The Quebec city of Trois-Rivières was reeling Wednesday after news of a triple murder that may have been sparked by teenage jealousy, with the suspected killers apparently also prepared to kill others.
Two teenage boys were arrested leaving a home where the killings took place Tuesday morning. They've been charged with three counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of two young sisters and the boyfriend of the younger woman.
The two 17-year-old suspects, who can't be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, made a brief youth-court appearance Wednesday and were remanded until Feb. 25, CBC News reported.
The Crown has applied to try the accused as adults, which could potentially affect their sentence, The Canadian Press reported.
"In the case of first-degree murder where the accused is an adult, the sentence is generally 25 years," Rene Duval told reporters in Trois-Rivières outside court, CP said.
"There's a provision in the law that says the maximum is 10 years when the accused is 17 or 16."
Media reports have identified the victims as Raphaëlle Boisvert, 17, her 17-year-old boyfriend Jessy Chevalier and Roxanne Boisvert, Raphaëlle's 22-year-old sister.
Police have confirmed three three victims were shot to death.
A source told QMI Agency that Roxanne Boisvert called 911 from inside the house to report gunshots minutes before she was killed.
Besides the murder charges, the two accused also face three counts of conspiracy related to the killings and an alleged plan to kill the Boisvert sisters' mother, Hélène Bastrash, and police officers who the suspects believed would show up, the Montreal Gazette reported.
Jealousy is being considered as a possible motivation for the killing.
"There seemed to be a certain relationship between one of the suspects and one of the victims," Trois-Rivieres police spokesman Michel Letarte said, according to CP.
Friends of the victims told QMI Agency one of the accused had been involved with Raphaëlle and was angry with her current boyfriend.
Laurence Francoeur told QMI Agency Raphaëlle had rejected the advances of a teenage boy a few months ago and he did not react well, though it's not clear with that boy was one of the accused.
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The murders and police takedown of the suspects rocked the suburban neighbourhood.
Danielle Poitras watched from her living room as police cars converged on the murder scene and intercept the suspects as they left the home.
“The officers were just like this,” Poitras said, holding her arms stretched in front of her, hands clasped together like she was holding a gun, the National Post reported.
Teenagers stood behind the police perimeter, holding onto each other and crying, the Post said.
“We think that one of the three victims is our friend,” said one teenage girl.
“Everyone is in shock, but we don’t have confirmation, so everyone is waiting while also knowing that it’s surely her. Everyone is worried.”
Neighour Gabriel Gignac, 23, spent a lot of time with the young adults in the house.
“Seriously, I could never have believed that someone would have wanted to do harm to [them] because, man, they were really good people," he said, according to the Post.
Francoeur said Raphaëlle had just bought her prom dress.
"She didn't want to show it to us to keep us surprised," he told QMI Agency. "Now we know that it will never happen."