A 13-year-old girl accused of killing a Medicine Hat family broke down on the witness stand Tuesday while admitting to stabbing her eight-year-old brother who was pleading for his life. She said that she did it only because her boyfriend told her to.
She is accused of murdering her parents and eight-year-old brother in April 2006.
Taking the stand in her own defense she testified that it was her much older boyfriend Jeremy Steinke who actually killed her family.
The girl who can't be identified under provisions of the Youth Criminal Justice Act,, then 12, said she had been forced to knife her little brother by her adult boyfriend, who only moments earlier had slain both her parents. The girl, , told the jury in a barely audible voice that Steinke was panting and covered in her parents' blood as he climbed the bedroom stairs that fateful night in April 2006.
She said she was armed with a kitchen knife for self-defense and was standing near her brother when Steinke saw her weapon and ordered her to kill the boy.
"He yells at me, `Stab him, and just stab him! Slit his throat!"' the teen testified. Steinke insisted, she said, saying, "I did this for you."
I was thinking 'I can't, I can't do that,' I think I said it and he was like 'you have to do it,'" she testified.
She told the court her younger brother pleaded for his life, saying: "I'm scared. I'm too young to die."
After she stabbed her brother, the girl said Steinke slit his throat while she looked away.
"He was gurgling," she testified.
The murders happened about one week after the accused and Steinke had sex for the first time. She testified how her boyfriend broke into her family's home through a basement window, fought with her parents and killed them.
After three weeks of Crown evidence about the grisly crime scene and a rebellious adolescent who hated her parents and the rules they tried to impose, Tuesday's testimony was the first time the jury heard full details of the murderous encounter.
She also said she blamed herself for the Richardson family killings because she told her boyfriend she wished they were dead.
"If I didn't say those things, it wouldn't have happened," said the girl, believed to be the youngest person in Canadian history to testify in her own defense to a triple homicide.
She was angry because her parents grounded her and took away her computer privileges in an attempt to cool her relationship with the 23-year-old Steinke. She told the jury she often "vented" to her boyfriend as they talked on the phone late at night after her family had gone to sleep.
She admitted she'd had several "hypothetical conversations" with him about killing her parents. They discussed possible methods, including making it look like a murder-suicide or hitting them on the head while they slept and then burning the house down.
The Crown ended its case last week.
Evidence presented Friday showed that Steinke and the accused discussed a plan by email to kill her family, about a month before the murders.
Friends of the accused testified that Steinke and the accused admitted to the killings the next morning.