'No excuse for cold-blooded murder,' Stefanie Rengel's mom tells hearing

The mother of a 14-year-old girl stabbed to death in a murdercommitted to placate teenage jealousies is haunted by not knowing herdaughter's last moments, or if she cried out for her mother, courtheard Wednesday.<br />

TORONTO - The mother of a 14-year-old girl stabbed to death in a murder committed to placate teenage jealousies is haunted by not knowing her daughter's last moments, or if she cried out for her mother, court heard Wednesday.

Patricia Hung delivered a powerful victim impact statement at the sentencing hearing of D.B., a 19-year-old man who can only be identified by his initials because he was 17 at the time of the New Year's Day 2008 murder of Stefanie Rengel.

"I lie awake at night wondering if he spoke to her before he plunged in the knife, over and over," Hung said.

"Did Stefanie beg him to stop, scream in pain, call my name? Did he just laugh at her and run? Did she know she was going to die?"

D.B. pleaded guilty in April to first-degree murder, saying he killed Rengel to appease his jealous girlfriend, Melissa Todorovic.

Todorovic was sentenced as an adult in July to life with no chance of parole for seven years for being what the judge called the "puppet master" in the murder.

The opening day of the sentencing hearing included victim impact statements from Stefanie's mother and her younger brother. After they were through, D.B. could be seen dabbing at his eyes with a tissue.

Ian Rengel, 13, said he feels lost without his beloved big sister.

"I never would have imagined it possible that a boy could be so messed up that he would take the life of an innocent person just because a girl told him to," he said.

"Every day there are things that I need her for. I'm older now, almost 14, just like her and I feel like she only knew me as a little kid. I wish she could see me grown up so that we could hang out more."

The court also heard from psychiatrist Dr. Lisa Ramshaw, who diagnosed D.B. with antisocial personality disorder. She said a mild conduct disorder complicated by attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and issues with aggression and impulsivity led her to the diagnosis.

Ramshaw found D.B. has "engaged in violent behaviour persistently throughout his life," beginning from a very young age, and including an "extraordinary number" of school suspensions due to fights. His triggers for anger are vast and D.B. was also in the 94th per centile for social maladjustment.

A risk assessment Ramshaw conducted on D.B. found a 58 per cent likelihood of violently reoffending within the next 10 years. She also found he is of average intelligence.

But D.B. is also able to express remorse and has a capacity for empathy, which is in contrast to psychiatric assessments of Todorovic, which found her to be lacking in empathy, self-pitying and with a capacity for manipulation.

Todorovic placed relentless pressure on D.B. through months of phone calls and text messages, instant messages and Facebook messages, urging him to kill Rengel by threatening to withhold sex because she believed the younger girl - whom she had never met - posed a threat to their romantic relationship.

The first-degree murder of Stefanie Rengel was a response to a "unique form of repetitive bullying," which D.B. was vulnerable to because he is emotionally immature, Ramshaw found.

Hung said she feels guiltier when it comes to D.B. because he was someone in Stefanie's life, and it's too "surreal" to think someone could be as "evil" as Todorovic.

Stefanie developed a "puppy love crush" on D.B. when she was 12, Hung said, though Hung herself ended it when D.B. left a vulgar message on their phone.

Stefanie looked for the good in everyone and felt sorry for D.B. because she thought he came from a dysfunctional family, Hung said, but added many people have come from far worse backgrounds and not committed "heinous crimes."

"There is no excuse for cold-blooded murder."

The horrific way in which her daughter died leaves Hung and her family with deep-seated fears, particularly Hung's six-year-old son, who she said recently expressed hope his sister's killers would be in jail for a long time.

"As he pointed out, Ian will soon turn 14 and he wanted to make sure that the bad people wouldn't come and kill Ian too," she said.

"If that wasn't enough, he then expressed hope that he would see his own 16th birthday."

 
 
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