Antonia is a writer who is fascinated by mysteries and psychology. She writes many articles about criminal cases.
A 12-Year-Old Killer
When children murder, it's shocking. Even more shocking and unimaginable is when children murder their own parents. The youngest person ever charged with multiple counts of murder in Canada is Jasmine Richardson, who was 12 years old at the time of the crime. She and her then-23-year-old boyfriend, Jeremy Steinke, murdered not only her parents, Marc and Debra, but also her eight-year-old brother, Jacob, in cold blood.
On April 23rd, 2006, the bodies of Marc and Debra Richardson and their eight-year-old son were discovered in their home by a six-year-old boy who saw their bodies lying on the floor through a window. Marc and Debra's lifeless bodies were discovered lying on the ground on the first floor while little Jacob was found upstairs, lying on a bed. The police found that the couple's 12-year-old daughter, Jasmine Richardson, was missing from the home, and they feared that she had possibly been abducted. However, evidence started piling up quickly that ruled kidnapping out and pointed to her involvement in the murders.
The next day, on April 24th, 2006, Jasmine and her boyfriend Jeremy were located 100 miles away, and both were arrested and charged with three counts of first-degree murder.
What Happened and Why?
Twenty-three-year-old Jeremy Steinke was a goth and self-proclaimed 300-year-old werewolf who purportedly met 12-year-old Jasmine Richardson at a punk rock concert in 2006. Jasmine immediately became enamored with him and the goth lifestyle. They were in love; while awaiting trial behind bars, Jeremy even proposed to Jasmine through an exchange of jailhouse letters. She accepted.
When Jasmine's family found out about her 23-year-old werewolf boyfriend, they became furious, grounding her and forbidding her from seeing him. For Jasmine and Jeremy, this was reason enough for them to die.
Though Jasmine had discussed her plans to kill her parents with her friends on more than one occasion, none of them ever took her seriously. During the trial, she would claim that she never meant it; it was just "stupid talk." Unfortunately for her parents and her younger brother, it became a reality.
Evidence From Online Accounts
While searching for evidence and looking for a motive for the gruesome murders, the police came across multiple online accounts that belonged to both Jasmine and Jeremy. It would be easy to assume that Jeremy, being the older one in the relationship, was the one who came up with the plan, but their online accounts told a different tale.
Amongst the most telling were two messages; the first message, sent from Jasmine to Jeremy, read: "I have this plan. It begins with me killing them and ends with me living with you."
The other message was posted on a Windows Live Spaces account belonging to Jeremy, where he had written:
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!
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The Night of the Murder
Less than a month later, Jasmine's parents paid with their blood, just as Jeremy had written. On that fateful night, Steinke first attacked Jasmine's mother and father downstairs, stabbing them to death. He then went upstairs, where Jasmine proceeded to stab her little brother Jacob in the chest while he pled for his life. Jeremy then finished him off by slitting his throat. Jasmine testified in court that he was gurgling. She stated that the reason for their decision to kill her brother was that she thought it was cruel to leave him to live without his parents. Two hours after the death of her parents and brother, Jasmine and Jeremy were laughing and kissing at a nearby restaurant.
At trial, when she was asked why they murdered her parents and little brother, Jasmine said, "I loved him so much. I thought it would bring us closer together."
I loved him so much. I thought it would bring us closer together.
— Jasmine Richardson
Trial, Verdict, and Sentencing
Jasmine Richardson went on trial in June of 2007. She was 14 years old at the time. She pled not guilty to three counts of first-degree murder. The trial lasted approximately a month, and in July of 2007, after 3 hours of deliberation, the jury brought back the verdict: guilty on all three counts.
In November of 2007, Jasmine was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment, which is the maximum sentenced allowed by the Youth Criminal Justice act. The act states that any convicts who were under the age of 14 at the time they committed the act cannot be charged as adults and can be given a maximum sentence of 10 years.
Jasmine's sentence included credit for 18 months for time served, with four years to be spent in a psychiatric facility, followed by four-and-a-half under conditional supervision in the community.
In December of 2008, Jasmine Richardson's boyfriend and accomplice, Jeremy Steinke, was found guilty of three counts of first-degree murder and sentenced to three concurrent life sentences in prison. He will be eligible for parole after serving 25 years.
A book was written about this case: Runaway Devil: How Forbidden Love Drove a 12-Year-Old to Murder Her Family.
Update: Jasmine Has Been Released
Jasmine Richardson, as per the guidelines of her sentencing, was released in 2011 to serve time under conditional supervision in the community. In September 2011, she became a freshman at Mount Royal University in Calgary, Alberta. Her 10-year sentence was officially completed in 2016, and she was fully released from the criminal justice system.
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This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.