WHY YES I DO MICHAEL C. HALL.
Number One: Ted Fucking Bundy.
…Um, I haven’t figured out the rest of the list.
So, before we get into this week’s true crime story, I just want to ask: have you seen Zac Efron as Ted Bundy for the upcoming biopic “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile“? I am shooketh.
I will admit, I definitely felt like screaming WHY GOD WHYYYYYYYYYYY when I heard Efron had been cast, but seeing this shot really calms my skepticism. I’ll reserve full judgement until I see his portrayal, but so far so good.
April 2006. Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada.
Jeremy Steinke was 23 years old. His clothing of choice was anything black. He rimmed his eyes with black liner. He wore a vial of blood around his neck and told people he was a 300-year-old werewolf. He liked the taste of blood and punk music.
He was everything Jasmine Richardson thought was cool. They met at a concert in early 2006. She quickly fell in love with him.
Jasmine was 12 years old.
Jasmine’s parents, Marc and Debra, noticed a drastic change in their beloved daughter after that concert. She went from being a happy and bright kid to a despondent, moody preteen who only wanted to wear black. They sought out the source of the change. When they found a 23-year-old self-proclaimed werewolf, they were, understandably, shocked and furious.
Marc and Debra punished Jasmine for dating Steinke, the age disparity being their biggest issue. Even Jasmine’s friends had criticized the “creepy” relationship. But Jasmine didn’t like being told what to do or who to date. She loved Jeremy and nothing was going to keep them apart.
Jasmine sent the following message to Steinke through email: “I have this plan. It starts with me killing them and ends with me living with you.”
Steinke replied, “Well I love your plan but we need to get a little more creative with like details and stuff.”
On April 23rd, 2006 at 1pm, the bodies of Marc and Debra were found in their basement by a neighbour’s child.
Steinke, fuelled by booze, ecstasy, cocaine, and pot, broke in through a basement window and stabbed Jasmine’s mother 12 times, including in the heart. While Debra fought off her attacker, Marc woke up and rushed to her aide. Marc got a shot in on Steinke, stabbing him in the eye with his own knife, but ultimately Marc didn’t win the fight. Marc was stabbed 22 times, including 9 times in the back.
“He fought to the end,” MHPS Chief Andy McGrogan says, “He was a warrior. He just didn’t have the same tools that the other guy did.”
With his last breaths, the father asked Steinke why he was doing this, which came with a chilling response.
“It’s what your daughter wanted.”
Jasmine and Jeremy headed upstairs to search out her 8-year-old brother, Jacob, and found him in bed. Jacob was stabbed and then had his throat cut from ear-to-ear. Neither Jasmine or Steinke would admit to killing the little boy.
Then Jasmine and Jeremy fled.
Insp. Brent Secondiak, a staff sergeant with the Medicine Hat Police Service at the time, got the call from dispatch about a child worried he’d seen bodies in the basement. Secondiak approached the scene, put on his tactical gear and entered the house, thinking he could possibly save a life. He called other officers to the scene, where they realized someone from the home was missing. 12-year-old Jasmine.
“I truly believed that this person was missing and possibly abducted,” Secondiak said. “It wasn’t even in the realm of possibility that she was an accused.”
Police issued an amber alert. But a search of Jasmine’s room, her school locker and her diaries, quickly led them to understand she had actually planned the crime.
“It was a huge shocker that she had any part of that because it was so horrific. “I couldn’t imagine someone so young doing something so horrific,” Secondiak said.
Located the next day, 130km away in Leader, Saskatchewan, the duo were arrested and charged with three counts of first-degree murder, each.
In November 2008, Steinke’s went on trial. His defence was that he was just an immature young man in love; that he was only doing what Jasmine had ordered him to do. But previous to trial, he had allegedly admitted to an undercover cop in prison, that he had participated in the murders willingly. And added: “Have you ever watched the movie Natural Born Killers? I think that’s the best love story of all time.” The couple had reportedly watched the movie just hours before deciding to commit their crimes.
Steinke was subsequently found guilty of all counts. He was sentenced to three life sentences, one for each count of first-degree murder, to be served concurrently. He will be eligible for parole after serving a minimum of twenty-five years.
On the stand at her own trial, Jasmine said she was only ever “kidding” about killing her family and didn’t think Jeremy would actually do it. When asked why she participated at all, she said: “I loved him so much. I thought it would bring us closer together.“
In Canada, under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, any child under the age of 14 at the time a crime is committed cannot be charged as an adult, and cannot be given more than a ten-year sentence.
On July 9, 2007, Jasmine became the youngest person in Canada to ever be convicted of first-degree murder when she was found guilty on all three charges. She was sentenced to the max penalty of ten years. Her sentence included credit for eighteen months served pre-trial, to be followed by four years in a psychiatric institution and four-and-a-half years under conditional supervision in the community.
In September 2011, Jasmine began attending classes at Mount Royal University in Calgary, Alberta, and her curfew was lifted. Shortly thereafter, she was released from a ten-year sentence at a psychiatric hospital. Few details about Jasmine’s psychiatric assessments were made public other than she was diagnosed with conduct disorder and oppositional defiant disorder.
In May 2016 her sentence was completed, and she was freed of any further court-ordered conditions, restrictions or supervision. In other words, Jasmine is a free woman. If she doesn’t commit any crimes for five years, the murders will be wiped from her record.
When McGrogan, an inspector when the murders happened, thinks of this case his response is no surprise.
“I think of the photos of the boy who had his throat slit from one end to another.”
Secondiak echoes this sentiment saying: “I’ve seen lots of bad scenes and lots of dead bodies, but very few children and very few children ever in that state,” he said.
When it comes to Jasmine’s ten-year sentence, Secondiak says he’s gone through a myriad of emotions.
“At one point I was mad. Mad that she wasn’t treated as an adult, but I’ve also gone the other way and felt sorry for her,” he said.
Now, he says he trusts the system.
“At one point I wanted her locked up forever. I don’t think I’m there now. I hope she moves on and becomes a productive member of society,” he said. “That’s tough coming from me. If you would’ve asked me five years ago I would’ve given you a different answer.”
And as awful as her crimes were, Secondiak doesn’t think she’s without hope.
“I don’t think she’s truly evil. I’ve met some of those people that are bad to the bone and she’s not one of them.”
So what do you think of this story, bloggers and readers? How do you feel that Jasmine is a free woman?
Until next time, Booknerds…