MEDICINE HAT, Alta. – The lawyer for an Alberta woman who helped kill her family when she was just 12 says his client is a “poster child” for how young offenders can be rehabilitated.
But a Medicine Hat judge ruled the 19-year-old will still have to abide by a curfew for now.
Tim Foster, the lawyer representing the woman, who will turn 20 in a few weeks, said his client has “complied with everything perfectly” and asked Queen’s Bench Justice Scott Brooker to lift her 11:30 p.m. curfew.
“This young lady is essentially the poster child for this whole program,” Foster told the court.
The court heard that the woman is excelling in both work and school, is living on her own and is a low risk to reoffend violently.
Crown prosecutor Brandy Shaw agreed the woman is making good progress when it comes to managing stress and anxiety.
However, Shaw noted that the woman has recently moved and has encountered changes at her job, raising concerns that lifting the curfew may be too much change all at once.
Brooker decided to keep the curfew in place, citing the young woman’s best interests.
Addressing the woman, who appeared beside her case workers via closed-circuit television, Brooker said: “My decision is not taken for any other reason than I think it may be to your ultimate benefit.”
But Brooker promised to revisit the question in December.
“She’s doing all or more than is expected from her under the program,” Brooker said.
The woman, who can’t be named, said little in court on Monday, stating her name and birth date for the record and replying, “Yes, my lord” when addressed by the judge.
She has 2 1/2 years remaining on her 10-year sentence for the 2006 murders of her mother, father and younger brother in their Medicine Hat home.
She was convicted along with her then-boyfriend, Jeremy Steinke, who was 23 at the time and received a life sentence without the chance of parole for 25 years.
Court heard during the trials that the girl was angry with her parents because they were displeased with her relationship with Steinke. Her parents felt he was too old for their daughter.
All of the victims were stabbed to death.
The twice-annual reports on how the girl has been doing in care have been presented to the court since 2008.
A year ago, court was told that the young woman “continues to express significant remorse for her role in these crimes” and that the remorse was considered genuine.
She is to be fully released without supervision when she is 22.
The case is due back in court December, where the curfew issue will be reviewed again.