By Sherri Zickefoose
    Canada’s youngest multiple killer was praised for her progress by a judge during a review Tuesday of her intensive rehabilitation.
    The girl, whose identity is protected by law, is now 17 and serving an open custody sentence in a Calgary group home.
    Sometime later this summer or fall, she will appear for her final Phase 3 sentence review. She is requesting more freedom to attend outside programming.
    “This report can only be described as one with glowing terms,” said Justice Scott Brooker during the hearing. She appeared via closed-circuit television in a Medicine Hat court this morning. She said she didn’t want to return to the Medicine Hat courtroom where she was convicted, court heard.
    “There are concerns she may not be emotionally ready,” said defence lawyer Katherin Beyak.
    The judge remarked on how the girl was “excelling” in her schooling with Grade 12 marks in the high 90s.
    The judge added the girl’s progress is “significant” and she poses a low risk to commit more violence and she is applying for more freedom.
    The girl said she is focusing on attending university in the fall.
    The move to open custody, which allows her to go on escorted trips to shopping malls and banks, was a step toward gradual reintegration to society by 2016.
    She was convicted of three counts of first-degree murder in the 2006 slaughter of her parents and eight-year-old brother in Medicine Hat.
    The regular hearings, held in Medicine Hat’s Court of Queen’s Bench, are the only chance the public has to learn of the convicted girl’s progress, as her identity and psychological reports are kept secret by youth criminal justice and privacy laws.
    As part of her 10-year sentence — the maximum in youth law — she spent time in Edmonton’s Alberta Hospital under intensive rehabilitative custody and supervision. The sentence includes time spent in custody awaiting trial.
At age 22, she will be free.
    At last summer’s third review hearing some members of her extended family were supportive of her progress.
    Psychiatric pre-sentencing reports, which are sealed, described her in 2007 as suffering from oppositional defiance disorder and conduct disorder.
    Before therapy began, the girl suffered from dependency issues, anxiety and depression, and was prone to immature problem-solving and wishful fantasies.
    In 2008 the girl was reported to be gaining ground in therapy, however the Crown said then the girl’s interpretation of facts surrounding the crime were “troubling.”
    In November 2009, the girl’s closed custody was relaxed to open custody.
    All outings must be approved by the Alberta Solicitor General’s office.
    During separate trials for the same crimes, both the girl and her co-accused, 23-year-old Jeremy Allan Steinke, were found guilty of three counts of first-degree murder.
    Steinke was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years. He resides in an Alberta prison.
    After the girl’s parents protested the illicit relationship between their 12-year-old daughter and the older Steinke, the couple plotted deadly revenge through e-mails and phone conversations.
    The deadly plan saw the girl’s parents and eight-year-old brother were fatally stabbed in a surprise attack in the middle of the night.
    After the murders, the pair had sex and were later seen laughing and necking at an alcohol-fuelled party down the street from the murder scene.
    The next day, they were arrested sleeping with friends in a truck police found in a Leader, Sask., school parking lot.
    The girl and Steinke exchanged half a dozen jailhouse love letters, in which they agreed to marry.
    However, the relationship crumbled within days of the arrests when they blamed each other for the boy’s murder.             Neither has admitted killing him.
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