Puppet masters and other killers

A Toronto judge recently sentenced a teen killer to life, calling Melissa Todorovic a “puppet master” for using sexual blackmail to convince an older male to murder a perceived rival.

But her crime, committed when Todorovic was 15, pales in comparison to that of Canada’s original puppet master, Runaway Devil. Known as JR in court documents, she was a mere 12 when she convinced her older lover, 23-year-old Jeremy Steinke, to kill at her behest.

Runaway Devil-finalJR’s story is told in the  new book Runaway Devil: How Forbidden Love Drove a 12-Year-Old to Murder Her Family, written by myself and colleague Sherri Zickefoose. We  describe how JR went from a suburban, middle-class honour student  to become Canada’s youngest multiple murderer when sentenced in the summer of 2007 for the brutal stabbing deaths of her father, mother, and eight-year-old brother.

Although she denied that she and Jeremy had concocted a premeditated plan to kill her family, it was clear from evidence that she, indeed, was the mastermind. As we write on Page 85: “JR’s friends also say she was the one pressuring Jeremy to kill her parents. In several overhead conversations, JR appeared to be the puppet master and Jeremy her marionette.”

The book contains previously unpublished details of the notorious crime that shocked a nation.

For author interviews or more information, visit my Runaway Devil site.

To hear an interview with the authors, click here.

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