It was April 23, 2006 when three members of a certain Richardson family were stabbed to death in Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada. The murders were planned and committed by the family’s 12-year-old daughter, known only as J.R., and her 23-year-old boyfriend, Jeremy Steinke. The daughter received a 10-year-sentence-four years in a psychiatric institution and 4.5 years under conditional supervision in the community-and as of May 7 of this year, she will be free.
The crimes themselves were particularly brutal, including slitting the accused six-year-old brother’s neck and then attacking the father. As Steinke stabbed him to death, the dad asked why he was doing this. “It’s what your daughter wanted,” Steinke responded.
Vice reports that Insp. Brent Secondiak, a staff sergeant with the Medicine Hat Police Service at the time of the murders, said: “I’ve seen lots of bad scenes and lots of dead bodies, but very few children and very few children ever in that state.”
If the brutality of the crimes wasn’t enough, the story just got weirder as reporters learned more about J.R. and Steinke. The two were members of a website called VampireFreaks.com and spoke about drinking blood. Steinke told people he was a 300-year-old werewolf. There was a picture of J.R. online in heavy, dark makeup posing with a realistic replica handgun.
The duo were part of the local punk/metal/goth community. They met at a punk show. When dressed in her darker persona, J.R. definitely didn’t look 12.
Her parents didn’t approve of this relationship with a much older man. From all accounts, they handled the situation appropriately. They let J.R. go to concerts, but one of her parents had to go with her.
As the forbidden relationship grew, the couple exchanged emails where J.R. said things like: “I have this plan. It starts with me killing them and ends with me living with you.”
Media also report that the two shared a passion for “Natural Born Killers,” Oliver Stone’s 1994 movie about two young serial killers who get their start by killing the girl’s parents.
At the trial, J.R. said she was “kidding” about murdering her family and never thought Steinke would go through with it. She was given the maximum possible sentence for a child her age and Steinke was convicted on three counts of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison without parole for 25 years.
Recently while on conditional supervision in the community, J.R. has had the chance to take classes at Calgary’s Mount Royal University, and her lawyers say she’s the “poster child” for rehabilitation.