A teen accused of randomly killing two people east of Edmonton in 2009 thought of undercover police officers posing as a crime ring as family.
The accused killer led a troubled life, his murder trial heard Friday. He was placed in care at an early age and abused.
When he was 14, police say he escaped detention from Bosco Homes east of Edmonton, arrived a nearby acreage and shot and beat Susan Trudel and Barry Boenke in June 2009.
But the case fell apart when a judge rejected a police interview with the boy.
Last year, RCMP mounted a so-called "Mr. Big" sting against the teen, then 16, hoping to gain a confession that could be used in court.
When the Mr. Big sting began, the boy was essentially homeless, sometimes staying with his birth mother or at dropping in at Edmonton's youth emergency shelter. He had no high school diploma, no job and no money.
For months, the phony crime world in which he became enmeshed offered him food, money, a place to stay and friendship.
The teen hung out at a condo, playing video games all day. On occasion his handlers bought him items such as a pair of jeans
The boy was paid more than $2,000 for cleaning, painting and going on car trips. He was taken to the mountains and concert featuring a rap artist, two things he had never done before.
"He was so excited to go to this concert," one of the officers testified. "It's the first concert he'd ever been too. He was just on cloud nine."
That same officer said the teen called him brother and would hug him when they said goodbye.
All that would make it hard for such a boy to walk away and may lead him to say and do things that would keep him around, suggested the boy's lawyer Mona Duckett.
When the trial continues next week, Duckett is expected to argue that police violated the teen's rights.