PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. - Families of three women and a teenage girl who were murdered in northern British Columbia by one of Canada's youngest serial killers finally had a chance Friday to tell a judge about the pain they have endured.
Twenty-four-year-old Cody Legebokoff was convicted Thursday in B.C. Supreme Court of the first-degree murders of Cynthia Maas, 35, Jill Stuchenko, 35, Natasha Montgomery, 23, and 15-year-old Loren Leslie.
Dressed in black and clutching an eagle feather, Judy Maas spoke about a sister, "Cindy," who "against all odds" graduated from private school.
"Cindy also decided that she was going on a school trip to China with the Christian Academy to deliver Bibles, which opened up her world to other types of struggles," Maas said.
But Cynthia Maas was "born with a disability and was therefore most vulnerable to those who preyed on such people," said her sister.
"She was an innocent. She had dreams and aspirations for her life. However, she fell victim to a drug when her cousin told her to try something that would make her feel good," she said. "She was trusting."
Even when her addiction took her to the streets, Maas would continue to call her family and attend Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous.
"She was not happy about where her life was at and wanted to change it so desperately," Judy Maas said.
A shaking and tearful Louanne Montgomery described her daughter, Natasha, as a "beautiful person, inside and out."
"She always had a huge smile. When she was in the room, everyone knew she was there. She had a huge, bubbly personality, she was friendly to everyone and always found a way to make you feel good," Louanne Montgomery said.
Her daughter grew up in a nurturing home, was raised to be a loving person, played softball and figure skated for years and graduated from high school, the court heard.
"She liked to draw, scrap booking, played the clarinet and trumpet, she liked to sing and do many types of crafts," her mother said.
On family camping trips, Natasha Montgomery enjoyed fishing, tubing, hiking and quadding.
"It's something we now do in her honour at that special spot where we all liked to get together," Louanne Montgomery said.
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Natasha Montgomery had two children and lived in Quesnel, but was in Prince George where she had been released in August 2010 from a correctional facility and then went missing.
She was never found but her blood was discovered throughout Legebokoff's apartment and on an axe stored in the home.
Her mother spoke of frequent and debilitating "meltdowns" since the loss.
"I can't let things go," said Louanne Montgomery. "I want her back so bad."
Crown prosecutor Lara Vizsolyi read 13 more statements into the record.
Stuchenko, who was 35, was described as "happy and bubbly" and "dreamed of being a famous singer."
One of Stuchenko's six children, now 15 years old, said she now cries herself to sleep at night and must deal with depression and anxiety since her mother's death.
Donna Leslie, the mother of Loren Leslie, said she lost her mind since the death.
"The best years of my life were when I was raising my young kids," she said. "I had a very supportive husband so I could stay home with them. I have wonderful memories of that time. Losing Loren has basically destroyed them. I am shattered, heartbroken and will never be the same."
Father Doug Leslie described Loren as a "fun-loving, innocent little girl" who he thinks about daily.
"All I have left is a deep sadness that never ends, that never leaves me," he said.
Legebokoff will be sentenced to life in prison without eligibility for parole for 25 years, but B.C. Supreme Court Justice Glen Parrett must decide whether Legebokoff's name should be added to the national sex offender registry.
He will issue a written reasons for judgment Tuesday.
Asked by Parrett if he had anything to say prior to sentencing, Legebokoff said he "pretty much covered everything I was going to say when I testified."
(Prince George Citizen)