PRINCE GEORGE, British Columbia – A 24-year-old man was convicted Thursday of killing three women and a teenage girl in northern British Columbia, making him one of Canada's youngest serial killers.
Cody Legebokoff was convicted on four counts of first-degree murder after a trial that heard gruesome details about the circumstances of the victims' deaths and testimony from Legebokoff himself.
He was convicted of killing Jill Stuchenko; 35; Cynthia Maas, 35; Natasha Montgomery, 23, and Loren Leslie, 15.
Legebokoff was just 19 years old when he killed his first victim in Prince George. British Columbia has a dark history of serial killers including Clifford Olson and Robert Pickton. Olson was convicted in the sex slayings of 11 children in the Vancouver area in the early 1980s. Pickton was charged with the murders of 26 women but only tried and convicted for six.
Legebokoff's victims fit a familiar profile of vulnerability in the form of poverty and addiction; three were drug users who had turned to sex work in Prince George, according to testimony. Leslie, who had a rare eye condition that impaired her vision, struggled with mental illness.
But beyond that, the trial did not reveal what motivated Legebokoff, who had an apparently typical upbringing in Fort St. James, British Columbia, but had become a frequent user of crack cocaine by the time of the murders. He admitted he was present when each victim died but denied killing any of them.
Legebokoff killed his first victim in the fall of 2009. Stuchenko was last seen on Oct. 9 of that year and her badly beaten body was found a month later half buried in a gravel pit in the outskirts of Prince George. Legebokoff's DNA was found on Stuchenko's body, and her DNA was found in Legebokoff's apartment.
He killed again a year later. Montgomery was last seen leaving a friend's house on Aug. 31 or Sept. 1 of 2010. Her body was never found, but her DNA was discovered in numerous spots during a search of Legebokoff's apartment.
Maas vanished on Sept. 10 of 2010. Her body was found a month later in a wooded park and her DNA was also found where Legebokoff was living.
Leslie was murdered Nov. 27, 2010, and the circumstances of her death triggered Legebokoff's arrest. A Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer spotted Legebokoff's truck speeding out of a remote logging road near Vanderhoof, British Columbia.
At first, Legebokoff claimed he was poaching deer, prompting the police to call in a conservation officer. When the officer ventured up the logging road where Legebokoff was first spotted, he found Leslie's blooded body in a snowy gravel pit.
He was charged with first-degree murder. A year later, the police announced three more counts.
Legebokoff claimed three other people were also involved in the women's deaths, though he refused to name them, telling the jury he didn't want to go to prison with a reputation as a rat.
Legebokoff is one of Canada's youngest serial killers, but there have been others who started killing as teenagers or young men.