father-daughter type of relationship, said Barber, citing the statement. Bacon lied and said his own daughter had committed suicide and viewed the relationship with Chang as a second chance.
During an argument on March 17, 2017, Bacon pushed Chang, who fell and struck her head, the statement said. After putting her on the couch, he decided to choke her to death with his bare hands to avoid criminal ramifications. With the assistance of his landlord, Bacon buried the teenager’s body in a rural forested area near Nanaimo Lakes Road just after 4 a.m. March 18, 2017.
Bacon’s DNA turned up in Chang’s autopsy. He had sexual intercourse with her on the day of her death, Barber said, but Bacon claimed it was consensual.
In addition, a toxicology report revealed the teen had small amounts of methamphetamine and fentanyl in her blood, as well as compounds associated with cannabis.
Many of Chang’s relatives and friends, including father Kerry Chang and mother Janine Vautour, were in attendance in the packed courtroom. Kerry Chang, during a victim impact statement at sentencing, said he tried to die by suicide after his daughter’s murder by driving his car into trees. He called Bacon a “pedophile” and a “monster.”
Addressing the court, Bacon apologized for the harm he caused Makayla’s family. He said he destroyed so much, and there was nothing he could do to make it better or change it.
Kerry Chang finishes impact statement stating, “Farewell Steven Bacon, you piece of sh*t!”
— Karl Yu (@KarlYuBulletin) April 14, 2023
Following sentencing, Kerry Chang said he and his family have found a semblance of closure with the verdict although it “will never be over.” Preparing his impact statement was difficult, he said.
“I spent months writing that impact statement over and over, countless times,” he said. “I’ve been in recovery now for eight months and throughout it, it’s been a part of my recovery. For me to actually stand and read it, it took a lot for me, but this was all … justice for Makayla and we got justice today.”
Vautour said she never lost faith over the past six years.
“I knew who it was, right from Day 1,” said Vautour. “I said who it was, I said exactly how it happened and exactly what they said is exactly what I said. I just knew it. Moms know these things.”
Keanna Hoorn, one of Makayla’s friends, said earlier in the day that she was angry at Bacon and apprehensive about attending sentencing.
“He’s an excuse of a person,” said Hoorn. “I really hope that something very bad happens to him, to be honest. I’m scared that I’m going to hear everything that happened to her because I’m not fully sure of all the details and I don’t even know if I want to be because I keep thinking in my head of all the things that could’ve happened to her, how she felt and how scared she was and everything.”
Bacon was serving time at a maximum security prison in Ontario on an unrelated charge before being transferred back to B.C. in October 2021 to answer to the charges related to Chang.
A pre-sentence report was not entered as Labine said that Bacon thought there were too many inaccuracies in it.