PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. - Jurors in northern British Columbia have begun deciding the fate of a 24-year-old accused serial killer.
Cody Legebokoff has been on trial since June 2 for the first-degree murders of Jill Stuchenko, Cynthia Maas, both 35, Natasha Montgomery, 23, and Loren Leslie, 15.
B.C. Supreme Court Justice Glen Parrett wrapped up his instructions, before the 12 jurors began their deliberations midday Wednesday.
Parrett said jurors must be unanimous in their verdicts but can reach their decisions by different routes.
Parrett said jurors might have to consider the alleged levels of Legebokoff's intoxication when deciding if he had the intent required for murder. Legebokoff testified he had consumed crack cocaine at the time of each killing.
"As a result of consuming alcohol or drugs a person may not have the required intent," Parrett said.
"However, the mere fact that a person's mind is affected by alcohol or drugs so that they lose inhibitions or act in a way in which they would not have done had they been sober is no excuse if the required intent is proven."
Parrett suggested jury members start by deciding if they believe Legebokoff's story that three people he named X, Y and Z committed the murders.
He also suggested they establish a timeline for each of the murders.
Stuchenko's body was found Oct. 26, 2009 partially buried in a gravel pit and Maas' body was found Oct. 9, 2010 in a park. Montgomery's body has never been found but numerous samples of her blood were found in Legebokoff's apartment and on an ax found in the home. Leslie's body was found Nov. 27, 2010.
The Crown has argued that if the jury believes Legebokoff's testimony that X, Y and Z carried out the murders of the three women, then the 24-year-old is guilty of first-degree murder because he was a party to the crimes by providing the murder weapons.
Legebokoff admitted he struck Leslie with a pipe wrench but only after she went "psycho." His lawyer, Jim Heller, emphasized her mental health problems in urging the jury to find Legebokoff guilty of second-degree murder on all four counts.
Since the trial began, the jury heard testimony from 93 witnesses on behalf of the Crown, as well as Legebokoff. (Prince George Citizen)
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