A 14-member jury is set to decide the fate of Cody Alan Legebokoff, charged with four counts of first-degree murder.
The Fort St. James man, who had been living in Prince George when he was arrested in 2010, is charged with the murders 35-year-old Jill Stacey Stuchenko, 35-year-old Cynthia Frances Maas, 23-year-old Natasha Lynn Montgomery and 15-year-old Loren Donn Leslie. Montgomery’s body was never found.
Jill Stuchenko: A mother and talented singer, she was reported missing Oct. 22, 2009. Her body was found Oct. 26, 2009 in a gravel pit off of Otway Road
Cynthia Maas: A mother reported missing by friends on Sept. 23, 2010. Her body was found Oct. 9, 2010 in LC Gunn Park.
Natasha Montgomery: A mother originally from Quesnel who’d been living in the Prince George area and who was reported missing when she failed to connect with family after a number of weeks. Her body has not been recovered but investigative findings have resulted in a murder charge in relation to her disappearance.
Loren Donn Leslie: A legally blind 15-year-old girl who met Legebokoff through social media. It was the discovery of her body a short distance off the highway between Fort St. James and Vanderhoof, that led to the arrest of Legebokoff.
His trial got underway Monday morning before Justice Glenn Parrett. Legebokoff appeared wearing a suit and tie. He has shaved his head and is now sporting a small goatee.
Stuchenko was reported missing October 22, 2009 and her body was found in a gravel pit off Otway Road October 26, 2009.
Mass was reported missing by friends September 23, 2010. Her body was found Oct. 9, 2010 in L.C. Gunn Park.
Montgomery, who had recently been released from the Prince George Regional Correctional Centre, was last seen Aug. 31, 2010 and reported missing September 23.
Leslie’s body was discovered November 27, 2010 in the bush a short distance off the highway between Fort St. James and Vanderhoof.
Crown counsel Joseph Temple, in his opening statement, said autopsies on Stuchenko, Maas, and Leslie showed each of the three had been severely beaten.
“(Stuchenko) had received multiple blows to the back of her head and face,” he said. “She suffered multiple cerebral contusions.”
Both Leslie and Maas were discovered with their pants pulled down to their ankles, Temple said.
While Montgomery’s body has not been found, Temple said evidence will be presented at the trial outlining 32 instances of her DNA being found in Legebokoff’s apartment and on his clothing. DNA evidence will also link Legebokoff and Maas, Temple said.
Legebokoff was arrested November 27, 2010 when he was pulled over by police between Vanderhoof and Fort St. James, shortly after one of the officer saw a truck pull out of a side road.
Temple said when the RCMP officers pulled him over, they noticed blood on Legebokoff. When he told police he was poaching deer, the RCMP called in Conservation Officers who searched the sideroad Legebokoff had been seen pulling out of by RCMP. It was there they found Leslie’s body and Legebokoff was charged with murder that night.
Temple said Legebokoff initially denied having known Leslie. He said he discovered her body in the bush by the logging road, panicked and left and then said he was with her but that she “went psycho” and killed herself, and finally that Leslie had tried to kill herself and he had hit her twice “to put her our of her misery.” Legebokoff and Leslie had met on the social media site Nexopia in November, Temple said, and had been exchanging text messages up to November 26.
Temple added that Maas’ DNA was found on a pick-axe at Legebokoff’s apartment.
The trial is expected to last six to eight months.