Recently, a jury in Prince George, B.C., found Cody Alan Legebokoff guilty of four counts of first-degree murder. A sentencing hearing has yet to take place, but a finding of guilt on a charge of first-degree murder in Canada carries an automatic life sentence with no possibility of parole for 25 years.
He might be declared dangerous offender along the way which would mean life without the possibility of parole, unless some mitigating circumstances were to present themselves, which is quite doubtful. His age at the time of the murders might be the only factor in his favor and the fact that he was high on crack most of the time. Crack does not make one a murderer but in his case, maybe one of the walking dead.
He was 20 when he got arrested on November 28, 2010 in the death of Loren Leslie, but it was not his first rodeo because he had already killed three other women by then; Cynthia Frances Maas, age 35, Natasha Lynn Montgomery, age 23, and Jill Stacey Stuchenko, age 35, all mothers of young children. This wholesome looking boy was from Fort St. James which is north of Prince George. He is the second youngest serial killer in Canada’s history and if you rely only on his looks and demeanor, it is hard to believe.
He was described by his family and friends as a very normal young man and a real country boy at heart. None of them could believe he would hurt anyone. Not unlike the city of Prince George that was ranked as the most dangerous city in Canada three years in a row by Maclean’s magazine, but remains a place most residents keep defending as very safe. Sometimes the people closest to you cannot see or hear the evil within.
Maclean’s magazine only ranks the top 100 and only looks at cities with a population above 10,000. The ranking is actually based on actual data and calculates the number of severe crimes – homicide, sexual assault, aggravated assault, vehicle theft, robbery and breaking and entering that occur per 100,000 people. Even if they don’t have a murder during the year, if all the rest of the risk factors are high, they are the winner of this ugly title.
It takes a complete methodology to come up with these results and in the case of Legebokoff, no one was minding the fort because if anyone would have been watching the data on this kid, they would have come up with a very dangerous ranking. To everyone’s eyes, he remained the nice country boy they knew and liked in spite of his lifestyle that was spiraling out of control.
I am sorry for the Legebokoff family and for Prince George, but when you are in the presence of danger, it is a good idea to issue a warning so that concerned citizens lose their false sense of security and keep an eye open at all times. Defending the reputation of a town or of a young man in the presence of evil can only lead to trouble, but it is the kind of denial usually rooted in love and blind trust.
A month ago, I wrote an article called The Highway of Tears inspired by a documentary by the same name that came out in March 2014 at the Human Rights Watch Film Festival in Toronto, Canada. It is the story of women, mostly natives, who went missing along a 720 kilometer stretch of highway in northern British Columbia. So far, two murderers were apprehended; Bobby Jack Fowler and Cody Alan Legebokoff. It is very clear that a few more serial killers are still at large roaming the territory and ready to pounce.
Most of the victims were hitchhikers that were picked up along the highway but in Legebokoff’s case, 3 of the dead girls were not picked up on the road but were invited to his apartment where they were attacked. His last and youngest victim, 15-year old Loren Donn Leslie, had met him online where his name was 1countryboy and she ended up being murdered and dumped on one of the logging roads of that same stretch of highway. One of the 3 other girls’ body was never found but her DNA was all over Cody’s apartment.
It was easy for young Loren to trust Cody because he looked like the boy next door and had worked at a Prince George car dealership while sharing a house with 3 female roommates. He was popular and supposedly had a good upbringing and family. I say supposedly because even though his family had only positive things to say about him, none of them came near the courthouse during his trial.
His grandfather talked about hunting and fishing with his ‘normal’ grandson when he was younger, but they obviously did not keep tabs on the boy because at the time of the murders, he had become a crack head who did not do anything productive or positive with his life. He was partying with his friends, inviting prostitutes to his place and rewarding them with a one way ticket to die.
His reign of terror finally ended when a dedicated police officer who saw him speeding while exiting a logging road, stopped him to inspect his vehicle. He had blood on his chin and legs and there was a pool of blood in his truck. A conservation officer suspected poaching and retraced his tracks which led him to Leslie’s body. Her face was so mutilated that they had to ID her from a tattoo on her wrist that said Grip Fast; a family motto created by her father to keep the family strong during hard times. Leslie was legally blind but had managed to overcome many obstacles and was excelling at karate. But she was very naïve and would hitch a ride to Prince George often in spite of her parents’ attempts at stopping her.
She was quite taken with her new countryboy and looked forward to meeting him. He sounded very genuine to her and she enjoyed the comments and songs he posted:
‘’Out in the Backwoods down in the haller
Out in the backwoods working hard for a daller
In the backwoods, yeah we got it done rite
Work hard, play hard, hold my baby tight
Lordy have mersey
It’s a real good life in the backwoods”
At trial, Legebokoff attempted to plead guilty to four counts of second-degree murder before B.C. Supreme Court Justice Glen Parrett, but the Crown prosecutor, Joseph Temple, did not consent to the plea and reiterated that he was seeking a verdict of first-degree murder for the deaths of the four women.
During his closing statements, Cody’s lawyer, Jim Heller, asked the jury to find his client guilty of second-degree murder, rather than the more serious charge of first-degree murder.
Legebokoff took the stand in his own defense and testified that he was involved in the killings of Stuchenko, Maas and Montgomery, but that three other people identified as X, Y and Z were the real murderers. He was there and had simply supplied the blunt objects used for the murders in his own apartment. He would not divulge the names of the killers because he was not a rat and was afraid of retaliation from the drug dealers he alphabetized. Had the situation been less tragic, his efforts at blaming the alphabet would have been hilarious and almost like a Sesame Street sketch.
The murder of young Loren was trickier to explain because he was alone in his truck when they stopped him. No letter from the alphabet would help him spell some excuses for that one. So he resorted to an explanation that I personally found appalling; he said that after he and Leslie had sex, they went for a drive in the woods, and she went ‘psycho’ on him and started hitting herself in the face with a wrench and a pipe that happened to be handy. She was trying to kill herself so he basically finished her off as a favor with only a few blows. In fact, her throat was slashed and some drag marks were found. She did not stand a chance against this ‘humanitarian’ killer.
According to Legebokoff, letters from the alphabet were bringing street workers to his pad, announcing to him they would die, and he would then provide the weapons and mop the blood afterwards; all in a day’s work. But in the case of Leslie, he managed to accomplish a mercy killing.
What was even more troubling than the alphabet killers and the victim’s suicide defense was how his lawyer could not extirpate one ounce of emotion from this country boy even though he desperately attempted to make him appear human. And Lord knows he tried.
It probably would have been more fruitful to throw himself at the mercy of the court and show remorse but it was not Legebokoff’s style to act like a contrite human being. He was more like an empty vessel quite uninterested in the concept of his own guilt. He kept repeating that ‘he was not that type of guy’ so he could not have done it.
Heller kept throwing him a bone, hoping he would show remorse and emotions so the jury could see him as a young and foolish kid worth saving but he did not bite. Hell, he did not even try to smell it. He was asked ‘’How did you feel, emotionally?’’ Because if drug dealers killed women in his apartment, it must have been very scary, but he answered ‘’Nothing.’’
He sounded hollow and did not seem to realize how his answers were freakishly scary to the average citizen. Even if he continued with his mantra of being an ordinary kid from a good family, it did not pass the sniff test with the jury. It smelled more and more like horror in that courtroom and less and less like teenage angst. If we are going to use the alphabet, I have to say that Heller deserved an A for trying.
When interrogated by detectives, one of them said ‘’He seemed like a f…normal person.’’ His constant ‘Cause I mean I’m not this kinda person, right’ were peppered with ‘I did her with the wrench’ and ‘I was mopping blood.’
To show how normal he was, he told police about his plans for the future: ‘’His girlfriend (yes he had one and she thought he was great also) would start her job as a teacher, he’d complete his apprenticeship at the car dealership and they would get married and have kids. Live happily ever after.’’ As if it would erase the whole bloody mess.
The guy did not have a criminal background or a dysfunctional or abusive childhood and he grew up playing sports before graduating from high school. He came from a family that had decent money so no deprivation there.
But the problematic seemed to lie in his whore/madonna complex. He was obsessed with sex and even if he denied going with hookers, he was using them and discarding them like dirty laundry. He said that he and Loren had consensual sex, but in a text, she clearly tells him ‘’we’re just hanging out, right? Nothing sexual.’’
He bragged about how many sexual partners he had and kept a list of his prowess. His girlfriend was a different story and as he said ‘’I found a good girl and decided to settle down.’’
In his cold, cold world, Legebokoff had rules: the good people were to be respected but he could discard the street workers, the crack whores and in the case of Loren, the bad girl who hooked up with him online. Strangely, he seemed to have taken himself out of the equation completely as far as morality.
The kid could absolutely not muster any human empathy and was cold as ice, but thank God he was just a simple and normal country boy.
One down and way more to go for the victims of the Highway of Tears….
The Highway of Tears
UPDATE: A B.C. Supreme Court justice in Prince George, B.C., has sentenced Cody Alan Legebokoff to life in prison with no parole for 25 years on four counts of first-degree murder. Click here to read the CBC article about his sentencing.