PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. — A young British Columbia man accused of murdering four people denied killing a 15-year-old girl the night he was arrested, an RCMP officer testified Wednesday.
Cody Legebokoff, 24, is on trial for four counts of first-degree murder. The trial has heard he was arrested in November 2010 after a police officer spotted his truck speeding out of a remote, snow-covered logging road.
The Mountie, Const. Aaron Kehler, told the jury a conservation officer was eventually sent up the logging road to look for possible signs of poaching, but instead found the body of Loren Leslie.
Legebokoff, who was already under arrest, was then told he was facing a murder charge, said Kehler.
“Mr. Legebokoff turned to me and said, ’I found the girl, she was dead,’ and then a short time after he said, ’She committed suicide,”’ recalled Kehler, as Legebokoff listened from the witness box.
“He then looked at me and said, ’I didn’t kill the girl.”’
Legebokoff was eventually charged with four-counts of first degree murder in the deaths of Leslie, 35-year-old Jill Stuchenko, 35-year-old Cynthia Maas and 23-year-old Natasha Montgomery.
The Crown has previously said Legebokoff first denied even knowing Leslie and claimed he happened upon the teen’s body by accident.
Eventually, he told police he and Leslie met online and got together that night, the Crown said. He said the pair had sex but she “started freaking out,” hitting herself with a pipe wrench and stabbing herself in the neck, the Crown has said.
Kehler told the trial that when he first encountered Legebokoff on the side of a remote highway, he noticed a smear of blood on the man’s chin, as well as blood on his legs, his shoes and on the floor of the pickup truck. He also found a pipe wrench and a multi-tool knife, both stained with blood, he said.
Legebokoff explained the blood by saying he’d been poaching deer with a friend and said he was on the logging road checking out a possible hunting spot, Kehler testified.
Kehler took the jury through a series of photographs of Legebokoff that were taken the night he was arrested. In the photos, he is seen with shaggy hair and wearing a dark sweatshirt and plaid shorts. In one photo, a red smear can be seen on the edge of his left chin.
Kehler also showed the jury the pipe wrench, the knife and a pair of shoes, which he said Legebokoff was wearing when he was arrested.
Also found in the truck were a small backpack adorned with a plush monkey and a wallet containing a hospital ID card bearing Leslie’s name, the trial has heard.
Kehler said he found a pair of crack pipes in the truck’s ash tray, which Legebokoff said belonged to a friend.
The Crown has described Legebokoff as a frequent cocaine user who enlisted the help of sex workers to obtain the drug.
During an opening statement on Monday, a Crown lawyer said Stuchenko, Maas and Montgomery were cocaine users and had turned to sex work.
Stuchenko’s body was found in a gravel pit in Prince George in October 2009, while Maas’s body was found in a forested park in October 2010.
Montgomery, who was reported missing in September 2010, has never been found.
All of the women were mothers.
The trial is expected to last six to eight months.
Legebokoff has pleaded not guilty.