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'World of Warcraft' chats tell murderers' tale

Activision Blizzard

Screen shot of World of Warcraft: Cataclysm

About a year after pleading guilty to first-degree murder and indignity to human remains, the digital footprint left by two teens shows an escalation towards sadism, unchecked rage and the desire to do it again.

In Canada, this case caught all the headlines in 2010, when Kruse Wellwood and Cameron Moffat were arrested for the brutal rape and murder of high school classmate Kimberly Proctor in a suburb of British Columbia capitol Victoria; and again in spring 2011, when the teen boys went to trial for sentencing, and a judge released more evidence

Now, with an in-depth examination in Vanity Fair, by David Kushner, the details of this terrible triangle reveal a devolution into hardcore fantasies with a focus on victimizing Proctor, with much of the evidence that would condemn them found on MSN and "World of Warcraft" chats. (Msnbc.com is a joint venture of NBC Universal and Microsoft, which runs MSN.)

Much of the teens' thoughts, and later, bragging about their actions, were found online, including a February 2009 Wordpress blog Wellwood posted titled, “Early Warning Signs of a Serial Killer.” Wellwood admits in that post that he meets all the criteria. His father was also a convicted murderer — also of a teenage girl.

In the Vanity Fair story (in which Kushner doesn't pull any punches, so be prepared to read explicit details), Wellwood is shown to realize his digital imprint, but not well enough to remove all evidence.

With Kim’s death consuming the town and the local news, Kruse became increasingly paranoid about leaving any more evidence online. But he couldn’t resist the urge to share his story with someone he trusted. He was afraid of using MSN, but he thought the chat logs in "World of Warcraft" were less likely to be saved. On March 23, five days after Kim’s murder, he told his gamer girlfriend in Halifax on MSN that he had something urgent to tell her, but that he wanted to do it over "World of Warcraft" chat instead. Once inside "World of Warcraft," he confessed to the crime. Back on MSN, he sent her links to the news reports as backup.

Kushner writes about how the police tightened the noose around the boys, including recorded conversations that unveiled just how troubled they were:

Soon, police had enough evidence to secure the necessary judicial authorization to monitor and analyze Kruse’s and Cam’s online activities. Keeping Kruse and Cam under close surveillance, the police bugged their homes, their cellphones, and even the gazebo where they hung out in the park. Through forensic analysis of the boys’ computers and cellphones, they dug up their Google and Wikipedia searches, as well as old transcripts of texts and instant messages. In total, the Tech Crimes Unit amassed the equivalent of 1.4 billion sheets of paper on the two.

Some of the gruesome details about the murder had come out in 2010, but Kushner's story is probably the most comprehensive tale to be told about it. Throughout the piece, he seems careful about not implicating "World of Warcraft" or other games as the cause for the boys' behavior, or the murder. 

Moffat and Wellwood were sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 10 years.

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