Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Thrill Kill: The Murder of Kimberly Cates

Steven Spader


Steven Spader
Steven Spader
Steven Spader, superficially at least, seemed to be an unlikely ringleader. The longtime Boy Scout had dropped out of Brookline High School, but in the months leading up to his arrest Spader had earned a GED. Sure, he was aloof and a bit of a loner, but few people realized the depth of his depravity. The same kid who wrote on the inside of a hoodie, "This is Steve's sweatshirt — Steve who is awesome," was, according to Glover's testimony, also the same person who enjoyed his "work," the same person that bragged and joked about waking a woman up with a machete to the skull.

Spader's incarceration did nothing to shut his mouth. While awaiting trial, Spader had the audacity to pen an open letter, labeling the citizens of New Hampshire "uninformed idiots" and taking David Cates, husband and father of Spader's victims, to task for openly opposing the inclusion of William Marks and Quinn Glover in their high school yearbook. According to Spader's handwritten letter, "It is not [Billy and Quinn's] fault that they were arrested and charged with what they were charged with, and yet through all the struggle they both are still trying to get an education...."

Chad Landry
Chad Landry
At the same time that Spader wrote this letter to the New Hampshire public, he was also writing to a Chad Landry, a fellow inmate at the Hillsborough County Jail's maximum-security section. According to The Telegraph of Nashua, "The letters describe the preparation, attack and the hours and days following the murder in excruciating detail. A handwriting expert testified that Spader wrote the letters."

During Spader's trial, defense attorney Jonathan Cohen did all that he could to fabricate reasonable doubt. Spader's defense ultimately relied on a kind of "liar, liar" argument. Spader, according to Cohen, wrote those letters and bragged about the crime because he wanted the attention, not because he did the crimes.

The jury in the case didn't buy Cohen's argument. In October 2010, a little more than a year after his crime and on his 19thbirthday, Steven Spader was found guilty. Guilty on two counts of first-degree murder. Guilty of attempted murder. Guilty of conspiracy to murder. Guilty of conspiracy to burglary. Guilty of witness tampering. Spader was sentenced to life without parole and an additional 76 years for the attempted murder of Jaimie Cates. According to The Telegraph, Judge Gillian Abramson "made each of the sentences consecutive to one another 'to ensure that you stay in that cage for the rest of your pointless life.'"

We're Following
Slender Man stabbing, Waukesha, Wisconsin
Gilberto Valle 'Cannibal Cop'