Mont Vernon Murder

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The Mont Vernon Murder was a thrill killing that attracted national and international attention due to the brutality of the killers' crimes, the apparent lack of remorse of murderer Steven Spader, and the ages of the thrill killers when they committed murder.

On October 4, 2009, 17-year-old Spader and Christopher Gribble murdered Kimberly Cates and severely maimed her 11-year-old daughter Jamie during a home invasion in Mont Vernon, New Hampshire. Both victims were assaulted with a machete. Spader admitted to hacking Kimberley Cates to death with 36 blows to the head and torso.

A former Boy Scout, Spader was a high school dropout who passed the GED high school equivalency exam.[1] Spader had formed a club he called "The Disciples of Destruction" shortly before the murder, to whom he recruited his confederates. Spader designed a logo with the initials D.O.D. Spader told his recruits that the home invasion was to be a rite of "initiation" for club members.[2]

Both Spader and Gribble were sentenced to life in prison, while three other accomplices are also serving prison time.

Because of the U.S. Supreme Court's Miller v. Alabama ruling that circumscribed the sentencing of minors to life sentences, both Spader and Gribble were granted sentencing rehearings. Apparently content with his life sentence, Spader informed his attorneys during an April 2013 resentencing hearing that he did not want a reduction in sentence, describing himself as "the most sick and twisted person you'll ever meet."[3] He did not appear at the hearing.

The State of New Hampshire claimed that Spader lacked remorse, considering it "unnecessary" and a form of weakness, and likely would commit more crimes upon release from prison.[4]

His sentence of life plus 76 years was upheld. In May 2013, the New Hampshire Supreme Court allowed Spader to drop the appeal of his conviction.[5] His appellate attorney told the press that Spader did not want to appeal for "personal and moral reasons."[6] Spader was moved to a New Jersey prison in February 2014[7] and subsequently sustained injuries in a prison fight.[8] In October 2014, Gribble sought a reduction in his sentence based on his young age; the court did not rule immediately.[9]

The murder led to the New Hampshire legislature expanding the crimes punishable by the death penalty to include murder during a home invasion.


  1. ^ Washburn, Michael A. "Thrill Kill: The Murder of Kimberly Cates". TruTV: Crime Library. Retrieved 10 August 2013. 
  2. ^ "State's Objection to Defendant's Motion in Limine #3: To Exclude Evidence of Other Bad Acts" (PDF). Courts of New Hampshire. Retrieved 10 August 2013. 
  3. ^ Hall, John. "'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". The Independent. Retrieved 10 August 2013. 
  4. ^ Marchocki, Kathryn. "Spader won't contest life sentence for brutal Mont Vernon killing". New Hampshire Union Leader. Retrieved 10 August 2013. 
  5. ^ "Home invasion leader drops Supreme Court appeal". NECN. 
  6. ^ Marchocki, Kathryn (25 May 2013). "Mont Vernon murder mastermind drops appeal, citing 'personal and moral' reasons". New Hampshire Union Leader. Retrieved 10 August 2013. 
  7. ^ "NH Man Convicted of Murder in Home Invasion Moved to NJ Prison". Associated Press. NECN. April 27, 2014. Retrieved 2015-02-18. 
  8. ^ "Mont Vernon killer Steven Spader injured in N.J. prison altercation". New Hampshire Union Leader. May 22, 2014. Retrieved 2015-02-18. 
  9. ^ "Christopher Gribble asks for sentence reduction for related charges". WMUR-TV. October 17, 2014. Retrieved 2015-02-18.