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Medicine Hat, Canada — One of the cases that has fascinated me over the years is the Richardson family murders in Medicine Hat, Canada. Back in April 2006, Marc Richardson, 42, and his wife Debra, 48, were found in stabbed to death in the basement of their home. Their 8-year-old son, Jacob, was found dead on his bed with a slit throat. Their 12-year-old daughter, Jasmine Richardson, was no where to be found.

When the reports first started coming out, investigators feared the young girl had been abducted. But to everyone’s surprise the girl was arrested the following day, along with her 23-year-old boyfriend Jeremy Steinke, each charged with the murder of the girl’s family. The motive? Jasmine’s parents had forbid her from seeing the much older Jeremy.

The pair had some interesting conversations online, including one to Jeremy from Jasmine that read  “I have this plan.  It begins with me killing them and ends with me living with you.”  Jeremy replied “I love your plan but we need to get a little more creative with like details and stuff.”

On the night of the murders, Jeremy ambushed Debra and Marc in their basement, stabbing them both to death. The medical examiner told a jury that Debra had been stabbed 12 times while Marc, who fought for his life, was stabbed 24 times. Steinke told an undercover officer that at one point Marc looked up and asked, “Why?” and Jeremy replied “‘cause you treat your daughter like shit, she wanted it this way.”

The pair then went upstairs to deal with a frightened Jacob, who Jasmine felt was too sensitive to be an orphan. He was at the top of the stairs in his underwear pleading for his life. Jasmine stabbed him in the chest. Jacob ran to his room only to be followed by the pair. Jasmine tried to strangle her brother before settling on slitting his throat. Jasmine testified that her brother gurgled as he lay dying.

After the murders, the pair met at a friends house where the bragged and laughed about what they had done and then had sex and planned a gothic wedding. They were arrested the following day almost 100 miles away after police began interviewing her friends. They had found one of Jasmine’s drawings that depicted her lighting her family on fire and running to Jeremy’s truck.

But even jail couldn’t keep these two apart, Jeremy even proposing to Jasmine in a jailhouse letter that read:

“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!”

Jasmine responded:

“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… “

In July 2007, Jasmine made Canadian legal history after being found guilty of three counts of first-degree murder and becoming the youngest person ever convicted of multiple murders. In November 2007 she was sentenced to the maximum penalty of ten years imprisonment, to be followed by four years in a psychiatric institution and four-and-a-half years under conditional supervision.

In December 2008, Steinke was also found guilty of three counts of first-degree murder and sentenced to three life sentences to be served concurrently. He’ll be eligible for parole after serving twenty-five years.

Psychiatric pre-sentencing reports described Jasmine as suffering from oppositional defiance disorder and conduct disorder. At the beginning of her therapy, she was said to have suffered from dependency issues, anxiety and depression, and was prone to immature problem-solving and wishful fantasies.

In 2008, it was reported she was making progress, but that her interpretation of facts surrounding the crime was “troubling.” In 2010, it was said she was making “significant progress” in intensive young offender rehabilitation and earning straight A’s in school.

Yesterday a judge deemed Jasmine, now a Calgary university freshman, a low risk for future violence and fit to re-enter the community.

Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Scott Brooker said the latest psychologist report shows Jasmine is cooperating fully with staff within the treatment program and has displayed “exemplary behavior.”  At the end of her hearing, Jasmine stated she was grateful and the her treatment had helped her to grow.

She will be allowed to live in an Alberta residence approved by her probation officer beginning in November. She will have to report to authorities once a week and notify her probation officer if she moves. She’ll also be be under a daily curfew, continue with her treatments, not use drugs or possess weapons and will have her social networking site activity monitored.

If you would like to read a really book about this case, definitely check out Runaway Devil. It’s very well written and pretty accurate.

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