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For close to three years he was the 12-year-old Toronto boy with no face and only one name, cut and stabbed so ferociously that he drowned in his own blood.

He was simply "Johnathan," his identity shielded because one of the three teenagers accused of slaughtering him was his older brother, 16 at the time. Identifying the brother would have contravened provisions of the Youth Criminal Justice Act and so "Johnathan," much to the chagrin of his mother, was robbed not just of his life, but also of his identity.

But as sentence was passed yesterday on two of the three accused (the third was acquitted of all charges in February), a Superior Court judge ruled that the horrendous circumstances demanded the killers be dealt with as adults. And so, finally, the veil was lifted and Johnathon Robert Madden of Dawes Road, in Toronto's east Danforth area, can be named and seen - as his mother had asked the court.

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Likewise unveiled are the two killers, Kevin Madden, a hulking, stone-faced figure, now almost 20, and his friend, Timothy Ferriman, nicknamed Vampire Boy for his professed fondness for sipping blood.

"The facts are horrific," Mr. Justice David McCombs concluded, outlining what he described as "a hideous, senseless crime."

Mr. Madden was found guilty of first-degree murder in February and sentenced to life imprisonment yesterday for killing his little brother in the family home, cutting and slicing his face and neck 71 times with a butcher knife, severing both his voice box and his carotid artery.

Mr. Madden was also convicted of trying to murder his stepfather, Ralston Champagnie, who was attacked with a knife and a baseball bat when he returned home that same afternoon in November of 2003. For that, received a concurrent 10-year prison term, less three years spent in pretrial custody.

Two years of his life sentence will be served in a youth facility and the balance in a federal penitentiary, Judge McCombs ruled. Behind bars since the day after Johnathon was slain, he will be eligible to apply for parole in just over seven years.

Like all lifers, Mr. Madden will be under supervision the rest of his days, if or when he goes free. He is not necessarily beyond all hope, the judge said.

In keeping with his icy demeanour throughout the trial, Mr. Madden showed not a shred of emotion yesterday. Mr. Ferriman, now 18 and convicted of manslaughter for his role in Johnathon's death, was slightly more animated, glancing around at the packed courtroom where his father, Timothy, sat.

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Unlike Mr. Madden, Mr. Ferriman addressed the court during the sentencing hearing, apologizing for what he had done. The judge said yesterday he found the remorse of the "deeply disturbed" young man to be credible.

Mr. Ferriman did not stab the boy but he handed Mr. Madden the murder weapon, and he helped move Johnathon's dead body.

On top of time served, Mr. Ferriman must spend two years less a day in the youth prison system - in which he is said to have made significant rehabilitative progress - followed by three years' probation.

The judge's comments during the trial were laced with sympathy for the Madden family's ordeal of having one son murder another.

But for both prosecution and defence, too, the case was unusually taxing.

The first trial was aborted midway through the jury's deliberations, after postings on a vampire-related Internet site - the same one patronized by Montreal's Dawson College killer - cast doubt on the veracity of a teenaged girl who was the Crown's key witness.

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Aged 14 at the time, the girl had tape-recorded a telephone call in which the two killers had bragged of plans to wipe out Mr. Madden's family, beginning with Johnathon. Less than an hour later, with the house vandalized and smashed up, Johnathon's 45-kilogram body was stuffed in a basement crawl space as the three accused awaited Mr. Champagnie's return.

All were arrested within 24 hours.

Mr. Madden never disputed killing his brother, who "adored" him, the boys' mother, Joanne Champagnie, said in a heart-wrenching victim-impact statement.

Missing throughout the trial, however, was any persuasive insight into how Mr. Madden's rage boiled to such a peak that he wanted to annihilate his family.

After the verdicts, emotions were mixed.

Lead prosecutor Hank Goody, who argued strenuously for adult sentences, declined comment.

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But Mr. Madden's lawyer, Robert Nuttall, who sought to have his client sentenced as a youth, said he would appeal the ruling.

"I'm disappointed for Kevin, everybody agrees that Kevin is a very troubled fellow," he said. "Kevin desperately needs treatment. And unfortunately, he's not going to get it."

He described Mr. Madden as a "deeply disturbed young man" - not the psychopath perceived by Dr. Ian Swayze, a psychiatrist who examined him at length - who would benefit from treatment within the youth justice system. "If he doesn't get treatment, he will remain a high risk to reoffend. The issue is, where's he going to get the treatment? It sounds like the [penitentiary]is not the place to get it."

John Dennis, Mr. Ferriman's lawyer, called the past three years "a roller-coaster ride" and said he, too, would appeal the decision to sentence the young men as adults.

Ms. Champagnie, the Madden boys' mother, said nothing.

Dressed in a ribbed beige sweater and dark slacks and flanked by supporters, she started dabbing her eyes as she took her seat in the first row, the same place she occupied for each day of the sentencing hearing, listening attentively to Judge McCombs.

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Each time he alluded to the brutal murder, tears flowed from her eyes, and when he described how Mr. Ferriman helped move the body, she held her eyes tightly shut.

Talk of Mr. Madden's thoughts elicited a different reaction.

"[Kevin]has repeatedly stated that he has never loved anyone, and has never felt love from anyone," the judge said.

Ms. Champagnie looked down and shook her head.

And when the judge told the court that Mr. Madden blames his mother for not protecting him, she again shook her head.

She didn't react when Mr. Madden's sentence was announced.

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But she burst into tears when Judge McCombs offered his condolences to her family.

She wanted Johnathon's identity revealed, she told the trial earlier, because she wanted him to be remembered - to have a face.

When she realized yesterday the publication ban could be lifted, she exhaled a sigh of relief.

Homicide squad Detective Sergeant Terry Wark, who drew close to the family throughout their ordeal, said later that Ms. Champagnie was content with the outcome and still wants to be in Mr. Madden's life.

"But she realizes he needs help," Det. Sgt. Wark said. "She's happy that he'll be in a youth facility for the next two years, because he has been getting a lot of help in there."

The judge's ruling was fair, he said. "He was very compassionate to the family, but I think his sentence today was very helpful to the two boys, and it also gets across the message of deterrence."

Dr. Swayze also voiced approval.

Mr. Madden, he said, is "salvageable to the extent that he's relatively young, and he hasn't had a lifetime of entrenched antisocial attitudes."

Johnathon and Kevin's biological father, also named Kevin Madden and estranged from Ms. Champagnie since 1993, had no comment on the ruling.

After the sentencing, the brothers' aunt, Wendy Eberhardt, read a statement on behalf of her family.

"We are relieved to see an end to the trial," she said. "We are pleased that Kevin and Tim are going to get help with their problems. We're relieved to have Johnathon's full name released, so that we can now properly memorialize him."

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