Legebokoff subject of true crime book

Cody Legebokoff's crimes have gained enough infamy to make him one of the subjects in a series of true crime books about some of Canada's most notorious murderers.

The Country Boy Killer: The True Story of Cody Legebokoff, Canada's Teenage Serial Killer is the recently-published sixth volume in the Crimes Canada series that has already produced books on the likes of Robert Pickton, Luka Magnotta and Paul Bernardo.

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The book's author, Florida-based writer J.T. Hunter, admits he knew very little about Legebokoff when the series' backers first asked him to tackle the project, but by the end he learned plenty about the chilling and tragic events that cost four lives before Legebokoff was brought to justice.

Legebokoff's relative youth when he committed the crimes - he was just 19 years old when he went on his tear while most serial killers don't start their sprees until the mid-to-late 20s - and the "randomness of how he was caught," stood out the most for Hunter.

In what is a now well-known story locally, Legebokoff's downfall began in November 2010 when RCMP Cst. Aaron Kehler pulled him over for erratic driving on a lonely stretch of highway between Fort St. James and Vanderhoof.

The discovery of blood on Legebokoff's clothing and in his truck quickly sparked a search that led to the discovery of the dead but still warm body of Loren Leslie, a 15-year-old legally-blind girl, in a snowbound area off a side road a short distance away from where Legebokoff was pulled over. Legebokoff was later linked to three other missing or murdered women.

In September 2014, a jury found him guilty of first degree murder in the deaths of Leslie, Jill Stuchenko, 35, Natasha Montgomery, 24, and Cynthia Maas, 35.

"If (Kehler) had been a minute sooner at that particular point or a minute later at that particular point, he would've missed him and the guy could still be out there doing this right now," Hunter said.

Hunter pointed to the physiology of the human brain as part of the answer to why serial killers tend to start later in life.

"The cognitive part of the brain, the frontal lobe part, isn't really developed until you're into your early 20s," Hunter said.

"To be one of these organized serial killers, you have to have the ability to lead two lives and keep them separate and that requires that frontal lobe cognitive ability and most teenagers aren't going to have that.

"He was 19 so he was getting to that point but it was still a little bit earlier than most of them."

Legebokoff's crack habit may have played a role in "releasing his inner demons" and lowering his self control, Hunter said.

But Legebokoff is a puzzle given his apparent image as a "stereotypical country kind of guy" who was had plenty of friends, a steady girlfriend and good job.

Hunter was impressed with the RCMP investigators' efforts to get Legebokoff to talk once he was in custody.

Tactics included bringing in Legebokoff's then-girlfriend, which made for plenty of pathos as he slowly loses her trust.

Like most criminals of his type, Legebokoff focussed on victims who were "convenient" and "vulnerable." All but Leslie had their troubles with drugs and would work the streets to support their addictions.

Hunter also regards the story as a cautionary tale when it comes to the internet. Legebokoff had met Leslie through a social media website just days before she was killed.

He described the deaths of the four as "brutal" and "horrific."

Forensic evidence indicated all four were beat to death with a blunt weapon and a pickaroon and axe with blood on them were found in Legebokoff's apartment.

Over the course of nearly 180 pages, the reader is taken through the circumstances surrounding Legebokoff's arrest, the subsequent investigation and the trial, much of it a blow-by-blow account of what was heard in court.

Hunter is a lawyer who now writes and teaches although he remains a member of the bar. He previously wrote a book about a Florida serial killer who drank the blood of his victims.

The book on Legebokoff is available in paperback through Books and Company as well as on Amazon.

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