Richardson family murders

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The Richardson family murders are the murders of three members of the Richardson family in Medicine Hat, Alberta in April 2006.[1] The murders were devised and committed by the family's 12-year-old daughter and her 23-year-old boyfriend Jeremy Steinke.

Contents

Discovery

At 1:00 pm on 23 April 2006, the bodies of husband Marc Richardson, aged 42, and wife Debra, 48, were found in the basement of their home,[2] and the body of their son Jacob, aged 8, was discovered upstairs.[3][4][5] Absent from the home at that time was the couple's 12-year-old daughter.[3][6] For a time it was feared that she might have been a victim, but she was arrested the following day in the community of Leader, Saskatchewan, about 130 kilometres (81 mi) away, with her 23-year-old boyfriend Jeremy Allan Steinke; both were charged with the three murders.[6][7] Later, on May 3, 2006, Steinke's friend Kacy Lancaster, 19, was charged with being an accessory, for later in the day, driving them away in her pick up and for disposing of evidence.[8]

Motive

According to friends of the daughter, the girl's parents had punished her for dating Steinke,[9] due to the age disparity.[10] Her friends had also criticized their relationship.[10] Shortly after her arrest, Steinke asked her to marry him, and she agreed.[11]

According to friends of Steinke, he told them he was a 300-year-old werewolf.[12] He allegedly told his friends that he liked the taste of blood, and wore a small vial of blood around his neck.[13] He also had a user account at the VampireFreaks.com web site.[14] The girl had a page at the same site, leading to speculation they met there.[15] However, an acquaintance of Steinke later said the couple actually met at a punk rock show in early 2006.[16] The couple were also found to be communicating at Nexopia, a popular web site for young Canadians.[17] Various messages they sent to each were available to the public, before the accounts were removed by Nexopia staff.[17] The daughter's user page, under the name "runawaydevil", falsely said she was 15 and ended with the text "Welcome to my tragic end".[18]

Just hours prior to committing the murders, Steinke and some friends reportedly watched the film Natural Born Killers, a 1994 film about a young couple who commit a violent spree of killings. Steinke asserted to his friends that he and his girlfriend should go about their plans in a similar manner, but without sparing his girlfriend's young brother.[19] Steinke said to an undercover officer: 'You ever watch the movie Natural Born Killers?... I think that's the best love story of all time...'.[20]

Legal outcome

Under the Youth Criminal Justice Act the name of the daughter could no longer be published in Canada after she became a suspect. Under the same act, twelve is the youngest possible age at which a person can be charged with a crime; convicts who were under fourteen years of age at the time they committed a crime cannot be sentenced as adults, and cannot be given more than a ten-year sentence.[21]

On July 9, 2007, the girl was found guilty of three counts of first-degree murder in the killings.[22] On November 8, 2007, she was sentenced to the maximum penalty of ten years imprisonment.[23] Her sentence included credit for eighteen months already spent in custody, to be followed by four years in a psychiatric institution and four-and-a-half years under conditional supervision in the community.

On December 15, 2008, Steinke was sentenced to three life sentences on each of three counts of first-degree murder. The sentences are to be served concurrently; Steinke will be eligible for parole after serving twenty-five years.[24]

In September 2011, the girl is now a freshman at the University of Calgary who is in the final years of her sentence. She will be free one year after graduating in 2015.[25] [26]

The Richardsons' daughter is believed to be the youngest person ever convicted of a multiple murder in Canada.[22] Steinke admitted to the murder of the parents in conversation with an undercover police officer while in custody.[27]

The accessory to murder charge against their friend Kacy Lancaster was dropped and she pleaded guilty to an obstruction charge in Medicine Hat provincial court. She received one year house arrest as part of the plea bargain, and was ordered to refrain from drugs and alcohol.

See also

References

  1. ^ "Three bodies discovered in Medicine Hat home", ctv.ca, April 24, 2006.
  2. ^ Punch, Rachel. "Do youth sentences fit the crime?: Sensational cases aren't the norm, but spark calls for tougher sentences". The Sudbury Star. http://www.thesudburystar.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=1086366&auth=RACHEL+PUNCH. Retrieved 2008-07-02. [dead link]
  3. ^ a b Dohy, Leanne (2006-04-24). "Triple murder shocks city: Medicine Hat girl missing, family dead". Calgary Herald: p. A.1.. http://www.canada.com/topics/news/national/story.html?id=c3f96856-92e2-40da-b431-2a42761ae015&k=31322. Retrieved 2006-06-19. 
  4. ^ Sherri Zickefoose, Tony Seskus and Robert Remington, "Road to a massacre: Few could have predicted the bizarre twists after a young boy stumbles upon a triple slaying", National Post, April 29, 2006.
  5. ^ Zickefoose, Sherri, "Bodies of slain family flown to Ontario for funeral", National Post, May 1, 2006.
  6. ^ a b "12-year-old charged in Medicine Hat"[dead link], CBC.ca, April 24, 2006
  7. ^ "More charges possible in triple murders", Vancouver Sun, April 27, 2005.
  8. ^ Third person charged[dead link], Edmonton Journal, May 4, 2006
  9. ^ "Sudbury family mourn murder victims". Northern Life (Laurentian Media Group). 2006-04-27. http://www.northernlife.ca/News/LocalNews/2006/04-27-06-homicideTOP.asp. Retrieved 2006-06-19. 
  10. ^ a b Breakenridge, Dave, "Pre-teen's tryst 'gross' Friends of 12-year-old accused killer disapproved of boyfriend, 23", Calgary Sun, April 28, 2006.
  11. ^ Girl on trial for murder agreed to marry lover, Toronto Star, June 30, 2007.
  12. ^ "Mother Of Accused Family Killer Speaks Out Against Vilification Of Son"[dead link], CityTV Calgary, April 26, 2006.
  13. ^ "Chilling stories emerge; Mother of accused in triple slaying denies her son was a werewolf"[dead link], Daily Herald-Tribune, April 28, 2006.
  14. ^ Algar, Selim, "'VAMPIRE' BLOG AN EERIE SITE"[dead link], New York Post, April 29, 2006.
  15. ^ Reynolds, Richard, "Accused killer, 12, linked to goth site", The Sydney Morning Herald, April 28, 2006.
  16. ^ "Medicine Hat Murder Suspects Appear in Court"[dead link], 630 CHED AM, April 26, 2006.
  17. ^ a b Walton, Dawn, "Net holds dark hints on slayings: Pair accused in deaths of Alberta family posted messages on notorious websites"[dead link], The Globe and Mail, April 26, 2006.
  18. ^ Johnsrude, Larry, "Goths say Medicine Hat killings give them bad name", Edmonton Journal, April 26, 2006.
  19. ^ "Steinke, girlfriend smiled at murder coverage: Witness", Calgary Herald, November 27, 2008.
  20. ^ The Calgary Herald (19 November 2008). "Steinke: "You ever watch the movie Natural Born killers?"". CanWest MediaWorks Publications Inc.. http://www.canada.com/calgaryherald/news/story.html?id=ce5c240d-8254-4e64-a757-d00e501d5fea. Retrieved 2 June 2010. 
  21. ^ D'Aliesio, Renata, "If convicted, girl would be free in 10 years", Edmonton Journal, April 27, 2006.
  22. ^ a b "Medicine Hat girl guilty of first-degree murder". cbc.ca (CBC News). 2007-07-09. http://www.cbc.ca/canada/calgary/story/2007/07/09/med-hat.html. Retrieved 2007-09-10. 
  23. ^ "Teen gets maximum sentence for Medicine Hat killings". cbc.ca (CBC News). 2007-11-08. http://www.cbc.ca/canada/calgary/story/2007/11/08/girl-sentence.html. Retrieved 2007-11-08. 
  24. ^ "Steinke gets life in triple-murder". The Calgary Herald. 2008-12-16. http://www.canada.com/calgaryherald/news/story.html?id=67c05ce9-ef5b-491e-ae51-a705cef3b0e7. Retrieved 2009-07-24. 
  25. ^ http://www.globaltvcalgary.com/medicine+hat+girl+begins+university+in+calgary+after+killing+her+family+at+age+12/6442481559/story.html
  26. ^ http://news.gather.com/viewArticle.action?articleId=281474980423951
  27. ^ ctv news story

Further reading

External links