NANAIMO — Steven Michael Bacon has pleaded guilty to the second-degree murder of a Nanaimo teenager five years ago.
Sixteen-year-old Makayla Chang disappeared in March 2017. Her body was found two months later.
Bacon, 61, was initially charged with first-degree murder of the teen he called his “Dearest Baby Bird” and “the most precious person he has ever known.” He reported her disappearance to Nanaimo RCMP.
No members of Makayla’s family were present in B.C. Supreme Court Monday as Bacon, shackled at the ankles and handcuffed, was brought into the room by sheriffs. He stared ahead, breathing deeply, wearing a long-black T-shirt covered with images of skulls.
Bacon, a heavy-set man with thinning white hair, a bushy beard, eyeglasses and numerous tattoos, stood and told Justice Robin Baird: “I plead guilty, Your Honour.”
Defence lawyer Gilbert Lavine asked the judge to order the creation of a presentence report.
Second-degree murder carries an automatic life sentence. The issue at sentencing will be how much time Bacon must serve before he is eligible for parole.
Sentencing is expected to take place in early 2023. An agreed statement of fact has been prepared. Crown and defence lawyers are expected to make a joint submission.
In April 2017, Nanaimo search-and-rescue crews combed through the ravine area of Colliery Dam Park and Cat Stream Park looking for clues to Makayla’s whereabouts.
The RCMP and a tactical team executed search warrants twice at 609 Bruce Ave., where Bacon lived in the basement suite and where Makayla was known to stay. Police searched both inside and outside the property. They also did a grid search of a vacant property at 601 Bruce Ave.
Bacon was arrested in Fredericton, N.B., in September 2019 after Nanaimo RCMP made a Canada-wide appeal for help locating him as a person of interest in the case. He was charged with Makayla’s murder in September 2020 and pleaded not guilty to the crime in October 2020.
Bacon was brought to Nanaimo from the Central North Correctional Centre in Penetanguishene, Ont., where he was being held on other charges.