Skip to main content

tv   Bloodlust Under the Bridge  MSNBC  October 30, 2011 2:00pm-3:00pm PDT

2:00 pm
i'm stone phillips. and for all of us at nbc news, good night. 911 emergency. >> has the jury reached a verdict? >> we, the jury, find the defendant -- a desperate outsider, a fair weather friend and the cool girl who called the shots. they ended up here one night with some others. >> we were like, oh, we can go under the bridge. >> the physical beating was planned, a calculated act of revenge. >> i put my cigarette on her forehead. >> you what? >> i put my cigarette out on her forehead. >> then a frenzy of violence. >> everybody just went crazy and started hitting her. >> everybody? >> yeah. >> you too? >> yeah.
2:01 pm
>> what happened next would rock a town. who did it and why. what really happened? in this hour "bloodlust under the bridge." ♪ victoria, british columbia, is a confection of a town, double decker buses, the storied empress hotel gracing its harbor. and everywhere you turn, flowers, music and kodak moments. >> it's considered one of the most peaceful, beautiful places to live in canada, you know, idyllic and crime free. >> rebecca godfrey should know. she grew up here. but has come to know a harsher reality. a memory that lurks behind victoria's picture perfect
2:02 pm
facade. >> it was like a bunch of flammable kids and someone lit a match and it just went off. >> the match, if that is the right word to use, was struck on the night of november 14th, 1997, a clear and beautiful night by all accounts. a full moon shone on the wide waterway that meanders through town. an ocean inlet called the gorge. a group of teenagers also incandescent in the way only 14-year-olds can be gathered on the grounds of shoreline community school to party. missy pleech was there. what would usually happen at parties like that outside at night? >> we'd drink and be loud and cause trouble and go home. >> but that particular night did not turn out like all the others. what happened then changed everything. but first a little information
2:03 pm
about the people who were there. this is missy pleech, she came from a very large family. she has 12 siblings. >> some of us have the same dad, but most of us have different dads. yeah. >> what was it like growing up in that kind of family? >> i was the baby. so i didn't have anybody at home. >> you were lucky 13. >> you could call it lucky, maybe. >> or not? >> or not. by the time i was born she was just so worn out she was just too tired from all the other kids. >> it must have been tough for you. >> at the time it was the greatest thing ever because i could just go do whatever i wanted and she never said anything about it. >> and that is just missy did. >> i drank a lot and i beat people up and i stole things. >> reena virk's world was not tough and she did not usually hang out with the kids from shoreline. she had been invited there that night for a reason.
2:04 pm
reena was, like so many girls her age, in deep anguish. she longed to be willowy, to be popular, to be free. she was not any of those things. >> sometimes she was quiet. she was overly concerned about her weight. so we tried to help her. we said, you are beautiful, you are fine. >> that seemed to comfort her for a while. >> she would feel good for a while but i think again to fit in in those groups was a much greater need she had than getting a comfort from us. >> reena's father, manjit grew up in india, her mother was from a canadian-indian family that had converted to be jehovah's witnesses. their strictures weighed heavily on reena. and soon this apparently content, well behaved child, got in with the wrong crowd. >> she was pretty good but then she met up with these kids and started experimenting with
2:05 pm
smoking and pot and stuff. we tried to warn her this is not the type of friends you want to have. >> the virks wondered what happened to the lively little girl they nurtured so carefully she was not ever left with a babysitter. but her actions soon went beyond teen rebellion. reena went to child welfare authorities and reported her father had sexually molested her. the virks say reena was lured by making the false accusations by her friends who had convinced her being put into foster care would catapult her into teen paradise? foster care? >> yeah. that's what they told her. >> they were holding that out as a good thing? >> yes. she doesn't have to live by our rules. she can be out all hours of the night with no supervision and they'll even give you spending
2:06 pm
money so you can do what you want. >> coming up, tensions flare as reena tries desperately to fit in by being bad. >> she slept with my boyfriend and i was pissed off about it. i was mad. >> and you confronted her? >> yes. probably said some nasty things and she was mad and said some nasty things back. >> missy pleech wasn't the only girl she crossed. her actions would come back to torment her, when "bloodlust under the bridge" continues. [ male announcer ] humana and walmart have teamed up to bring you a low-priced medicare prescription drug plan. ♪ with the lowest national plan premium... ♪ ...and copays as low as one dollar... ♪ ...saving on medicare prescriptions is easy. ♪ so you're free to focus on the things that really matter. call humana at 1-800-808-4003. or go to walmart.com for details.
2:07 pm
delivering mail, medicine and packages. yet they're closing thousands of offices, slashing service, and want to lay off over 100,000 workers. the postal service is recording financial losses, but not for reasons you might think. the problem ? a burden no other agency or company bears. a 2006 law that drains 5 billion a year from post-office revenue while the postal service is forced to overpay billions more into federal accounts. congress created this problem, and congress can fix it.
2:08 pm
gives you a 50 percent annual bonus. so you earn 50 percent more cash. if you're not satisfied with 50% more cash, send it back! i'll be right here, waiting for it. who wouldn't want more cash? [ insects chirping ] i'll take it. i'll make it rain up in here. [ male announcer ] the new capital one cash rewards card. the card for people who want 50% more cash. what's in your wallet? sorry i'll clean this up. shouldn't have made it rain.
2:09 pm
reena virk was a typical teenager trying to be accepted and liked by her peers growing up in victoria, canada. she joined a group of teenage girls who were wild er and more rebellious than she was. reena's parents say these girls convinced her to tell child welfare her father sexually molested her so reena would be
2:10 pm
put in a foster home and be free of her parents and all their rules. and that's just what happened. in the fall of 1996, according to the virks, reena left home and went into the care of the canadian ministry of families and children. a couple of months later, the young teen made the sexual abuse allegation against her father, the virks say the canadian ministry didn't conduct an investigation or even question them. >> it made me feel like you are living in nazi germany, they come in and take whoever they want and do whatever they want and you have no say. >> when we asked the ministry of families and children, they declined to comment saying canadian law prevents them from talking about privacy issues. though hurt by reena's allegations, the virks thought this was a phase reena was going through so they always left the door to their home open for her. >> she is going to come back. because she's going to see
2:11 pm
life is not the same outside. nobody will care for her deep down as we did. she has made a very serious allegation. but i think at that time i knew that the hurt was so big and she knew it. she was sensitive to how i felt, i was taken in by the bullies. she did not know these things were going to happen to me. she was so naive. >> after a few months in foster care they say reena experienced the reality of that expected paradise. feelings she shared with her parents on a visit home. >> she had come back home in the middle of october and said that she was tired of the foster home. >> the sexual abuse charge against her father was dropped but damage had been done. reena had been drawn into a tougher world and missy pleech was part of it. the two had first met in sixth grade. back then being outsiders was what they had in common. what are your first memories of reena? >> she didn't have a lot of
2:12 pm
friends. she got picked on a lot. >> why was that, do you suppose? >> the main thing people said about her when we were in school was she was too fat. they made fun of that. she was very quiet. she didn't talk much. and she kind of kept to herself unless she knew you. >> but the tough girl and the shy girl became friends. >> how did you feel when you saw people pick on her after she became your friend? >> it made me sad but i never said anything about it. i didn't stick up for her. i didn't say anything, i just let it happen. >> did she come to you for comfort? >> never. >> she just hid it? >> mm-hmm. >> she went home and never said anything? >> she never mentioned it ever. >> do you think she was trying to be like you and the other girls, a little tougher -- >> i don't think she was trying to be like anybody. i think she was just trying to be -- she was trying to fit in. >> trying to survive all the
2:13 pm
difficult treatment from other people. >> yeah. >> did she want to be part of the crowd? >> mm-hmm. everybody did. i did. >> pretty important at that age? >> yeah, it is, very important. we hung out all the time and then i moved away. >> missy ran away from home a lot. she was too much to handle, so her mom put her in foster care and that's where missy and reena ran into each other again. when they stayed occasionally both of them at temporary youth homes. they were still friendly but now there were other issues. >> she slept with my boyfriend. i was pissed off about it and i was mad. >> you confronted her? >> i sure did. i probably said some nasty things. she was mad and said some nasty things back. >> there was yet another girl who had reason to be angry with reena virk at shoreline school the night of november 19th.
2:14 pm
her name was nicole cook. like missy pleech, she rebelled early and often. >> yeah. i ran away a lot. >> then one time you went to this place, this group home? >> yeah. i think that is where i met missy and reena. >> nicole cook was everything reena virk envied, slim, pretty, popular and cocky. it doomed their friendship from the start. >> she was very insecure. and i didn't really want to hang out with her anymore because it seemed like she was jealous of me. >> which may be why reena did something that wound up sealing her fate. >> i left my phone book at her house and she called a bunch of people. >> what kind of things did she say? >> stupid stuff. like my eyes were contacts or my boobs were fake. i couldn't understand why she would do that. i was angry. >> nicole cook began to plot her revenge on reena virk with her friend kelly ellard. what started as a couple of
2:15 pm
silly tiffs, an awkward, not so popular girl acting cool to fit in ended in a way no one dreamed was even possible in lovely, peaceful victoria. coming up, the trap is set. the trusted friend makes a fateful phone call. >> missy called reena and told her to come out. >> but the real plan would soon become clear. when "bloodlust under the bridge" continues. when you're a sports photographer, things can get out of control pretty quickly. so i like control in the rest of my life... especially my finances. that's why i have slate, with blueprint. i can create my own plan to pay down large purchases faster... or avoid interest on everyday items. that saves me money. with slate from chase, i'm always in control. financially, anyway. get slate with blueprint and save money. call 855-get-slate today.
2:16 pm
sun life financialrating should be famous.d bad, we're working on it. so you're seriously proposing we change our name to sun life valley. do we still get to go skiing? sooner or later, you'll know our name. sun life financial. a network of possibilities. excuse me? my grandfather was born in this village. [ woman on cellphone speaks foreign language ] [ male announcer ] in here, everyone speaks the same language. ♪ in here, forklifts drive themselves. no, we didn't pass it. yeah, we'll look at a map. okay. [ male announcer ] in here, friends leave you messages written in the air. that's it right there. [ male announcer ] it's the at&t network. and what's possible in here is almost impossible to say. at&t.
2:17 pm
2:18 pm
14-year-old reena virk was miserable. growing up in victoria, canada, she was caught between the traditional culture of her family, their strict religious mentality, and her own desperate need to be accepted by her free-wheeling, hard-partying newfound friends. it's in foster care that reena reunited with missy pleech and where she met nicole cook. often the girls would be in and out of foster care. if they weren't here, they went back home. but two of these new friends got
2:19 pm
angry when reena defied them and they conspired an evil scheme against her. >> she couldn't fit in. >> rebecca godfrey wrote a book about the events of november 14, 1997 called "under the bridge" published in 2005. >> i think she had a certain naive quality and really, really adored these -- worshipped these girls, just so much wanted to fit in with them and when she saw them being mean and tough she tried to be mean and tough. probably thinking that would impress them in a way. and it ended up angering them. >> making nicole cook angry was a big mistake for reena virk. nicole was furious she had stolen her address book and called her friends. she consulted her best friend kelly ellard on how to retaliate. >> me and kelly were talking. i don't understand. this girl wants to ruin your life. they had been best friends since elementary school. >> kelly was kind of protective over me, i guess you could say. if anybody said anything bad
2:20 pm
about me she would always be there to say something. >> nicole said she and kelly decided to get even with reena by beating her up. >> fighting was really common. >> what would cause fights? >> it could have been anything. >> but was fighting all they had in mind? >> nicole's mother told police she heard nicole discussing with a friend ways to kill reena. they were saying, we will invite her out, dig a hole, bury her alive. >> to which nicole replies. >> there was jokes like that. but i never, ever said i was going to kill someone. ever. >> still, a plot was hatched. on november 14, missy pleech and nicole cook were staying at a group home called seven oaks. reena was still in foster care but spending more time at home. >> when i came from work, she was here. it was friday. she seemed happy. she said i'm visiting dad. i'm going to have dinner with
2:21 pm
you and i will spend the night. i said good. good for you. >> she brought her pajamas. >> that's right. so she was very happy and i think that was her genuine plans. she was planning to have a nice bath and stuff and just have a nice evening with the family. and we didn't have a problem with that. and just around 6:30, 7:00, the phone rings. >> missy called reena and told her to come out. >> why did she call reena? >> because she wanted her to get beat up because she screwed around with her boyfriend. >> reena's parents begged her to stay home. >> i told her don't go. at that point, i told her, i said, no, you can't change your plans just like that. it's late. leave your friends alone. it is winter time. it's cold out. just have your shower and continue with us and you can see them tomorrow. >> reena told her parents she had heard rumors that a girl was going to be beaten up that night
2:22 pm
and while she was on the phone reena asked her friends if she was that girl. they said no, it was someone else but come out anyway. >> the invitation was too tempting for her. but i could see on her face that she really didn't want to go, but she was forced to go for some reason. >> so reena left the house saying she would be back in a couple of hours. reena met with missy and nicole. they went to the field at shoreline school where a crowd of kids was drinking and chatting, some smoking pot. >> we were only there about 15 minutes and the window got broken. so the police came and said, you guys got to leave. so we left. >> we all started walking away >> and reena called her parents and said she was going to come home in an hour. >> and they wouldn't let her leave. >> why not? how did they prevent her from leaving? >> they linked arms with her, held on to her so she couldn't walk away. ripped up her bus pass.
2:23 pm
>> we were like, where are we going to go? we can go under the bridge. so we went under the bridge. >> under the bridge, a dank cramped cave-like space, stinking of stagnant water, decaying weeds, urine, discarded food wrappers. there were more than a dozen teens crowded there. some on the bank, some on the staircase nearby. even the light of the full moon couldn't penetrate the shadows. reena virk sat on an old tree stump. it's not there anymore. standing around her, nicole, missy, nicole's best friend kelly and five other teens. >> i asked her, i was like, why are you saying stuff about me? she called me a bitch. >> it just started. >> i put my cigarette on her forehead. >> you what? >> i put my cigarette on her forehead. >> it was so quick. >> she pushed me and kelly
2:24 pm
jumped up and she turned to run away and she got halfway up. i don't know who it was but somebody pulled her down. >> and then i think kelly hit her. then missy hit her. >> everybody just went crazy just started hitting her. >> everybody? >> yeah. >> you, too? >> yeah. >> she's your friend. >> yeah. >> maybe one of the best friends you ever had? >> yeah. >> and you kicked her? >> yeah. >> punched her? >> yeah. >> and felt what as you were doing this? >> nothing. i didn't think. >> how long did this pack of 14-year-olds beat at reena virk's face and body? in such a hyped up atmosphere nobody was timing it that's for sure. later on some remembered it seemed to have lasted a minute or less. then one of the attackers shouted enough and as quickly as it started, it ceased. reena virk lay bleeding, crying,
2:25 pm
crumpled in the mud at the water's edge. >> we just left. we left her there. >> left her there. spent the whole evening with her and invited her to the party and helped beat her up. >> and we left her there. >> no one called 911. no one seemed to care whether reena virk was hurt badly or needed help. this is how nicole cook rationalizes it. >> she walked away. she got up and left. i saw her walk away. i saw her leave. >> what sort of shape did she seem to be in? >> i don't know. she didn't seem -- i can't really remember. i only saw her for a second. >> coming up, lots of witnesses, but not many answers in what is soon to be a case of murder. >> 3:00 in the morning when they came, the police officers said there were two fights and reena went in the water and is presumed dead. that is all they told us. >> when "bloodlust under the bridge" continues.
2:26 pm
the other office devices? they don't get me. they're all like, "hey, brother, doesn't it bother you that no one notices you?" and i'm like, "doesn't it bother you you're not reliable?" and they say, "shut up!" and i'm like, "you shut up." in business, it's all about reliability. 'cause these guys aren't just hitting "print." they're hitting "dream." so that's what i do. i print dreams, baby. [whispering] big dreams. ♪ apply fixodent once, and it holds all day. ♪ take the fixodent 12 hour hold challenge. guaranteed, or your money back. ♪
2:27 pm
she's supporting breast cancer programs for her neighbour's tennis instructor's daughter's 1st grade teacher who's also her mom. help fund breast cancer programs in your community. redeem your lids today
2:28 pm
2:29 pm
i'm milissa rehberger. here's what's happening. the historic october snowstorm that blasted the northeast this weekend has left more than a million people without power. the governor of connecticut says it's the largest number of outages the state has ever had. at least three deaths are blamed on this storm. and a shoot-out in cabo san lucas, mexico, left hundreds of shoppers stranded for hours. security forces exchanged gunfire with armed men in the parking lot. no injuries were reported. now back to our program. she schemes to be taken from her family and placed in a foster home because like her friends she thinks it would mean more freedom and escape from her parents' supervision.
2:30 pm
trying to act tough reena spread rumors about a popular girl in her group, nicole cook. she also betrayed another member of the group, missy pleech, who accused reena of sleeping with her boyfriend. the angry friends plotted to get revenge against reena. on friday, november 14, 1997, missy pleech phoned reena, invited her out. reena's instincts told her something was wrong but she met with the group of teens anyway. it was then under a bridge that reena was kicked, attacked and punched and badly beaten. no one called 911. missy remembers seeing reena after she left the bridge. >> she was walking very slow. and she came up and she went back down. >> she saw you there. >> she saw everybody. i don't think she saw me. i was quite far away. >> she saw the crowd? >> mm-hmm.
2:31 pm
>> what do you think was going on in her mind right then? >> i think she was going to go and wait until everybody left. >> that may have been her decision, but what do you think she was thinking? >> i don't know. >> feeling? >> pain. >> was she afraid? >> i would imagine. i would have been. >> nicole and missy had a bus to catch to make curfew. >> we had to be back at like 11:00 at that group home. >> so you and nicole left? >> yeah. >> what did you talk about it on the way home? >> nothing. it was like it never even happened. >> you didn't talk about the beating? you didn't talk about her at all? >> unh-unh had. >> were you afraid? >> no. >> were you shocked about what had happened? >> i just didn't think about it. >> how is that possible? come on. you had to have thought about
2:32 pm
it. >> i didn't. at that point i was really easy at shutting everything down. >> missy and nicole were checked in at the group home a few minutes after 11:00. reena virk struggled across the bridge, hurting, bleeding, bruised from the severe beating she had just received. the crowd of teens dispersed. almost. in addition to the girls, there was one boy, warren glowatski. >> warren didn't know reena virk. had no reason to be angry with her. >> although, says rebecca godfrey, warren did have reason to be angry at somebody. >> his life was about as unstable as a life could be. his mother was an alcoholic and his father had moved to california so he was on his own. >> glowatski, he's 5'5", 130 pounds. >> john bond is an investigator with the victoria police department. bond says warren told him as reena virk was staggering across the bridge, he and nicole cook's
2:33 pm
best friend, kelly ellard, followed her. >> ellard confronts her, if reena virk going to rat her out. >> no one can really say why kelly followed reena. was it to impress her friend nicole? was it a taste for violence that the fight had awakened? her background made what happened next hard to believe. >> she wasn't a troublemaker. she has a good family. her family always looked out for her. >> catherine murray the prosecutor in the trials that followed said warren testified that he and kelly continued to beat reena. >> and then they started kicking, stomping on her, jumping up and down on her until she was unconscious. then they each took a foot and they dragged her to the water's edge. warren said at that time he let go and kelly took her into the
2:34 pm
gorge up to about her waist and she karate chopped reena's throat and then she held her under water until she stopped moving. >> warren never tried to stop her? >> no. >> the horror of it is almost diminished by the telling. a trusty, needy 14-year-old girl was brutally beaten and then murdered by other teens who really didn't even know her for reasons that were utterly trivial. >> i'm satisfied the eight participants, none of them intended to go out that night and kill reena virk. >> at home reena's parents watched the door for their daughter. >> i had this uneasy feeling that there was something wrong. i didn't sleep all night. i was worried where she was going. >> in the morning when she hadn't come home her mother called around frantically. >> i actually found nicole and missy at the group home. they said that they didn't know where she was.
2:35 pm
they hadn't seen her. it's like panic. panic. total panic. all the time. it's like, okay, i've got to find her. i need to know where she is. >> to me it was like any other saturday morning. >> nicole, kelly and missy went back to the bridge grounds the next morning, back to the little beach where reena virk had been dragged and drowned. to hear nicole cook tell it, kelly didn't act like she had killed anyone the night before? typical. >> sure. to my knowledge kelly never took part in a murder. it wasn't like a morning after a murder and we are all hanging out and acting like nothing happened. because to me, nothing did happen. >> missy pleech, however, remembers a very different scene. she says kelly called her and nicole at the group home the next morning. >> she said i killed her and warren just sat there and watched and he didn't help me. >> then the three of them met at the murder scene. >> we walked along and she said, i finished her off. i dragged her into the water. we have to look around and see
2:36 pm
if we can find any of her stuff. so we were walking and we found her shoes. nicole put them in her bag. we just kept walking. >> i mean, that's possible. but i don't remember a lot about that day. >> the police treated reena virk as a missing person. when rumors finally surfaced that there was a murder involved, victoria's finest scarcely knew what to believe. >> it was bizarre. these kids came home for several days where they had been involved in a significant assault where a girl has been murdered and life carried on as normal. >> still, there was no body and there were many unanswered questions. >> so like 3:00 in the morning is when they came. the police officer said that there was a fight. there were two fights and reena went in the water and is presumed dead. that's all they told us. that's it.
2:37 pm
nothing more, nothing less. >> coming up -- shocking revelations. and a chilling reaction. >> i'm not responsible for her death in any way, shape or form. >> did you start it all? trying to make sense of a senseless murder when "bloodlust under the bridge" continues. [ male announcer ] humana and walmart have teamed up to bring you a low-priced medicare prescription drug plan. ♪ with the lowest national plan premium... ♪ ...and copays as low as one dollar... ♪ ...saving on medicare prescriptions is easy. ♪ so you're free to focus on the things that really matter. call humana at 1-800-808-4003. or go to walmart.com for details. gives you a 50% annual bonus! so you earn 50% more cash. according to research, everybody likes more cash.
2:38 pm
well, almost everybody... ♪ would you like 50% more cash? no! but it's more money. [ male announcer ] the new capital one cash rewards card. the card for people who want 50% more cash. what's in your wallet? woah! [ giggles ]
2:39 pm
2:40 pm
november 14, 1997, 14-year-old reena virk was brutally beaten and killed by members of a group of teens in victoria, british columbia, canada. >> what's really incredible about the investigation is that reena was murdered on a friday night. all these kids went back to school on monday and all talking
2:41 pm
about a girl being killed. none of the kids seemed that troubled or disturbed by this and life just went on. >> it was a full seven days after reena virk's murder when victoria police swooped down on the friday evening crowd at shoreline school and arrested all eight teens. according to nicole, she and kelly made a pact. when police asked them questions neither one of them would talk. >> nicole refused to give a statement. the only thing she asked if she could get john gotti's lawyer. kelly immediately did start talking to the police. >> it wasn't until after her interview with us that nicole finally reckoned with what kelly had done and did not feel quite as loyal to her as she once did. reena was still missing. there was no body. but by then the police had learned one important fact. >> three people went across the bridge. two people came back.
2:42 pm
>> now police knew where to look. and saturday morning a dive team inched along through the black water at the bottom of the gorge, pushing aside the slimy eel grass catching momentarily on the rocks, skirting the discarded junk lying on the bottom. >> we put police up in a helicopter and early afternoon we located the body of reena virk. >> i wanted to die with her. i wanted to be dead, too. >> the whole city, much of the country went into something like shock over the murder of reena virk. how could this happen in such a peaceful town? what would make ordinary kids, little girls, really, do such a thing? >> reena's immediate family quickly pass a hoard of reporters and cameras. >> but anyone hoping for a quick and easy answer would be
2:43 pm
disappointed. missy pleech, reena's friend who convinced her to come out that night, is haunted by what she did. >> it was my fault. >> why? >> because she trusted me. and if i didn't ask her, she wouldn't have gone. >> missy told us she had never gone back under the bridge. now she agreed to come with us and show us exactly how it happened. might help her deal with the guilt, she said. but the moment she arrived, horror tore at her unbearably. >> i can't be here. >> what comes back? >> everything. guilt. it shouldn't have happened. it was dark. it was just like this. exactly like this. i'm terrified. i don't want to be down here at
2:44 pm
all. i don't want to be here. >> in 1998 kelly ellard and warren glowatski were charged with second degree murder. they would go on trial. but six girls who kicked and punched and pounded reena were convicted of assault and they received sentences of up to a year in juvenile detention. nicole cook, the girl who started the fight by stubbing out her cigarette on reena's forehead still feels that was a little too much. >> i'm not responsible for her death in any way, shape or form. i wasn't there. i didn't kill her. >> do you think she would have been murdered if the fight had never occurred? >> i don't know. maybe not. maybe. >> you have no responsibility for it? >> she didn't die as a result of that beating. >> did you start it all? >> some people would say that. yeah. >> all eight teens involved in that terrible night served time here at victoria's youth custody
2:45 pm
center. >> it was a very unique situation. unique because it was almost all girls. >> gordon cruz, now retired, was a corrections officer at the time. he said the youth center tried to maintain the routine of a maximum security facility despite the enormous publicity. this kind of thing had never occurred or had very seldom ever occurred in victoria. very high profile in the community. there were articles in the media, newspaper, radio, television. unique, high-profile, quite exceptional. and obviously very tragic. >> by the year 2000, the case was closed. 19-year-old warren glowatski and 17-year-old kelly ellard were both tried and convicted of second degree murder.
2:46 pm
they were sentenced to life in prison but with the possibility of parole in seven years. officer cruz remembers being surprised when he first met warren. >> my first reaction in shaking his hand and meeting him was this kid was involved in that? he is so timid, so quiet, so shy. wow. >> according to cruz, warren took advantage of counseling and participated in self-help programs, and that help changed his outlook on life. >> he didn't join the gangs or toughen up or harden himself to survive in prison. he found people that would kind of allow him to become a better person. >> but what became of kelly ellard? the girl accused of holding reena virk under the water until she was drowned? in 2004 her guilty verdict was overturned on appeal. kelly was getting a second trial.
2:47 pm
warren would be faced with the difficult decision of whether or not to testify against kelly. >> in prison, the culture at the prison is you do not testify. and if you do, you're threatened that you'll be killed either inside or outside and it's just not done. >> but in spite of the fear of having his name exposed again in the media, warren decided to testify for the virks. kelly ellard admitted taking part in the initial beating. but she said it was only in self defense. and then warren told his story in court. >> he was crying and it was so -- the whole courtroom was deadly silent. kelly actually started crying, just sobbing and weeping and she had never shown any emotion. i think it became real for the first time how horrible it was. >> emotions ran high inside the courtroom. and outside as well. where the anguished parents of
2:48 pm
reena virk and kelly ellard lashed out at each other. >> i still think you are a gentleman. >> you have not experienced the pain of a dead child. >> i realize that. i said that. >> it does not compare. >> seven years of not saying anything. i've had it. i have to say something. why would kelly kill reena virk? she didn't know reena virk. she had no criminal record. she didn't even know half of those people there. so you tell me why all of a sudden she's going to get that anger and she's going to go across a bridge and kill someone? i don't think so. could be down between warren glowatski and kelly ellard and the jury is going to decide. >> but the jury did not decide. it was a mistrial after a hung jury. and in 2005 kelly ellard went back to court for a third time. catherine murray was the prosecutor for both the second and third trial. >> we have evidence from people
2:49 pm
who saw kelly coming over the bridge and then going back again. we called probably eight, nine, ten people that she confessed to. >> kelly ellard's defense has always been that her schoolmates repeated gossip and rumor and conspired against her. but the jury did not agree. they found kelly ellard guilty of second degree murder. she was again sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after seven years. coming up -- a decade after reena's murder, warren glowatski asks her parents for forgiveness. >> i really don't want to shake hands with my daughter's killer. [ male announcer ] to the 5:00 a.m. scholar. the two trains and a bus rider. the "i'll sleep when it's done" academic. for 80 years, we've been inspired by you.
2:50 pm
and we've been honored to walk with you to help you get where you want to be. ♪ because your moment is now. let nothing stand in your way. learn more at keller.edu. ♪ ♪ co-signed her credit card -- "buy books, not beer!" ♪ let nothing stand in your way. but the second that she shut the door ♪ ♪ girl started blowing up their credit score ♪ ♪ she bought a pizza party for her whole dorm floor ♪ ♪ hundred pounds of makeup at the makeup store ♪ ♪ and a ticket down to spring break in mexico ♪ ♪ but her folks didn't know 'cause her folks didn't go ♪ ♪ to free-credit-score-dot-com hard times for daddy and mom. ♪ offer applies with enrollment in freecreditscore.com™.
2:51 pm
2:52 pm
eight years after teenager reena virk was beaten and drowned in victoria, canada, one
2:53 pm
of the teens accused, warren, owned up to his part of the murder and asked forgiveness from reena's parents. >> we were apprehensive. my reaction was i really don't want to shake hands with my daughter's killer. >> i have been able to realize the hurt that i have done to people, the hurt that i've done to myself. that alone has helped me and made me want to change. >> we were able to tell him how he had utterly completely destroyed our lives and the effect his part in the murder had on us. >> if he wants to change his life from his former course of actions or former course of bad lifestyle and he wants to reform himself, i think we should totally support him. >> in 2007 with the support of
2:54 pm
the virks warren glowatski was released on supervised parole. warren now works in welding and construction. he lives in a supervised facility. he goes out to make speeches, though, to kids in schools and in prisons. he has to be home every evening, and he is re-evaluated every six months. >> he can't drink. he can't leave the province. he has to meet with a parole officer every week. >> but the ordeal still wasn't over for the virks. in 2008 the british columbia court of appeals ruled kelly ellard did not receive a fair trial because of what it called unfair questioning by the prosecution. kelly's latest conviction was overturned allowing the now 25-year-old a fourth trial. her case stands before the supreme court of canada to determine whether another trial is warranted. >> the system is granting her all these options where it's
2:55 pm
been dragged through the courts until today, 11 years later. >> and for the virks, there was more. since their daughter had been taken from them and placed in foster care, they filed a civil suit against the ministry of families and children. >> she was in their care. had she not be in their care she would still be alive. >> in the spring of 2008 the case was dismissed. a judge decided they took too much time. >> it saddens me the irony on one hand, they have taken 11 years to bring the trials to end increasing our agony and they're not concerned about it. in our case, they wanted the time frame to be considered. >> rebecca godfrey who spent
2:56 pm
eight years researching what happened says reena virk died because of a spontaneous combustion. >> some of the girls were incredibly violent before this and were really caught up in the notion of violence as a romantic, kind of powerful thing. >> violence, romantic. how could that be? what causes teens to act out like this? >> i've often been told by young people who have been engaged in these altercations that they can't believe that it actually happened. >> dr. cybil arts is at the university of victoria. although she's never spoken to the teens involved in reen reena virk's death, she has been studying violence in youth and particularly girls. she is the author of several books including "sex, power and the violent schoolgirl." someone throws a punch and it becomes real. and then by that time the
2:57 pm
adrenaline level is up and things are in motion. people engage in tunnel vision, they become focused, their adrenaline is high. they're now out of control. >> but what made six of the eight people involved in reena's beating stop while two others continued? >> people make internal decisions even when they're in a very, very heightened state. those decisions are guided by how they understand the situation in the moment. in that case, six people had enough of a moral compass to stop. two of the eight did not have that kind of moral compass. >> and without a moral compass, even something as savage as the murder of an innocent girl can be seen as something to be proud of. >> we are being able to display power over others and dominance, gives them a sense of value and importance.
2:58 pm
>> she says sometimes girls do engage in serious use of aggression and violence, and when it happens, it gets a lot of attention because it happens so rarely. >> i think it's a reason to be concerned, but it's certainly not an indicator of a vast and overwhelming trend. >> and as the wheel of justice grinds on and on, the virks wake up each day to a kind of hell only they understand. i see the two of you sitting here, and you speak so eloquently of what happened, but there's a big layer of scar tissue, isn't there? >> yes. once somebody asked me when i was really sick and down they said, oh, you look good. i said, well, it's not my face that is sick. it's my heart that's sick. >> manjit started putting his
2:59 pm
thoughts of pain and grief onto paper. they were published in a book called "reena, a father's story." my hope is it might help some families, some children and everybody who reads it and hope it serves some good purpose in community. >> the lives of every one of the young people there that friday night in november of 1997 have been changed forever. affected by the violence in which they participated. but reena's life was not changed forever. it was taken. leaving for her parents an eternal emptiness. >> some people say forgive and forget. i have learned that forgiving can be done. but something like that is really hard to forget. we'll never forget. but we have forgiven.

225 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on