Canada’s youngest multiple killer is finally freed after 12 years of any further court-ordered conditions, restrictions, probation officers, therapists, psychologists, or judges, CBC News Calgary reports. Ten years ago, 12-year-old J.R. helped her older boyfriend kill her parents and little brother in Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada, because they disapproved of the 10-year age gap between the former lovebirds.
The girl, who can only be identified as J.R. under Canada’s Youth Criminal Justice Act, and then-boyfriend Jeremy Steinke, were convicted in 2007. J.R. was given a 10-year sentence, the maximum for offenders between 12-years-old and 14-years-old. According to reports, the sentence included four years in a psychiatric institution and four and a half years conditional supervision. Steinke, who was 23-years-old at the time of the killings, is serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole for 25 years.
Check out the video report about the case below.
During her final sentencing review in Medicine Hat, J.R. thanked the judge via closed-circuit TV, but she reportedly offered no apology when she addressed the court. Justice C.S. Brooker praised her commitment to rehabilitation, and even went so far as to say that J.R.’s parents and brother would be proud of her now. J.R., now 22-years-old, had been living in Calgary where she was enrolled in university. She has been a free woman since May 7.
During her initial trial, it was argued that she and Steinke plotted to kill her parents and then run away together after being inspired by Steinke’s favorite movie Natural Born Killers. Friends testified that Steinke believed he was a 300-year-old werewolf. He was also obsessed with vampires and liked the taste of blood. A friend of Steinke told investigators that Jeremy met J.R. at a punk rock show in early 2006.
The multiple murders occurred on April 23, 2006. Steinke admitted in court that he stabbed J.R.’s father, Marc Richardson and his wife, Debra, after he quietly crept into the family’s home, but he argued in court that he did not plan the killings. He also said that it was J.R. who cut her little brother’s throat open. Steinke confessed that he stabbed the mother after she found him hiding in the basement and after her screams alerted her husband. Mr. Richardson came running with a small screwdriver and charged after Steinke, who then stabbed him, too. According to Global News, the husband “died in a fighter’s stance, his arms still raised above him with loose fists.”
Canada’s youngest multiple killer will be a free woman tomorrow: https://t.co/x4V3flUG6l
— Melissa Ramsay (@MeliRamsay) May 6, 2016
Steinke, who is now 33-years-old, and J.R. were arrested a day after the murders in a town 90 minutes away from her home. Local media identified the victims as members of the Richardson family. The daughter and Steinke were each convicted on three counts of first-degree murder. J.R. turned 13 before being convicted. At trial, police officers became emotional as they recalled seeing the body of her little brother on his bed with a deep slash to his throat and his eyes and mouth wide open. Inspector Brent Secondiak with the Medicine Hat Police Service was the first on the murder scene.
“It was horrific, it was gruesome, it was something I never wanted to see again,” Secondiak said. “I’ve come to terms with it, but it wasn’t pretty. It was the worst scene I’ve ever had.”
Freed after 12 years, many wonder what’s next for this young woman who gets to quietly navigate through life, quite possibly anonymously, with only the legal system and her incarcerated former lover privy of the full extent of her heinous crime. Steinke is now reportedly going by the name Jackson.
[Image via Shutterstock]