"Richardson testified that her brother began to cry and pleaded for his life. "I'm scared. I'm too young to die," Richardson recounted as her brother’s last words, before stabbing him in the chest."
Jeremy Allan Steinke and Jasmine Richardson
In April 2006, 12-year-old Jasmine Richardson became the youngest person ever charged with multiple counts of murder in Canada, for her part in the cold-blooded murder of her parents and little brother. The crime sent shock waves throughout the country and made headlines around the world. Both Richardson and her boyfriend, 23-year-old Jeremy Steinke, were active on the Internet. In the aftermath of their arrests, investigators uncovered several accounts that begged closer investigation.
A famous killer fits under many categories, serial killer, mass murderer, cult killings, stalker. Who are they?
Famous Crime Cases and Famous Killers
On April 23, 2006, a 6-year-old boy in Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada, told his parents he saw a body lying on the floor of their neighbor’s house. Concerned, the young boy’s parents notified police and a unit was quickly dispatched to 304 Cameron Road.
When officers entered the two-story home, they discovered the bodies of Marc Richardson, 42, and his wife Debra, 48, sprawled out on the home’s first floor. In an upstairs bedroom they discovered the lifeless body of the Richardson’s son, 8-year-old Jacob, lying on a bed.
The key question among investigators was, who? And why?
After questioning neighbors, detectives realized the Richardson’s daughter, 12-year-old Jasmine Richardson, was missing, and possibly the victim of a kidnapping. However, as the investigation progressed, evidence quickly pointed to her involvement in the murders.
On April 24, 2006, police located Richardson and Steinke, 100 miles away in the town of Leader. Both suspects were arrested at the scene and later charged with three counts of first-degree murder.
Police alleged that Richardson and Steinke’s secret relationship was the motive behind the murders. Marc and Debra had recently forbid the two from having contact with each other, a move that had angered both young lovers.
As the investigation continued, detectives soon learned that Richardson had Internet profiles on MySpace, VampireFreaks.com and Zorpia.com.
Richardson’s MySpace profile contained little information, other than her personal "heroes," including notorious serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer and death metal musician Marilyn Manson.
A profile Richardson maintained at Zorpia.com listed her last login as Saturday, Feb. 25, 2006. Richardson had uploaded three photos to the Web site that were somewhat deceptive, because her clothing and makeup made her look well beyond her 12 years.
Richardson also had a profile at VampireFreaks.com, an "industrial music and gothic culture" Web site, where users can post information and photos and communicate with others. In her profile, Richardson described herself as "bisexual, Wiccan, nocturnal, awkward, loud, a deep thinker and insane." She listed her interests as "unnatural hair colors, dark poetry, criminal psychology, blood, human anatomy and kinky s--t."
More telling were the profiles maintained by Steinke.
In a profile at Bolt.com, he described himself as a "gothic individual" who believed in "Blood, Destruction, Guts, Gore & Greed." He wrote: "Am I God's champion or Satan's angel? Roses are red, Roses have thorns, Hell hath no fury, like a little girl scorned! Here's a quote that I think has alot [sic] to say, ‘Never regret something that once made you happy!’"
Like Richardson, Steinke also had a profile at VampireFreaks.com. He listed his interests as "freestyle BMX, skateboarding, snowboarding, gothic beings, my '81 Firebird, mosh pits, loud Music, peircings [sic], tattoos, scarification, pain, kinky fetishes, heavy metal, blood, razorblades, the dark, the moon, Mindfreaks Criss Angel, The Stars, eyeliner, gothic individuals, poetry, dark clothing, aggressiveness, biting, nails, Lycan's & My Girlfriend!"
Of his three online profiles, the most interesting proved to be one he kept at Windows Live Spaces. In an April 3, 2006, posting he allegedly wrote:
"Payment! My Lover's rents are totally unfair; they say that they really care; they don't know what is going on the [sic] just assume. As their greed continues to consume, she is slowly going insane. She continues to thank that I came, into her life to help her out, and to stop what they keep trying to shout. It's all total bullshit. Their throats I want to slit. They will regret the shit they have done. Especially when I see to it that they are gone. They shall pay for their insulince [sic]. Finally there shall be silence. Their blood shall be payment!"
Unfortunately, less than four weeks later, those promises became a reality.
Because of Canada’s Youth Criminal Justice Act, Richardson’s name went widely unreported in Canada and police were hesitant to release information on the case. However, by the start of her trial, in summer 2007, many U.S. outlets had already published many pertinent facts about the case.
On June 4, 2007, Jasmine Richardson, now 14, stood before Court of Queen's Bench Judge Scott Brooker and pled not guilty to three counts of first-degree murder.
During the proceedings, prosecutor Stephanie Cleary told the courtroom that the murders were premeditated and that Richardson was an active participant.
Two of the prosecution’s key witnesses, neither of whom has been identified, told the court that prior to the murders Richardson had made her intent to kill her parents clear; however, neither thought she was serious.
"I didn't think she meant it," one of the witnesses testified. "I thought she was saying it out of anger."
Cleary also entered into evidence a stack of jailhouse letters exchanged between Richardson and Steinke after their arrest. In one of those letters, marked Exhibit 68, Richardson wrote:
"Never has a person affected me so much. Always will there be something missing without you with me. My lawyer tells me we're ledgends, ha, closer to imortality it would seem." [sic throughout].
In his reply, Crown Exhibit 69, Steinke asked Richardson for her hand in marriage. That letter read in part:
"I love you more than life its self, I've added you to my visitors lists so once your released please visit often. Never forget how much I care or that I love you. We can keep writing each other till we can be together again. Without you this life isn’t worth living… U said you want to get engaged? Then here's a Q...Will U marry me? If so then it is a verbal agreement!" [sic throughout].
Richardson’s reply, marked Exhibit 70, read in part:
"Ahahaha! I never thought I'd find myself hystericaly laughing in a holding cell in these kinds of circumstances...or ever really. But still! ahaha you make me so happy! Yes! Yes! I will, I would love to… Interesting information I came across. Anything you can say to anyone, including a phycistrist, unless issued by a lawyer can be used against you! For f--ks sake. Rawr. The world really is against us." [sic throughout].
In their letters, neither Richardson nor Steinke mentioned any guilt or remorse over the crimes, instead focusing on their relationship and their own predicament, which they seemed to view as only a temporary setback. The letters also stood in contrast to statements Richardson made to the court when she took the stand on July 3, 2007.
When asked if she had discussed killing her parents prior to the murders, Richardson admitted having conversations about killing her parents, but claimed she was not serious.
"In my group of friends, it was just the way we talked," Richardson testified. "It was just stupid talk. Every time I said that, I never meant it. I was angry. I didn't mean it. Everybody else knew I didn't mean it."
Confronted by the letters and asked why she had written that they were "legends" and "immortal," Richardson replied:
"I was told the media were going crazy over this," she said. "That's our five minutes of fame. Immortality means people will remember you."
The prosecution focused the remainder of its case on the day the murders took place. Thinking back, Richardson said she was not with Steinke when he attacked her mother and father and that she was upstairs with her brother, trying to cover his ears so he would not hear their cries for help.
"It was horrible, I didn't want him to hear it," she testified.
Richardson said that when he was finished, Steinke came upstairs and told her to kill her little brother.
"He yells at me, ‘Stab him, just stab him! Slit his throat!’ I said, ‘I can't, I can't,’ and he said, ‘You have to. I did this for you.’"
Richardson testified that her brother began to cry and pleaded for his life. "I'm scared. I'm too young to die," Richardson recounted as her brother’s last words, before stabbing him in the chest.
"Not very hard," Richardson said. "It was somewhere in his upper body. It went to the side."
Richardson said that Steinke then took the knife from her and cut the boy’s throat.
"He was gurgling," she testified.
When Richardson stepped down from the stand, the prosecution wrapped up its case and closing arguments began. The prosecution cited the case as premeditated murder, while Richardson’s lawyer, Tim Foster, contended that Steinke was the real perpetrator and his client was a victim of circumstance.
After a three-hour deliberation, on July 10, 2007, a jury found Richardson guilty of three counts of first-degree murder. Afterward, Judge Brooker ordered a psychological assessment of Richardson. According to that report, submitted to the court in October 2007, Richardson suffered from "conduct disorder" and "oppositional defiance disorder."
On Nov. 8, 2007, Judge Brooker sentenced Jasmine Richardson to the maximum 10-year sentence allowed by the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
"The circumstances surrounding these murders are horrific," Brooker said. "It is difficult to imagine a more horrific crime than this.
"You can never undo what you did to your mom, dad and brother," Brooker said. "However, what you can do is honor their memory by dedicating your life to becoming the woman your parents and brother would be proud of."
Richardson will serve four years of her sentence in a psychiatric hospital, at which time she will be released back into the public for four and a half years of court-ordered supervision.