Girl who helped murder family re-entering society
Published Tuesday, September 27, 2011 9:41PM EDT
An Alberta girl who was convicted of taking part in the murder of her family when she was 12 years old will get a little bit closer to freedom next month.
Five years after the death of her parents and her brother, an easing of her legal conditions means that she will no longer be required to report to a halfway house in her home town of Medicine Hat.
Justice Scott Brooker ruled on the case in a Medicine Hat court on Tuesday. The teen, who is now 17, cannot be legally named.
The teen is now entering the final stage of an extensive rehabilitation program that was set out to ensure her reintegration back into society five years ago.
The teen still must abide by 12 legal conditions, including a curfew, a ban on recreational drug use and ongoing treatment.
The teen must also reside in Alberta and she must either work or attend school.
Although the teen is entering into the fourth and final stage of her sentence, she will be fully released without supervision at age 22.
More than five years ago, the murder of the girl's parents and her brother shocked the community and made headlines across the country.
In April of 2006, the teen was convicted in the case along with her then-23-year-old boyfriend, Jeremy Steinke.
Some of the prosecution's case rested on evidence that the teen's parents disapproved of the relationship between Steinke and the much-younger girl.
Steinke continues to serve a life-sentence, with no parole eligibility for 25 years.
According to Crown prosecutor Ramona Robins, the next stage of the girl's sentence is essentially like youth parole, as she will remain under supervision for the next four-and-a-half years.
"This started with closed custody and moved to open custody, but it was still custody. All of her movements were limited. In this community supervision, that's not the case," Robins said.
The teen must also abide by all her conditions throughout the program, Robins added.
"If she violates any of these conditions, she'll find herself back in custody."
Meanwhile, the teen's defence lawyer, Katherin Beyak, said her client has expressed some concern about re-entering society. But she added that progress is good.
"She's really happy to be getting on with the rehabilitation side of it and trying to put her life back together."
With files from The Canadian Press