Kimberly Cates

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The Kimberly Cates case quickly captivated the nation – a loving mother whose life was taken at the hands of four teenage boys while her husband was away, her daughter attacked, and the town of Mont Vernon left in shock. Attorney General Michael A. Delaney, Colonel Frederick Booth of the New Hampshire State Police, and Mont Vernon Police Chief Kyle Aspinwall issued the following first statement about the homicide of Kimberly Cates of Mont Vernon, New Hampshire:

An autopsy was performed on Kimberly Cates (DOB 3/6/1967) by Deputy Chief Medical Examiner Jennie Duval on October 5, 2009. Dr. Duval determined that the cause of death was multiple sharp injuries to the head, torso, left arm, and left leg. She concluded that the death was a homicide.

Prosecutors at trial where the teens were convicted and even sentenced to life say killers wielded a machete and a co-defendant used a knife during the attacks in the Cates’ Mont Vernon home.

Sruviving daughter Jaimie, now 12, survived by pretending to be dead, then staggered, covered in blood, to a kitchen phone to call police. A doctor testified she would have died of a punctured lung if she had lost consciousness before summoning help.

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Jaimie Cates played dead until her attackers left, even though she’d been savagedly attacked with a machete

Blows that cut off portions of Jaimie’s left foot, split open her head and struck her face with enough force to break her jaw had to have come from a heavy and sharp weapon such as a machete, several doctors testified.

By all reports, Kimberly was an awesome lady. John Quinlan, a Mont Vernon selectman, and friend of the Cates family for five years described 42-year-old mother and nurse Kimberly Cates as an unusually friendly, happy woman devoted to her daughter.

She was very much the extrovert,” Quinlan said. “The mother and daughter were inseparable. They were almost best friends as well. That’s what I think makes this worse because you can’t imagine anyone having a bad thought about her or a gripe with her.

Legislators in New Hampshire are moving to strengthen penalties for murders during home invasions in the wake of this brutal crime.

Is Life Without Parole For Juveniles Cruel And Unusual?

On October 4, 2009, 17-year-old Steven Spader and 19-year-old Christopher Gribble committed a thrill-killing that shocked the nation. They invaded the Mont Vernon, New Hampshire, home of 42-year-old Kimberly Cates and her 11-year-old daughter Jamie and used a machete to maim the victims. Jamie survived. Her mother did not. Spader, who called himself “the most sick and twisted person you’ll ever meet”, admitted to hacking the mother with 36 blows to the head and torso with a machete. Spader, who was the “president” of his club “Disciples of Destruction”, later bragged to cellmates.

‘I’m the most sick and twisted person you’ll ever meet’: Murderer Steven Spader, who hacked Kimberly Cates to death with machete, ‘insults’ victim’s family with apology

A man convicted of hacking a woman to death with a machete has ‘insulted’ his victim’s family with an apology that also ordered his lawyers not to argue for a reduced sentence.

Steven Spader described himself as “the most sick and twisted person you’ll ever meet”, before going on to apologise for killing Kimberly Cates, who he has admitted striking 36 times in the head and torso with a machete in October 2009 when he was aged 17. The murder took place in Mont Vernon, New Hampshire.

In the letter, read out in court by his lawyers, Steven Spader said: “Through my impulsive actions, I have torn apart families and ruined lives… I am truly sorry for the pain I have caused you. I do not expect forgiveness, nor do I deserve any.”

The apology came at a resentencing hearing on Monday, where Judge Gillian Abramson heard evidence that will help her decide whether to reduce Spader’s mandatory life sentence with no chance of parole.

Spader originally received the sentence after being found guilty of the murder in November 2010.

The US Supreme Court has ruled that the mandatory life sentence constitutes a “cruel and unusual punishment” however, as the crime was committed by somebody under the age of 18.

The 5-4 ruling insisted that the trial judge must weigh the convict’s age, maturity and any mitigating factors before resentencing him.

Spader waived his right to appear in court personally and has reportedly instructed lawyers not to argue for a reduced sentence, saying he did not want to “slip by on some technicality” and insisting he wants to “take responsibility for my actions”.

Kimberly Cates’ 14-year-old daughter Jaimie was in court to hear the apology, along with several other family members.

Jaimie had been present at the time of her mum’s death and was almost killed herself, suffering multiple hack and stab wounds. She was 11-years-old at the time.

Ms Cates’ family refused to accept Spader’s apology, with Prosecutor Jeffery Strelzin saying her father and husband David had found it insulting.

The family declined to address the court or make a comment before they left but a statement issued later by the Kimberly Cates Memorial Scholarship said: “David and Jamie wish only to heal and move forward.”

Prosecutor Strelzin has argued that Spader’s mental state suggests that, far from having his sentence reduced, he should, in fact, never be released.

“He’s a psychopath… it’s not a phase. It’s not something he’s going to grow out of. It’s who he is,” Strelzin said.

Strelzin added that, not only should the mandatory life sentence remain intact, an additional 76 years should be added to it for the attempted murder of Jaimie.

Spader’s lawyers said their client has specifically instructed them not submit any evidence that would reduce his sentence.

At the original trial, the strongest evidence against Spader turned out to be his own words, after he was found to be bragging to cellmates about the graphic details of the murder.

He had reportedly boasted about the amount of blood he’d seen, and also that Ms Cates’ brain had been left exposed and her eyeball ejected from its socket by the ferocity of his blows.

Sentencing Spader at the original 2010 trial Judge Gillian Abramson told him: “you will stay in that cage for the rest of your pointless life”.

Spader was the first of three people to go on trial over the attacks. Co-defendant Christopher Gribble is currently serving a life sentence.

Three other people accepted a plea deal and went on to testify against Spader.

Judge Abramson is expected to resentence Spader on Friday.

Kimberly Cates Murder: Guilty Verdict for Steven Spader in N.H. Home Invasion Death

NASHUA, N.H. (CBS/AP) Steven Spader, the teenager accused of killing New Hampshire mother Kimberly Cates and wounding her daughter with a machete during a home invasion, was convicted Tuesday of murder and other charges and was sentenced to life in prison.

Judge Gillian Abramson handed down the maximum sentence against 19-year-old Steven Spader, saying she could go on for days about the depths of his depravity.

The sentence ensures “you will stay in that cage for the rest of your pointless life,” he told Spader.

Spader was the first person to go on trial in the October 2009 attacks that left Kimberly Cates dead and her 11-year-old daughter, Jaimie, gravely wounded.

Jurors deliberated for about 90 minutes before returning their verdicts against Spader, of Brookline.

Under New Hampshire law, the first-degree murder conviction carries an automatic sentence of life without parole. Spader also was convicted of attempted murder and other felonies.

Spader, whose birthday is Tuesday, showed no reaction to the verdicts. As the jurors were being polled individually on each of their six guilty verdicts, several glared at Spader and responded emphatically.

Spader’s mother, Christine Spader, wept briefly; his father was stoic.

Prosecutors say Spader wielded a machete and co-defendant Christopher Gribble used a knife during the attacks in the Cates’ Mont Vernon home.

Jaimie, now 12, survived by pretending to be dead, then staggered, covered in blood, to a kitchen phone to call police. A doctor testified she would have died of a punctured lung if she had lost consciousness before summoning help.

Blows that cut off portions of Jaimie’s left foot, split open her head and struck her face with enough force to break her jaw had to have come from a heavy and sharp weapon such as a machete, several doctors testified.

During the trial, defense attorney Jonathan Cohen assailed the credibility of three co-defendants who brokered plea deals and testified against Spader. He suggested they, not Spader, were involved in the attacks.

The jury found Spader guilty of both premeditated murder and intentional murder during the commission of a burglary. It also found him guilty of attempted murder, conspiracy to commit both murder and burglary, and tampering with a witness.

Mont Vernon police Chief Kyle Aspinwall, who was present for much of the 11-day trial, said he was satisfied with the verdicts.

“It’s been extraordinarily difficult for the town,” Aspinwall said.

Gribble is set to go on trial in February.

‘Worthless Coward’ Gribble Guilty In NH Home Invasion Murder

Judge Gillian Abramson sentenced him to life in prison without parole, which is automatic in first-degree murder cases.

She also scolded him, saying “infinity is not enough jail time for you.”

Gribble had admitted to killing Kimberly Cates and nearly killing her 11-year-old daughter Jaimie.  The jury was deciding whether Gribble was insane at the time he committed the murder.

He was also convicted of attempted murder, conspiracy to commit murder, conspiracy to commit burglary and tampering with witnesses.

Gribble had no reaction as the verdict was read.

After a 15-minute break, he returned to the courtroom in an orange prison jumpsuit for sentencing.

Cates’ husband David then read an emotional victim impact statement before the judge handed down the sentence.

“This verdict is not justice,” David Cates said.  “But I can only hope that justice will find you very soon.”

Cates then called Gribble a “worthless coward” and blasted him for all the pain he has caused his daughter Jaimie, who Cates said will “ache” for the rest of her life because of what happened to her and her mother.

After the sentencing, the judge told Jaimie Cates, who appeared in the courtroom for the first time Friday, “this man and the other men involved in this terrible crime can never hurt you again.”

Outside of court, Mont Vernon’s police chief spoke about the verdict. He said he believes it was the appropriate outcome, but acknowledged things in his town will never be the same. “The sense of safety and security the community had… has been irreparably damaged,” Chief Kyle Aspinwall told WBZ NewsRadio 1030.

The panel got the case Thursday afternoon and deliberated for about two hours.

They returned to the courtroom Friday with a verdict just after 9 a.m.  All of them left without talking to reporters.

In closing arguments, Assistant Attorney General Peter Hinckley emphasized that Gribble was sane because he plotted, chose the weapons and knew to hide evidence and to initially lie about his involvement.

Defense attorney Donna Brown reminded the jury that even depression is grounds to find Gribble legally insane at the time of the crime.

She portrayed Gribble as an abused child who suppressed urges to kill until he fell in with his accomplice, Steven Spader.