MEDICINE HAT, Alta. — Two acquaintances of a man accused of murdering his pre-teen girlfriend’s family say he professed to be a 300-year-old werewolf who liked the taste of blood.
But Jeremy Allan Steinke’s terminally ill mother says her son is not the man many think he is and has a good heart.
Daniel Clark, 22, told the Calgary Herald he once saw Steinke wearing what he thought was a small vial of blood around his neck and heard him refer to himself as a lycan — short for lycanthrope, or werewolf.
“I said, ‘Yeah, whatever floats your boat,’” Clark said.
Steinke, 23, and his 12-year-old girlfriend are each charged with three counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of her parents and eight-year-old brother in their Medicine Hat, Alta., home.
Jordan Attfield, 17, a former roommate of Steinke, said he once deliberately cut his hand with a knife and licked it.
“He never drank blood out of a glass or anything,” said Attfield. “I never saw that, but he did when he saw it on himself. He’d lick it up.”
Steinke’s dying mother presented a different picture of him between sobs and a description of how she has become a prisoner in her own home, a woman scorned by town gossips and hounded by reporters on her doorstep.
“He’s not the man everybody thinks he is,” Jacqueline May said. “This is my son,” she said, holding her favourite picture showing a clean-cut, smiling Steinke in his 16th year.
“He has a heart of gold,” May, 43, said as she sat in her old trailer in a mobile home community on the edge of Medicine Hat.
“We may not be rich, but we have a lot of love.”
May, who has been diagnosed with terminal lung disease, said she does not believe the werewolf story.
“Never. No, never.”
Clark agreed that despite Steinke’s odd behaviour, he seemed to be a decent person.
“He was very respectful in me and my girlfriend’s home,” said Clark. “He never swore at us.”
Both Clark and Attfield confirmed Steinke and the accused girl were into goth culture. They said Steinke often dressed in ripped black jeans with body pins, wore his short hair spiked, had a bandana around his neck that he could pull over his face, liked eyeliner and sometimes wore a spiked dog chain around his neck.
Attfield said he lived with Steinke for about three months but moved out about four weeks ago when his roommate became increasingly agitated after breaking up with his fiancee.
About a week after the breakup, Steinke met the young girl, but thought she was 14, Attfield said.
Both men said Steinke did not meet her on the website vampirefreaks.com, as has been widely reported. They say the couple met at an all-ages punk show in Medicine Hat.
Steinke and the girl, who cannot be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, were arrested Monday in Leader, Sask. They are to appear in court again next week.
Three of their friends were also picked up with them, but were not charged.
One of them, a girl who visited May earlier in the week, said she thought they were all going to Saskatchewan to go camping.
The Herald reported that when arrested, Steinke told her, “Tell my mom she can have my TV and that I love her.”
In a lengthy interview in her trailer, which has been thoroughly combed by police searching for evidence, May described her son as respectful and loving.
“If we ever disagreed, he would always apologize after. We were like that.”
She last spoke with her son on Saturday.