Cops Try to Make Sense of Deadly Skinhead Machete Attack

Four New Hampshire teenagers are accused of murdering woman, injuring daughter.

October 07, 2009, 10:37 PM

Oct. 8, 2009 -- A close-knit New Hampshire town is reeling from the grisly weekend attack on a woman and her young daughter allegedly by a band of teenage skinheads who hacked the mother to death with machetes and knives and left an 11-year-old girl severely injured and bleeding in the family's front yard.

Adding to the horror are the coldhearted remarks two of the alleged teens made online and in person shortly after the killing, indicating a nonchalance about the gruesome crime.

Police arrested four teenagers in connection with the home invasion-turned-bloodbath, charging that the suspects chose the home of Kim Cates, 42, simply because of its distance from any other homes in the rural town of Mont Vernon.

Prosecutors on Tuesday arraigned Christopher Gribble, 19, a devout Mormon scheduled to go on a church mission, and three younger suspects Steven Spader, 17, Quinn Glover, 17, and William Marks, 18, in connection with the robbery and killing.

Cates died from multiple injuries to the head, torso, left arm, and left leg, according to a statement from the New Hampshire attorney general. Her daughter, Jamie Cates, 11, who was slashed and tried to run for help, remains in the intensive care unit at Children's Hospital in Boston.

Gribble updated his Facebook page just hours after the attack, writing on Sunday: "had an awesome time with steve and autumn [sic]! dexter is such a funny show!" "Dexter" is a drama on Showtime about a psychopathic serial killer who murders other criminals.

James Marks told police that when his son, William Marks, did not return home by 11 p.m., his father began sending him text messages. The father said he didn't hear back from William until 4:10 a.m., just minutes after the attack is alleged to have occurred.

Marks said his son did not seem disturbed when he finally came home.

"He didn't really say anything,'' James Marks told the Boston Globe."I said, 'Where have you been?' He said, 'Out.' He didn't seem upset or flustered or anything.''

Authorities said they have to determine why the teens attacked Cates and her daughter.

"It seems that they picked the house at random. This is a rural and isolated location," Assistant Attorney General Peter Hinckley told

Gribble and Spader were charged with first degree murder, attempted murder of a minor and conspiracy to commit first degree murder. Marks and Glover were charged with burglary, conspiracy to commit burglary, and armed robbery.

Gribble was the only suspect who had a lawyer at the time of the arraignment. Calls to his public defender were not returned.

Authorities have not yet disclosed what they believe was the teenagers' motive, but Sgt. Jim White of the New Hampshire State Police said there is "no indication" that the young men knew Cates and her daughter.

Mont Vernon is a small community of about 2,000 residents near the border of Massachusetts.

White said investigators were determining how the suspects, each from nearby towns, met each other but that it was "not unusual for kids from rural areas to meet at regional high schools and through other activities."

Authorities believe Spader, who dropped out of high school last year, led the gang and is responsible for slitting sixth-grader Jamie Cates' throat with a machete. They believe he and Gribble, a handyman at Mormon church who was preparing to go on a mission, hacked Kim Cates to death.

Gribble was in the ROTC. On his Facebook page he posted photos showing him in uniform and holding a "favorite knife."

Anything sharp really, but I love swords and knives," Gribble wrote on Facebook in February.

Friends of the teenagers were shocked that the boys who came from middle class families and participated in activities like school musicals and the Boy Scouts could conspire to commit such brutality.

However, those who knew the teens said they had each undergone a change in temperament in recent weeks going from friendly to darkly menacing.

On his own Facebook page, Gribble wrote: "Although everyone has a light and a dark side, mine are very extreme… If I like you (or at least don't dislike you) I'm the sweetest nicest person ever. But heaven help you if I truly lose it. It's not pretty."

Glover, the Boston Globe reported, was a singer who performed in coffee shops and in a school production of "Cabaret" and Marks was described as "insecure and angst-ridden."

Though it's still unknown how the teens met and allegedly plotted the crime, authorities are moving towards a theory that Spader was the ring leader who influenced the other young men.

Police believe Spader is a young man who cast a strong, negative influence over his peers.

The father of one of Spader's ex-girlfriends remembers him a dangerous character.

"Yes, I've seen violence from him before," Peter Cummings, whose daughter Chelsea dated Spader told ABC News radio affiliate WTKK in Boston.

ABC News Live

ABC News Live

24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events