Growing up is difficult, especially when you hit those awkward tween years. You’re not an adult yet, but you definitely aren’t a child. Your skin freaks out and your hormones go nuts. Your peers turn into bullies and strangers. It can be a very rough time, to say the least.

However, most people struggle through it knowing that life gets better. For most adolescents moving away from middle school into high school — or from high school into college — provides them with the change they need to see that happiness is possible once more.

Sadly, some people cannot cope with the brutality of life as an adolescent. Their own unhappiness can lead them to making rash decisions that not only destroy their own lives, but the lives of those they love. That’s exactly what happened to Jasmine Richardson.

On April 23, 2006 in a small Canadian suburb, a young neighborhood boy peeped into the windows of the Richardson family home and made a horrifying discovery. Marc and Debra Richardson and their 8-year-old son Jacob lie dead inside, having been brutally murdered in the night.

RichardsonMedicine Hat News/Ian Sorensen

Their killer? Jasmine Richardson, age 12, Marc and Debra’s own daughter and Jacob’s big sister. Jasmine, with her 23-year-old boyfriend Jeremy Steinke, had plotted to stab her family to death when her parents refused to let the couple be together.
JasmineMedicine Hat News/Ian Sorensen

Police and forensic investigators quickly began processing the crime scene and catching up with the murderous duo, who were already on the run. Jeremy and Jasmine left a digital trail of evidence, discussing their plans to murder Jasmine’s family via email.ForensicMedicine Hat News/Ian Sorensen

Jasmine’s parents (and later her victims) Marc and Debra were concerned when they learned their 12-year-old daughter was involved romantically with a 23-year-old man. If they had known more about Jeremy, they would have been even more determined to keep them apart. CoupleMedicine Hat News/Ian Sorensen

Jeremy had a history of depression, with one suicide attempt already behind him. He had adopted the persona of a 300-year-old werewolf, wearing a vial of blood around his neck. Jasmine was captivated by Jeremy’s dark side.houseMedicine Hat News/Ian Sorensen

Jeremy’s upbringing was a difficult one. He was raised by an alcoholic mother who was abusive. He was looking for someone who could understand him and love him, and he found that in the 12-year-old Jasmine. The two were obsessed with each other. jeremyMedicine Hat News/Ian Sorensen

Before meeting Jeremy, Jasmine was described as a bright, happy, and very social girl. However, after meeting Jeremy, the photos she shared on MySpace became much darker. Jasmine had adopted a violent gothic persona. JasmineMedicine Hat News/Ian Sorensen

After being apprehended by the police, Jasmine admitted to stabbing her brother to death while Jeremy stabbed her parents. She explained that she didn’t want to kill her brother, but she decided it was better than leaving him without parents. murderMedicine Hat News/Ian Sorensen

Jasmine was sentenced to just 10 years in prison for her crimes. Because she was still a minor, this was the maximum sentence under Canadian law. Jasmine was just released after serving her time. She is reported to be the “poster girl” for rehabilitation.richardsonsMedicine Hat News/Ian Sorensen

She has assumed a new name and is trying to live quietly under the radar. She never publicly apologized for her actions nor did she ever publicly express remorse. The fact that now at the age of 22 she is allowed to go free is something that has angered many Canadians.JasmineMedicine Hat News/Ian Sorensen

Upon being granted permission to leave prison, the judge told Jasmine that her parents and her brother would be proud of the progress she had made. Jasmine cannot undo her terrible deeds, but she can try to live a good life moving forward.RichardsonMedicine Hat News/Ian Sorensen

For his part in the crimes, Jeremy was sentenced to life in prison. He will not be eligible for parole for 25 years. His lawyers have appealed his sentence, claiming that he was out of his mind on drugs when the murders took place. 
JeremyMedicine Hat News/Ian Sorensen

So far, the Canadian justice system has not budged and Jeremy remains in jail. He proposed to Jasmine two months after they had both been incarcerated and the couple became engaged. The status of that engagement now more than a decade later remains unknown. JeremyMedicine Hat News/Ian Sorensen

For her part, Jeremy’s mother has stood by his side during this ordeal. She speaks with him regularly and hopes that one day she will see him outside of prison walls once more. However, given the nature of his crimes, that seems unlikely to say the least.SteinkeMedicine Hat News/Ian Sorensen

Jasmine Richardson is the youngest murderer in Canadian history. It’s a dubious honor for a woman who is trying to put her troubled past behind her and live in anonymity.

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