PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. – A young British Columbia man charged with murdering three women and a 15-year-old girl has been accused during cross-examination of making up a story about the involvement of other men in the deaths.
Crown prosecutor Joseph Temple highlighted Wednesday apparent discrepancies between what Cody Legebokoff, 24, said during his testimony in the Prince George, B.C., courtroom and the evidence presented during the trial that began June 2.
Legebokoff is charged with four counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Jill Stuchenko, 35; Cynthia Maas, 35; Natasha Montgomery, 23; and Loren Leslie, 15.
He testified Tuesday that while he was “involved” in the killings of Stuchenko, Maas and Montgomery, three people he has only identified as X, Y and Z committed the actual murders.
Legebokoff did not identify the men, saying he did not want to go to prison with the reputation of being a “rat.”
Temple tried to tease details out of Legebokoff Wednesday, but the defendant was combative and testy, providing terse answers to questions about what people where wearing, where they were positioned and sequences of events.
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“I didn’t take observations or take notes or anything on how he did it, which way he did it, or how far the cut went or how deep the cut was. I didn’t take those kind of observations,” said Legebokoff when pressed on testimony that he handed Z a kitchen knife to finish off Montgomery after X had beaten her with a steel bar while chasing her through Legebokoff’s apartment.
Temple said Legebokoff’s assertion that X had struck Montgomery at the end of a hallway and just after she got out of the bathroom failed to account for her blood found splattered all over his bedroom.
He also noted Leslie’s blood and her iPod were found some distance away from Legebokoff’s truck, even though he contended she stabbed herself while in front of his vehicle.
Temple said when Legebokoff was talking to police after his arrest in November 2010, he told them Leslie was “trying to make a run” and suggested Legebokoff had stopped himself short of adding the words “for it,” because that would indicate he was pursuing her.
Legebokoff had told the court Leslie went “flying off the handle” and hit herself with a pipe wrench and then stabbed herself with a utility tool knife she somehow found in the cab of his truck.
Temple suggested opening a utility tool can be complicated, and yet Legebokoff gave no account of performing the motions to get a knife out.
He said evidence that Leslie’s ring finger was broken suggested she was trying to protect herself while he hit her with pipe wrench, but Legebokoff said he had stepped on her hands in the process of dragging her away.
“With running shoes,” Temple asked.
“A 250-pound guy stepping on her and rocks being underneath the snow, yeah,” Legebokoff replied.
Temple said the significant amount of Stuchenko’s blood, which was found on Legebokoff’s couch, conflicted with his story that X had struck her with a pipe and suggested that in actual fact he committed the murder.
“You hit her on the head, you stunned her, you punched her just as you described Mr. X did, and then you stabbed her in the neck and then you watched while she bled to death on your couch and then you took her body out in your truck and tried to bury her in the gravel pit,” Temple said.
Legebokoff replied with a denial.
Stuchenko’s body was found Oct. 20, 2009 in a gravel pit.
Temple devoted a significant amount of time going through Legebokoff’s police interviews, and the accused agreed he had not told Mounties the truth.
He also said the positions of Leslie’s and Maas’ bodies were similar when they were found, and both had their pants and underwear down around their ankles. Temple said that was because Legebokoff dragged both into the bush in similar fashions, which Legebokoff also denied.
Even if the story about X, Y and Z were true, Temple said Legebokoff remained in deep trouble because he supplied the murder weapon in all three instances, despite knowing what the perpetrators planned to do with them.
“I was also under the influence of drugs at that time and wasn’t really [with it],” Legebokoff said when Temple recounted the story about Montgomery. “I just passed him the knife.”
Legebokoff continued to refuse to provide the names of the three men he said killed Stuchenko, Maas and Montgomery.
In response, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Glen Parrett said an application for contempt of court against Legebokoff will be heard at the trial’s conclusion.
Closing arguments from Crown prosecution and defence counsels will begin Tuesday. (Prince George Citizen)