It was a random attack in a sleepy Winnipeg suburb: A family of four was held hostage in their home by an armed stranger intent on inflicting horror and degradation.
It has prompted justice officials to seek a rare life sentence for the mentally troubled sadist, who admits to spending weeks planning a 90-minute ambush.
Graphic details of the October 2010 incident in North Kildonan were revealed publicly for the first time Tuesday at the start of a two-day sentencing hearing for the hostage-taker, who is now 20 years old. He pleaded guilty to numerous offences including sexual assault, aggravated assault, forcible confinement and breaching bail on a previous charge that raised red flags about his emotional state.
Although he was 18 at the time, the Free Press is not identifying him in order to publish details about his involvement with the justice system as a youth, which leads to questions about the type of supervision and treatment he received the community while he was being assessed.
The four victims -- a husband, wife, 17-year-old daughter and 15-year-old son -- suffered physical and emotional trauma. The accused selected them at random after following the daughter home on a city bus as part of a plan to rape, torture and possibly kill innocent people in an attempt "to become infamous," court was told. In writings seized by police, he referred to stalking his prey as the Hunting Game.
Police seized hundreds of computer documents, which included references to purchasing a torture kit and praise for well-known serial killers. Police also found images of raped and slain women from a reality website he frequented, stories he'd downloaded about incest, thousands of images of violent pornography and stories he'd written about targeting people he knew.
"This is an intelligent, articulate but extremely disturbed individual. He planned his final act for a very long time," Crown attorney Kusham Sharma told court Tuesday.
The incident began about 10:30 p.m. on a Monday when the son answered a knock at the door -- and faced a gun.
The invader pushed his way inside, where he saw the boy's older sister sitting watching television. He forced them to go upstairs when told their parents were asleep in the bedroom. With the entire family now awake, the man made the mother tie up her family with duct tape.
The invader later pushed the father down a flight of stairs, which caused his tape to come loose. He brought him back to the top of the stairs, re-taped him and then shoved him down the stairs a second time. The father's head struck a wall, creating a hole. The invader ordered all four family members to go downstairs, saying he'd have to kill them because they'd seen his face.
"You look like a good family, a nice family. But I have to kill you," he told them, while holding a knife and pellet gun they believed to be real.
The invader forced the mother and son to get undressed and sexually degraded both while the daughter and father watched. The father was still restrained with duct tape and had a knife held to his throat, the gun still to his head, at the time.
The invader smashed a television over the father's head and stabbed him nine times in the stomach while laughing and joking that he was "bored and hungry."
At one point, the daughter tried to save her family by urging the invader to "just rape me."
He replied, "I'll get to you."
He repeatedly spoke of worshipping the devil and Adolf Hitler, and vowed to kill anyone who prayed. The family also tried giving him money and property, but he refused.
"I'm going to hell hopefully after this," he told them. The attack ended when the son was able to grab a metal pipe and smash the invader's head.
He was quickly joined by his father who broke out of the duct-tape bonds. The mother and daughter ran upstairs and out the front door, screaming for help. Police arrived quickly and arrested the invader, who suffered extensive injuries. The family was also taken for treatment. The father was the most seriously injured.
The man made bizarre comments to police, claiming he had stopped taking antipsychotic medication.
"The voices kept urging me to do things and I kept listening to them. I'm not going to lie to you, I've got problems, I've got issues," he told police. "I don't feel bad for me. I deserve everything I'm going to get."
He has been in custody since the attack.
All four family members gave heartbreaking victim impact statements, which spoke of the deep emotional scars they suffered. Only the mother was present during Tuesday's hearing. Their words were read aloud in court by the Crown. Here are some excerpts:
"We've been violated. We don't trust people. You just take it one day at a time."
"At first I thought he was joking. You only see this in the movies."
"I felt we were giving our kids a safe, security and nurturing life."
"I have been devastated as a person, a mother, a wife. our health, safety and sense of happiness has been shattered."
"I'm proud of my daughter thinking she'd sacrifice herself for our lives. I'm proud of my family."
"I do not think he would have let us live if we had not done this (overpowered him)."
"I have changed so much as a person."
"He should not get away with such a horrible crime. I hope he is held accountable."