The man who was accused of firing the shot that killed 15-year-old Jane Creba in a Boxing Day shooting spree in 2005 has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.

Jeremiah Valentine, 27, faces an automatic sentence of life imprisonment. A judge ruled Tuesday afternoon that Valentine will not be eligible for parole for 12 years but noted that he would have faced a much stiffer ruling if the case had gone to trial.

Justice John McMahon said he accepted Valentine's expression of remorse, saying he seemed genuine.

According to an agreed statement of facts that was read out in court, Valentine was at the Foot Locker store on Yonge Street, just north of the Eaton Centre, looking to buy shoes for his young son when he was approached by a group of young men.

Valentine said at one point the men showed him they were carrying weapons and began intimidating him and trying to rob him of a gold chain he was wearing.

The group left the store and carried on their argument outside.

At some point, Valentine pulled out a gun he was carrying and fired a shot. The group of men fired back sparking a gunbattle on the busy street.

Creba, who had been at Sam the Record Man across the street, walked right into the path of the crossfire as she made her way to an adjacent pizza shop to use the washroom.

The court heard Tuesday that while forensics could not determine with certainty that the bullet from Valentine's gun was the one that killed Creba, the Crown believed it was most likely the case.

More suspects await trial

The guilty plea is the latest development in a murder case that at one point saw nine people charged in connection to the crime.

In November, the Crown prosecutor dropped charges against four suspects, saying there was a slim chance of conviction.

One suspect, Jorrell Simpson-Rowe was convicted of second-degree murder during a high-profile trial in Dec. 2008. Simpson-Rowe was a minor when the shooting occurred but he was given an adult sentence with no possibility of parole for 10 years.

Three adults are still awaiting trial.

Jane Creba was one of seven innocent bystanders injured in the gunfight on Dec. 26, 2005.

Dec. 26, also known as Boxing Day, is one of the busiest shopping days of the year.

Creba, who was shopping with her mother and sister just north of the Eaton Centre, was the only one who was fatally struck.