'This case falls under the category of stark horror'
Jeffrey gets 14 years for girl's brutal slaying
Mark King Jeffrey must serve 14 years in prison for the murder of Jennifer Naglingniq, 13, before he is eligible for parole.
"This case must be one of the most savage murders in the history of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut," Justice Earl Johnson said during sentencing Friday, May 4.
"It falls under the category of stark horror."
Jeffrey, 26, will spend the rest of his life either in prison, or released on parole, after he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder April 23.
Defence lawyers asked that Jeffrey be eligible for parole as early as 10 years into his life sentence, while the Crown pushed for 15 years.
Johnson said the "brutal and shocking" nature of the crime committed in Iqaluit the evening of Dec. 6, 2002, compelled him to hand down a severe sentence.
Jeffrey stabbed the Grade 8 student inside her home at least 31 times. A coroner later described the stabbing attack as among the worst of hundreds of cases he had seen.
Cuts on the girl's hands suggest she fought for her life during the attack.
When a steak knife broke, Jeffrey went to the kitchen for another knife before he resumed his attack, demonstrating a high degree of intent, Johnson said.
He mutilated the body by slashing the girl's wrists once she was dead. And he pulled down her pants, to suggest she was raped. While there was no evidence of sexual assault, the judge said this nonetheless violated the sexual integrity of the victim.
After the murder, Jeffrey spent months misleading police by suggesting that the real killer was the victim's grieving mother.
Only more than four years after Jeffrey's arrest would he plead guilty to second-degree murder, in exchange for the original first-degree murder charge being dropped.
His late plea meant the mother had to testify during a preliminary inquiry and describe in court how she found her dead daughter lying in a pool of blood on her bedroom floor.
Despite all this, Johnson said he believed Jeffrey stood a good chance of rehabilitation, if he worked hard in prison to tackle deep-rooted psychological problems and his dependency on drugs and alcohol.
Jeffrey grew up in a broken home, amidst constant drinking and fighting. He was sexually abused. His father died in his arms in hospital when Jeffrey was seven or eight, from AIDS.
By Grade 7, he was a small-time marijuana dealer. When he was kicked out of school, he turned to drinking. He paid for alcohol by breaking into homes.
Jeffrey started smoking crack when he was 20. He smoked crack the night of the murder, but it's not clear how much the drugs affected his judgment on the night of the murder.
Jeffrey also suffers from seizures, followed by black-outs, and Parkinson-type tremors. His sister suffers from schizophrenia, marked by wild mood swings and intense anger
No explanation has been given as to why Jeffrey committed the murder.
Johnson said he believed Jeffrey was remorseful for the crime, and he took Jeffrey's apology to the family, which was read by a defence lawyer during the sentencing hearing, to be sincere.
"I'm very sorry for what happened. If I could turn back time, I would," Jeffrey's statement said.
And his guilty plea spares the victim's friends and family the trauma of being called as witnesses during a trial, which lawyers expected to stretch on for three months.
Johnson said he was deeply moved by the words of the grieving mother, submitted in a victim impact statement, that described the anguish she feels every day.
"Since finding my baby's lifeless body in my house, nothing has been the same," the mother wrote. "She was a part of my soul."
"The court is powerless to ease this grief," Johnson said. "Only time can do that."
Jeffrey's release from prison is ultimately decided by the parole board. His time served begins the date of his arrest, March 24, 2003, which means Jeffrey will not be eligible for parole before 2017.
So far, Jeffrey's time in jail hasn't been easy. Shortly after his arrest, in April 2003, he was transferred from the Baffin Correctional Centre to an Ottawa prison for his own safety. Two weeks later, two inmates jumped him. He woke up in hospital.
He began correspondence courses in Ottawa to finish high school, but has been unable to continue these courses since he was transferred back to Iqaluit for his trial. He plans to continue his studies in prison.
Before his arrest, Jeffrey worked for a construction firm, where he was considered a good worker, although he didn't always show up because of his drug and alcohol use.
He was also an accomplished carver, the defence said, known for his caribou antler crib boards.
Jeffrey wrote that he had confessed his sins, asked God for forgiveness, and will spend the rest of his life trying to right his ways.