Kevin Madden, 16, was a habitual school truant. He typically skipped school with his best friend, 15-year-old Timothy Ferriman. The two boys lived in Toronto, Canada, where Timothy was nicknamed “Vampire Boy” due to his penchant for claiming he drank human blood. Despite his evident issues, Kevin’s, 12-year-old brother, Johnathon Madden, completely idolized him.
Johnathon loved Beethoven, especially when his Uncle Luke played the tune on his flute. His favorite foods were tacos, curried chicken, shepherd’s pie, grilled cheese and starfish. He enjoyed watching basketball games and playing video games with his brother. Among his circle of friends, he was known as the joker and could always be seen with a grin on his face.1
On the 25th of November, 2003, Kevin, Timothy, and another unnamed friend, skipped school and went to Kevin’s home on Dawes Road in the east end. Here, they drank alcohol and smoked before completely trashing the house with baseball bats. At the time, Kevin and Johnathon’s mother, Joanne Champagnie, and their stepfather, Ralston Champagnie, were at work and Johnathon was at school.
That afternoon, Kevin told his friends that he planned on killing his family when they returned. Timothy subsequently called his girlfriend to brag about what he and his friends intended on doing. His girlfriend became worried and called back and recorded a conversation between the three teenagers boasting about their murderous plan. Afterwards, she called the police but it was already too late.
Shortly after the phone call, Johnathon had arrived home. He had been intending on getting some money and going to a nearby cybercafe to play computer games. Almost as soon as he entered the home, he was assaulted by the teenagers and shoved down the stairs into the darkened basement. In the basement, they assaulted Johnathon. Timothy then handed Kevin a butcher knife and he subsequently stabbed and slashed his little brother to death. Johnathon sustained 71 stab wounds; his voice box and carotid artery were slashed.
Following the murder, the teenagers waited for Kevin’s stepfather to come home and they then attacked him with a baseball bat and knife. Thankfully, he managed to escape. The three boys were arrested within 24 hours and ordered to stand trial.
During his trial, Kevin stated that “people who did not know Johnathon should not be concerned about what happened to him.” He declared that he had never loved anybody and never felt love from somebody. According to Kevin’s lawyer, Robert Nuttall, Kevin was mentally ill and had suffered tremendously following the breakup of his parents’ marriage. He resented his mother and Ralston and felt as though Johnathon received preferential treatment.
By 2002, Kevin had become increasingly violent. He had assaulted his girlfriend and threatened to kill several of his classmates. According to his lawyer, “his feelings of anger, obsession with violence, grandiose notions of his own abilities and place in the world had escalated.” Kevin admitted to killing his brother but he minimized his moral responsibility for the murder. He claimed he hadn’t planned to kill Johnathon but blamed his actions on an “anger surge.”
He passed the blame onto his mother, stating that she never loved him despite the fact that evidence showed that Joanne and Ralston had tried their very best to communicate with Kevin and get through to him.
Several experts examined Kevin and all of them had determined that he was deeply disturbed but they all differed on what caused this disturbance. The court-appointed psychiatrist, Dr. Ian Swaye, said that Kevin was a psychopath with a personality disorder. He also said that Kevin was highly dangerous and very likely to re-offend.
It was determined that Timothy had not physically participated in the murder but had handed Kevin the knife. “His words and actions had the effect of encouraging Kevin Madden to carry it out,” said Justice David McCombs. According to McCombs, Timothy had showed tremendous remorse and shame for his participation in the murder following his arrest.2
Kevin was found guilty of first-degree murder while Timothy was found guilty of manslaughter. The third teenager was acquitted of all charges.
During the sentencing phase, Kevin’s defense lawyer fought for him to be sentenced as a juvenile and be sent to a youth facility. “My client desperately needs treatment, and unfortunately he’s not going to get it in a federal penitentiary,” he said.3
Kevin was instead sentenced as an adult and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for 10 years. He was credited for three years served in custody. If he had been sentenced as a youth, he could have been released into four years of community supervision in just over three years. Timothy was sentenced to two years in a youth facility followed by three years of probation.
“Johnathon’s brother stabbed and slashed the helpless child to death. It was a frenzied attack,” announced Justice David McCombs while handing down the sentence. He said that despite the fact that Kevin was a teenager when he killed his brother, the sentence was justified because of the brutality and because he showed no remorse.
After being handed down his sentence, Joanne Champagnie silently wept. Justice David McCombs conveyed his “deep sorrow” to the family and urged them to “hold their lives together” despite their terrible loss, not only of their youngest son, but now also their oldest son.
Initially, neither teenager nor the victim were identified due to the fact that both killers were juveniles when they committed the murder. However, since they were sentenced as adults, they could be legally named.
Joanne was pleased that Johnathon could be properly mourned and remembered now that his name was out in the public. Outside court, Joanne refused to speak but her sister, Wendy Eberhardt, read out a family statement. It read: “We are pleased that Kevin and Tim are going to get help with their problems. We’re relieve to have Johnathon’s full name released, so we can properly memorialize him.”
Timothy’s father, Timothy Ferriman Sr., provided a statement to Justice David McCombs which read: “My son and I will never forget this tragedy. I will be sorry for the rest of my life.”
- The Toronto Sun, 30 September, 2006 – “A Blue-Eyed Boy with a Timid Grin”
- The Toronto Star, 30 September, 2006 – “Teen Sentenced to Life”
- The Guelph Mercury, 30 September, 2006 – “Johnathon;s Killers Jailed”