05/11/2013 01:43 EDT | Updated 11/08/2013 02:09 EST

Alberta Murders: Notorious Killing Sprees And Brutal Murders That Rocked The Province


It's been a week of outrage, disbelief and small graces for victims of crime in Alberta.

Watchers at an Edmonton court room expressed their anger audibly on Friday, after hearing that all charges were being dropped against a teen charged in the violent murders of two city residents.

It was alleged the teen boy killed Barry Boenke, 68, and his friend Susan Trudel, 50, after escaping from a youth home.

LOOK: Some Of Alberta's Most Notorious And Infamous Murders

The Crown said it no longer had a case after the judge dismissed all evidence gathered by the RCMP under a Mr. Big sting.

Earlier in the week, authorities and commentators were left in disbelief when they learned that Mark Twitchell, who came to be known as the Dexter Killer after admitting the TV show inspired him to murder a man and to attempt to kill a second, had his own flat screen TV in his cell and on which he watched as much Dexter as he desired.

Twitchell is serving a life sentence for luring a man to his rented Edmonton garage, killing him, dismembering him and disposing of the remains in the city's sewer.

And it was a small solace but a solace nonetheless after three teens were sentenced on Friday to the max for killing Ethan Yellowbird, while the young boy slept in the Samson Cree reserve.

The three took turns firing a rifle into the central Alberta home of a Native chief. One of the bullets hit the five-year-old while he was sleeping, killing him instantly.

The culprits all being teens, their sentences will count more in the months than in the years.

But although it was one particularly busy week in Alberta courts, that is not to say violence and grisly crime is worse now than before.

In fact, as the gallery below - which highlights some of the most notorious crimes in Alberta history - shows, crime has and will likely always be present as long as human beings are part of the equation.

Notorious and Infamous Alberta Murders

1. Swift Runner

Swift Runner was executed December day in 1879, for murdering and then eating numerous members of his own family over the previous winter. He believed he was possessed by Windigo, a terrifying, mythological creature with a ravenous appetite for human flesh that's prevalent in northern Native Lore. He was Cree, traded with the Hudson's Bay Company and guided for the North West Mounted Police. He has been called a serial killer, while others have characterized him as an ill, desperate man. But over the course of a single winter, he murdered and devoured his wife, six children, mother and brother.

2. J.R. and Jeremy Steinke

Revulsion, shock, disgust and rage were all expressed publicly when it was learned that a 12-year-old girl who can only be identified as J.R., and her then 23-year-old boyfriend Jeremy Steinke, systematically murdered the girl's parents and her eight-year-old brother by stabbing them to death in their Medicine Hat home.

Steinke was given three concurrent life sentences, while J.R. was given 10 years because of her young age. She is the youngest person to ever be charged and convicted of multiple murders in Canada.

The two started to plot the murders online under the pseudonyms "soul eater" and "runaway devil" after their romance was discovered by the girl's parents.

3. Nina-Louise Courtepatte

Nina-Louise was 13 when, by chance on April 2005, she came across a group of youths who were determined to kill somebody, anybody. The young girl and her friend were lured from West Edmonton Mall under the false pretense of going to a rave. Instead, she was raped and killed on the fourth fairway of the Edmonton Springs Golf Course.

She was choked with a wrench, stabbed with a pair of throwing knives and beaten with a metal sledge hammer. Her tortured, dead body was left were it died, to be pored over by police. Two men, a 34-year-old and a 19-year-old, and teenage boy, as well as two teenage girls were charged in the murder.

4. Highway of Tears

The Highway of Tears is a stretch of Highway 16 between Prince George and Prince Rupert in B.C., along which as many as two dozen women have gone missing or have been murdered over the last 40 years. Although most of the murders and disappearances took place in B.C. some have also taken place on the east side of the B.C./Alberta border, west of Edmonton. One murder was confirmed near Hinton Alberta, while other disappearances in the province have also been linked to the Highway of Tears file. U.S. convict Bobby Jack Fowler was tied by DNA to several of the murders but the deaths and disappearances continued after Fowler was imprisoned in 1996 for unrelated crimes.

5. The Dexter Killer

Mark Twitchell is an Edmonton filmmaker who instead wanted to be a serial killer with a cinematographic record of his exploits. During his trial, court heard how Twitchell, who found inspiration for his would-be killing spree from the TV series Dexter, followed his own movie script in killing and dismembering Johnny Altinger, whom Twitchell lured to a rented garage and which he had turned into a kill room. Twitchell dumped the remains down the drain. Another man Twitchell lured to his garage managed to fight off his would-be killer and get away.

6. Charles Ng

He is one of the men behind one of the most intricate, savage and disturbing series of murders in recent history, and although the dozen people - men, women and babies - he was convicted of killing were killed in California in the 1980s, his run from justice ended when he was arrested in Calgary in 1985. Ng and his partner Leonard Lake are believed to have raped, tortured and killed as many as three dozen people in a cabin, and adjoining bunker, in the Sierra Nevada mountains. After his partner committed suicide with a cyanide capsule, Ng fled to Calgary where he was arrested at The Bay after shooting a security guard. He served four years in Canada before being sent back to the U.S., where he remains in death row.

7. Robert Raymond Cook

Cook was accused of murdering his father, Raymond, stepmother, Daisy, and the couple's five children in June 1959. The family was discovered shot and bludgeoned in the grease pit of the family's Stettler home shortly after. Cook was convicted of murdering his father and has the unenviable distinction of being the last man to be hanged in Alberta, when he was put to death in November 1960.

8. The Claresholm Highway Murders

There are still more questions than answers in a multple-murder sucide along a dark Alberta highway that left three college students and a friend dead, while a fifth victim fought for her life. The brutal events unfolded after a jealous boyfriend chased down his ex-girlfriend and her friends and exacted revenge with fatal fury along Highway 2 with a 9 mm pistol on Dec. 2011. Killed in the slaughter was Tabitha Stepple, at the hands of her ex-boyfriend Derek Jensen who killed himself after also shooting Stepple's friends Mitchell MacLean, Tanner Craswell and Shayna Conway. MacLean and Craswell, students at Lethbridge College were being driven to Calgary by Conway and Stepple, to catch a flight home to PEI for Christmas, when they were struck from behind by Jensen's car as it headed north on the highway in the middle of the night to catch the early flight. Upon stopping, Jensen got out of the car and shot the four occupants. Conway, the driver, was the only survivor.

9. HUB Mall Murders, University of Alberta

Three armoured car personnel were ambushed and killed, allegedly at the hands of one of their own, while filling up an ATM machine within the University of Alberta campus in June 2012. Travis Baumgartner, 21, is charged with first-degree murder and attempted murder. Baumgartner was arrested the next day at the U.S. border with $334,000 in a backpack and is still awaiting trial.

10. On Montana's Death Row

Ronald Smith, a 55-year-old originally from Red Deer, Alta., was convicted of murder in Montana in 1983 for shooting to death two cousins, Harvey Madman Jr. and Thomas Running Rabbit, while he was high on drugs and alcohol near East Glacier, Mont.

He had been taking 30 to 40 hits of LSD and consuming between 12 and 18 beers a day.

He refused a plea deal that would have seen him avoid death row and spend the rest of his life in prison instead. Three weeks later, he pleaded guilty. He asked for and was given a death sentence.

11. The New Year's Day Massacre

Michael Roberto and Nathan Zuccherato were both sentenced to life for their roles in the grisly shootings at Calgary's Bolsa Restaurant, on New Year's Day 2009. The murders were the result of a years-long and deadly Calgary gang war between the Fresh Off the Boat gang and the FOB Killers. That feud cost more than a dozen lives over the span of a few years. Sanjeev Mann and Aaron Bendle were targeted in that attack but the third, Keni Su'a, was simply an innocent bystander in the restaurant eating alone that day.

12. Corrine Gustavson

It was not the number of deaths that burned this crime into the minds of Albertans but the sheer brutality of the rape and murder of a bright six-year-old girl everyone called Punky. She was playing with a friend when she was abducted in the front yard of her home on Sept. 2, 1992. She was found dead two days later at an Edmonton truck yard. It would be more than 10 years later that Clifford Sleigh would be charged and convicted of Punky's death. He is currently serving a life sentence.

13. The Taber School Shootings

Only days after the infamous Columbine school shootings in April 1999, a southern Alberta teen saw a way to get back at his own tormenters and unleashed a hail of bullets inside W. R. Myers High School in Taber. The rampage ended with one 17-year-old dead, a second one wounded, and the 14-year-old drop-out behind the trigger being subdued by an unarmed school police resource officer. The shooter was described as unpopular and the victim of teasing and name-calling. By contrast, the fatally wounded student, Jason Lang, was a popular student and the son of a preacher. The second teen made a full recovery and the shooter pleaded guilty to all charges, including murder.

14. MLA John Etter Clark

He was first a farmer, a teacher and eventually a provincial MLA but he has gone down in history as the man behind one of the worst mass-murders ever perpetrated in Alberta. The esteemed provincial politician's life came to a gruesome end at his Erskine farm, shortly after he shot and killed his wife, son, three daughters, a hired farm hand and a visitor, before he turned his weapon on himself. Clark had suffered several nervous and mental breakdowns before the murders.

15. Mounties Ambushed In Mayerthorpe

The noose was closing around James Roszko when four Mounties descended on his Alberta property on the night of March 3, 2005 to execute a property seizure on the farm. It was in a Quonset hut that Roszko laid in wait and ambushed the four members. When the smoke lifted, Royal Canadian Mounted Police Constables Peter Schiemann, Anthony Gordon, Lionide Johnston, and Brock Myrol were dead, as was Roszko, who shot himself after being wounded in the shoot out. It was then the single biggest loss the Mounties had suffered in more than 100 years.

16. The Trans-Canada Highway Killer

Beginning in 1973, and continuing until 1981, 28 young women and girls, in British Columbia and Alberta, most of them hitchhikers, were raped and murdered along the iconic strip of pavement. Victims ranged in age from 12 and 35. As innexplicably as they started, the murders stopped. And although it was thought at one point that multiple killers were responsible for the murders, no one was ever charged in the deaths.

17. Victoria Shachtay

Victoria Shachtay was a 23-year-old disabled mother living in Innisfail when a bomb was delivered to her front door in November 2011. The bomb exploded, killing the young mom and shaking a small community that has little experience with homicide, let alone one of such a destructive nature. Shachtay's caregiver was also injured in the blast. Her daughter was in school at the time. Allegations state Shachtay was killed after dividends from a massive investment she made with a financial investor dried up and she started to demand action. Her advisor, Brian Malley, is now charged with her murder.

18. The Taber shooting is the one freshest on the mind but is not the first time an Alberta teen entered a school and opened fire on his peers. In March 1959, 19-year-old Stan Williamson opened fire with a .22 calibre rifle inside a crowded corridor of of an Edmonton high school, killing 16-year-old Howard Gates and wounding five teenage girls. The shooting ended when three 18-year-old students held the gunman down until he could be arrested by police.