WATCH: Cody Legebokoff has been found guilty on all four counts of first degree murder. Asa Rehman reports.
VANCOUVER – Accused serial killer Cody Legebokoff has been convicted on four counts of first degree murder; which makes him one of the youngest serial killers in Canada.
On Tuesday, Sept. 16, he was sentenced to life in prison with no parole for 25 years.
The jury delivered their unanimous guilty verdict to an “impassive” Legebokoff just before 6 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 11. The 24-year-old faces a life sentence in jail with a minimum parole of 25 years and he will be sentenced on Tuesday.
Legebokoff, who is from Fort St. James, was charged with four counts of first-degree murder, accused of killing young women around Prince George within a 14-month span in 2009.
He was accused of killing Jill Stuchenko and Cynthia Maas, both 35, 23-year-old Natasha Montgomery and 15-year-old Loren Leslie.
For family members of the victims the verdict was a relief.
“This verdict is bittersweet and at the same time it was extremely scary,” said Cynthia’s sister Judy Maas. “We weren’t sure how things were going to land… [The victims] were more than just a sex-trade worker or a drug addict or someone with mental health problems. Now we have a sense of justice of first degree murder and we’re really happy with that.”
But for the mother of Natasha, Louanne Montgomery, the trial doesn’t bring an end to her emotional despair because her daughter’s body has never been found.
“It’s not over for me,” she said. “I still don’t have Natasha back and I’d like to ask for people to please keep an eye out for her remains.”
Natasha’s grandfather, Bob Donovan said although the verdict was something that should have been, he couldn’t “take it today when they were playing [Legebokoff’s] testimony and how he murdered her.”
“I thought I was a big tough guy but I just couldn’t take it,” Donovan said.
Loren’s father, Doug Leslie said the trial was a “long-haul” and now “we have to go on with our lives in a positive direction” — but then added, “[Legebokoff] should never walk the streets ever.”
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In late August, Legebokoff admitted that he was present when Stuchenko, Maas and Montgomery died, but said he did not murder them and said Leslie killed herself.
The trial started in early June after being delayed several times.
Legebokoff recently tried to make a plea change to plead guilty to the lesser charge of second-degree murder, but Crown rejected the change. His defence counsel is asking for a second-degree murder conviction.
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The RCMP announced one murder charge against Legebokoff in November 2010 and three more in October 2011, when Legebokoff was 21 years old.
Leslie was last seen Nov. 27, 2010 and her body was found later that day, the same day Legebokoff was arrested. An RCMP officer had pulled Legebokoff over after he pulled onto the highway in Prince George from a logging road. When the officer traced the tracks he found Leslie’s body.
When the officer stopped Legebokoff’s vehicle, he told him he had been poaching deer as he had blood on his chin, legs and shoes. When questioned, he then said he had found Leslie’s body by accident and had panicked but he later told police he had met Leslie online and they had had sex. He said she then started panicking and hitting herself in the face and neck with a knife and a pipe wrench, killing herself.
Stuchenko was reported missing on Oct. 22, 2009, and her body was found four days later in a gravel pit outside Prince George. She suffered multiple blows to her head, face and arms.
Maas, who died from died blunt-force trauma to the head, was reported missing Sept. 23, 2010, and her body was found a few weeks later in a Prince George park.
Montgomery was reported missing on Sept. 23, 2010. Her body has never been found.
DNA belonging to the women have been found on Legebokoff’s clothing and in a residence where he lived at the time.
– With files from The Canadian Press
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