Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Vampire Killers

Canadian Vampire Plot

A case in Canada that acquired the moniker, "the vampire murder" during the trial seems to have less to do with vampires than with the public's fascination with vampire-related crimes.

In Toronto on November 25, 2003, a twelve-year-old boy was found in the crawl space of the basement of his home, murdered and nearly drained of blood.   He had been bludgeoned, stabbed and hacked seventy-one times, and his older brother, 16, and two friends were arrested and tried for first-degree murder.  Since they were all juveniles, they could not be named in press reports, but during the trial the victim was dubbed "Jonathan."  The trial had run for three months, with startling testimony from the girlfriend of one of the accused, and was already in jury deliberations when the whole thing was derailed in February 2005 by a reporter's discovery.

The girl's testimony had centered around one of the boys being affiliated with a vampire subculture and she offered evidence from a taped phone call that the grisly murder had been planned.  On the tape, made shortly before Jonathan was murdered, the boy said that they planned to kill the entire family.  After Jonathan was bludgeoned and stabbed, one boy fled and the brother and other accomplice allegedly attempted to kill the step-father with a baseball bat.  They were both charged with attempted murder.

Defense attorneys for the two accomplices insisted that the phone call to the girl had not been serious, and the fact that the murder had occurred shortly thereafter was only a coincidence.  They contended that Jonathan's brother had acted alone in a fit of rage.  The alleged accomplice said that his call to the girl to discuss the killing was an attempt to impress her, because she wanted to break up with him.  He claimed that he'd said similar things to impress other girls.  He was joking as well when he referred to himself as a vampire and drank blood with girlfriends before having sex.

Still, the situation looked bleak for these boys as the jury went into deliberations.  But then a reported from the National Post came across a Web site, vampirefreaks.com, on which the girl had kept a blog and posted comments throughout the trial.  Although she had testified that she had gone along with the boy's vampire fetish to be involved with him but had thought it childish, her vulgar online comments indicated that in fact she bore a fondness for blood, pain, and cemeteries, and hated people.

When the contents of the Web site were revealed, the judge noted that the veracity of the witness's testimony was now in doubt, and declared a mistrial.  Legal commentators said that personal Web logs (known as Blogs) on the Internet add a new dimension to criminal trials.  Things get exposed that could affect evidence or jury deliberations.  Prior to going back to court for a new trial, the prosecutors in this case will have to evaluate whether the girl's Web postings are sincere and, if so, just how they may undermine her testimony.

 

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