Three dead: Quebec teens charged with murder
MONTREAL - Two teens were charged Wednesday with first-degree murder and conspiracy to kill others following a triple homicide that has shaken a central Quebec community.
The 17-year-old males were arraigned in youth court in Trois-Rivieres, a day after police officers found the bodies of three young people in a suburban home amid a "brutal" crime scene.
The suspects, whose names are protected by law because they are minors, each face three counts of first-degree murder and three counts of conspiracy to commit murder.
One conspiracy charge involves the three victims, one names another person and the third mentions "several police officers."
Police said the victims are sisters aged 22 and 17 as well as a 17-year-old male, but their identities cannot be published at this time under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
Authorities have said they believe jealousy could be a motive behind the killings.
"There seemed to be a certain relationship between one of the suspects and one of the victims," said Trois-Rivieres police spokesman Michel Letarte.
The Crown has indicated it will seek adult sentences if they are found guilty.
"In the case of first-degree murder where the accused is an adult, the sentence is generally 25 years," Rene Duval, a lawyer for one of the suspects, told reporters Wednesday in Trois-Rivieres, about 135 kilometres northeast of Montreal.
"There's a provision in the law that says the maximum is 10 years when the accused is 17 or 16."
The accused are scheduled to return to court on Feb. 25.
Local police said they intercepted two youths Tuesday morning just after they had allegedly emerged from the home, an arrest that startled neighbours on the peaceful suburban street.
Curious onlookers from across town later descended on the street to gaze at the residence from behind a line of police tape.
Friends and family of the victims, including classmates from a local high school, also made their way to the area after news spread about the killings. Weeping teens hugged each other as they awaited confirmation from authorities that their friends were among the dead.
Tribute pages dedicated to the deceased appeared on Facebook, where users posted photos and left messages of condolences for the victims' families.
Some postings hinted at the anger in the community.
"I hope that the guilty will pay the price for this horrible act," one message said.
Another Facebook page, one that appeared to belong to a young man who lives in Trois-Rivieres, was flooded with messages from other users, many of them accusing him of being one of the killers.
In recent months, he had regularly posted violent images as well as messages about suicide and death on his Facebook profile page.
One note posted last summer read: "That strange feeling when you phone your girlfriend's place and her mother responds: 'She's at her boyfriend's place,' but oddly you're at home alone."
A few days later, another posting lamented how there weren't enough bullets to deal with all the difficult people in the world.