FBI probes hanging death of black teen in North Carolina #LennonLacy

Teenager’s mysterious death evokes painful imagery in North Carolina: ‘It’s in the DNA of America’

The swing set where Lennon Lacy was found hanging  in the rural town of Bladenboro, North Carolina

The swing set where Lennon Lacy was found hanging in the rural town of Bladenboro, North Carolina

From The Guardian:

Friday 29 August was a big day for Lennon Lacy. His high school football team, the West Bladen Knights, were taking on the West Columbus Vikings and Lacy, 17, was determined to make his mark. He’d been training all summer for the start of the season, running up and down the bleachers at the school stadium wearing a 65lb exercise jacket. Whenever his mother could afford it, he borrowed $7 and spent the day working out at the Bladenboro gym, building himself up to more than 200lbs. As for the future, he had it all planned out: this year he’d become a starting linebacker on the varsity team, next year he’d earn a scholarship to play football in college, and four years after that he’d achieve the dream he’d harboured since he was a child – to make it in the NFL.

“He was real excited,” said his Knights team-mate Anthony White, also 17, recalling the days leading up to the game. “He said he was looking forward to doing good in the game.”

The night before the game, Lacy did what he always did: he washed and laid out his football clothes in a neat row. He was a meticulous, friendly kid who made a point of always greeting people and asking them how they were doing. Everybody in his neighbourhood appears to have a story about how he would make a beeline to shake their hand, or offer to help them out by moving furniture or anything else that needed doing. “He was in the best sense a good kid,” said his pastor, Barry Galyean.

His brother, Pierre Lacy, said that football was the constant that ran through Lennon’s life since he started out as a Pee Wee: “He was very serious about being a professional, very passionate about it. He never changed his mind or wavered from the course.”

Lennon Lacy

Lennon Lacy

But Lacy never made it to the game that night. At 7.30am on Friday – exactly 12 hours before the game was scheduled to start – he was found hanging from a swing set about a quarter of a mile from his home. The Knights had lost one of the most promising players; his tight-knit family was thrown into despair; and a question echoed around the streets of the tiny town of Bladenboro, North Carolina: what had happened to Lennon Lacy?

The last person known to have seen Lacy alive was his father, Larry Walton. Around midnight on the night before the game, he came out of his bedroom to fetch a glass of water and saw his son preparing his school bag for the following morning. “I told him he needed to get to bed, the game was next day, and he said ‘OK, Daddy’.” A little later Walton heard the front door open and close; Walton assumed Lacy must have stepped out of the house, but thought no more of it and went to sleep.

Next morning there was no sign of Lacy, and Walton and Lacy’s mother, Claudia, thought he’d gone off to school. Later that morning, Claudia noticed he’d left some of his football gear on the line, so she called the school to say she’d bring it to him before the game. She was surprised to be told that her son hadn’t turned up at school. Just as she put the phone down, there was a knock on the door, and the Bladenboro police chief, Chris Hunt, was standing in front of her.

“I need you to come with me,” he said.

Claudia was led to a trailer park a short walk from her home, where an ambulance was parked on the grass next to a wooden swing set. Even before she had got to the ambulance she saw police officers clearing away the crime scene tape that had been placed around the swing.

Then she saw Lennon’s body lying in the ambulance in a black body bag, and on top of the immense shock and grief of seeing her son lifeless in front of her, the bewilderment intensified. “I know my son. The second I saw him I knew he couldn’t have done that to himself – it would have taken at least two men to do that to him.”

She noticed what she describes as scratches and abrasions on his face, and there was a knot on his forehead that hadn’t been there the day before. In a photograph taken of Lacy’s body lying in the casket, a lump is visible on his forehead above his right eye. “From that point on it was just not real, like walking through a dream,” she said.

Five days after Lennon Lacy was found hanging, the investigating team – consisting of local police and detectives from the state bureau of investigation – told the family that it had found no evidence of foul play. There was no mention of suicide, but the implication was clear. In later comments to a local paper, police chief Hunt said: “There are a lot of rumours out there. And 99.9% of them are false.”

The Lacys were left with the impression that, for the district attorney, Jon David, and his investigating team, the question of what had happened to Lennon Lacy was all but settled just five days after the event. But it wasn’t settled for them.

As the Rev William Barber, head of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in North Carolina, put it at a recent memorial service for Lennon Lacy held at the family’s church, the First Baptist in Bladenboro: “Don’t ask these parents to bury their 17-year-old son and then act as though everything is normal. Don’t chastise them for asking the right questions. All they want is the truth.”

From that point on it was just not real, like walking through a dream
Barber was careful to stress that that truth was elusive – no one knows what happened to Lennon Lacy, he said, beyond the bald facts of his death. If a full and thorough investigation concluded that the teenager had indeed taken his own life, then the Lacy family would accept that.

But Barber also talked about the chilling thought that lingered, otherwise unmentioned, over the scores of black and white people attending the packed memorial. “The image of a black boy hanging from a rope is in the souls of all of us,” he told them. “It is in the DNA of America. In 2014, our greatest prayer is that this was not a lynching.”

Pierre Lacy with his mother, Claudia Lacy who holds a picture of her late son Lennon Lacy in his younger days. Photograph: Andrew Craft/The Guardian
In Bladenboro, a town of just 1,700 people – 80% white, 18% black – the bitter legacy of the South’s racial history is never far from the surface. The African Americans have a nickname for the place: they call it “Crackertown” in reference to its longstanding domination by the white population.

The events of 29 August have become entangled in that historical narrative, inevitably perhaps in a state in which 86 black people were lynched between 1882 and 1968.

While America debates whether it is moving into a post-racial age, the truth in Bladenboro is that the past is very much here and now, and that the terrible image of “strange fruit” will hover over this town for as long as the truth about Lennon Lacy’s death remains uncertain.

Which is paradoxical, because Lacy had joined a multiracial youth group across town at the Galeed Baptist church where he went for weekly services and basketball ministry, and his friends were black and white, in almost equal measure.

For several months before he died, he was also in a relationship with a white woman, Michelle Brimhall, who lives directly opposite the Lacy family home. The liaison with Brimhall raised eyebrows because, at 31, she was almost twice his age. (The age of consent in North Carolina is 16.)

“Everybody was going on to me because he was 17 and I am 31,” Brimhall told the Guardian. “We told people we weren’t seeing each other so they would stop giving us trouble.”

The Lacy family said that Brimhall had split up with Lacy a couple of weeks before he died and that she had a new boyfriend. But she denied that. “We were still together, I did not break up with him,” she said. “I had never had a man treated me as good as he did, and I probably will never find another.”

Brimhall said she did not notice any hostility towards them as a mixed-race couple. But she is convinced that Lennon did not take his own life. “No, Lennon did not kill himself. He loved his mother so much, he would never put her through that.”

She added: “I want to know who did it. I want them to suffer.”

Lennon Lacy’s first football team, in Virginia. Lennon is No52 on the far left.
Brimhall’s close friend, Teresa Edwards, lives a few doors down from the Lacys. Edwards said that she was desperate to find out the truth, particularly as Lacy was such a good person. “For him to be black – I’m not stereotyping or anything, I’m not racist, I love everybody – but he was a very well-mannered child.”

A white couple, Carla Hudson and Dewey Sykes, live in a trailer home right behind the Lacy house. Soon after Lennon died his family learned that a few years ago Sykes and Hudson had been instructed by police to remove from their front lawn a number of Confederate flags and signs saying “Niggers keep out”.

The Guardian asked the couple why they had put up the signs. Sykes said that it was his idea. “There were some kids who ganged up on our kid and I put some signs up.” Asked whether he now regretted doing so, he replied: “Yeah, I regret it now.”

Carla Hudson said she had begged her husband to take the signs down. “I told him he had to stop that. It wasn’t how I saw things – there’s not a racist bone in my body.”

There is no evidence to suggest that either Hudson or Sykes had anything to do with Lacy’s death. Asked about the teenager, Hudson said: “Lennon was like a son to me, and this was his second home. He was nothing like the people we have trouble with. In my eyes he was just perfect.”

About a week after Lacy died, his family, with the help of the NAACP and their own lawyer, put together a list of questions and concerns that they presented to the district attorney. First, there was the overriding sense that Lennon was simply not the kind of boy to harm himself. He had no history of mental illness or depression, and was so focused on his future it was inconceivable he would intentionally cut it short.

The image of a black boy hanging from a rope is in the souls of all of us
The day before Lacy was found hanging, there had been a funeral service for his great uncle Johnny, who had died a couple of weeks previously. Lacy had been close to his uncle, and was visibly upset, but not to an extreme degree, his family said. He grieved “as a normal person would”, Claudia said.

Then there were those facial marks on his body. Even the undertaker, FW Newton Jr, who has worked as a mortician for 26 years, was taken aback by what he saw.

Newton told the Guardian that when he received Lacy’s body two days after he died, he was struck by the abrasions he saw across both shoulders and down the insides of both arms. He also noted facial indentations over both cheeks, the chin and nose. Though police have told the Lacy family that ants were responsible for causing the marks, to Newton the state of the body reminded him of corpses he had embalmed where the deceased had been killed in a bar-room fight.

The Guardian asked the local Bladenboro police department, the district attorney and the state bureau of investigation to respond to the allegation that they had conducted an inadequate investigation. They all declined to comment on the grounds that the investigation was ongoing.

In a statement posted on the Bladenboro town website, the district attorney, Jon David, said that the “victims [sic] family, and the community, can rest assured that a comprehensive investigation is well underway. All death investigations, particularly those involving children, are given top priority by my office. Investigations are a search for the truth, and I am confident that we have a dedicated team of professionals, and the right process, to achieve justice in this matter.”

David said that his team was keeping the Lacy family and its representatives closely apprised of the investigation, and had met community leaders to explain to them the current state of affairs. But he added that “to date we have not received any evidence of criminal wrongdoing surrounding the death”.

The family have many other questions that they still want answered. Who desecrated Lennon Lacy’s grave a few days after the burial, dumping the flowers 40 feet away beside the road and digging a hole in one corner of the plot? Why didn’t forensic investigators take swabs from under Lacy’s fingernails and DNA test them to see if he had been in physical contact with anybody else before he died? Have the police probed deeply enough into Lacy’s wider group of friends and acquaintances; the family were disturbed to find, for instance, that one white associate of Lennon’s had a Confederate flag as the backdrop to his Facebook page.

Lennon Lacy’s grave was desecrated and a small hole dug in the plot.
They also want to know why it is it taking so long for the autopsy report to come through, with still no date set for its public release five weeks after the event. So far only the toxicology report has come back, showing that Lacy had no drugs, alcohol or other chemicals in his bloodstream.

The location where Lacy was found, the mobile home park at the Cotton Mill, has also caused the family great difficulty. The swing set from which he was hanging is one of eight such sets standing in a line in the middle of a rectangle of 13 mobile homes. The spot is desolate and vulnerable, overlooked as it is by so many trailer homes, like a sports field surrounded by grandstands.

“If my brother wanted to take his own life, I can’t understand why he would do it in such an exposed place. This feels more like he was put here as a public display – a taunting almost,” Pierre Lacy said.

This feels more like he was put here as a public display – a taunting almost
Lacy was found wearing a pair of size 10.5 white sneakers, with the laces removed, which no one in his family recognised. A few days before he died, he had bought himself a new pair of Jordans for the start of school year. They were grey with neon green soles, size 12, and have been missing ever since.

The family also wonders why the former husband of Michelle Bramhill and the father of her children, whom she left in February before relocating to Bladenboro, has yet to be interviewed by detectives. There is no evidence to implicate him in the circumstances surrounding Lacy’s death, but the family would still like to know why detectives have yet to speak to him.

Allen Rogers, a Fayetteville lawyer with 20 years’ experience in criminal cases who is representing the Lacy family, said there were too many questions still unanswered. “I don’t believe that a thorough investigation has been done, and within that investigation, the evidence the police has compiled is not sufficient to rule out foul play. The concern is that there’s been a rush to judgment – a desire quickly to settle any issue over the cause of death,” he said.

Rogers conceded that it was hard for any family to accept a suicide in its midst, and that it would be natural in those circumstances to search for alternative explanations, to clutch at straws. But he said that in this case the clutching at straws appeared to have been on the part of “elected officials who can’t deal with the realities of race. Given the sensitivity of the issues here, it’s much easier to put this in a box marked ‘suicide’ than ask the tough questions. I’m afraid that politics have held back the investigation.”

A few hours after Lacy’s body was discovered, the coach of the West Bladen Knights called the team together to break to them the tragic news. He asked them what they wanted to do. They voted unanimously to play on, dedicating the game to their lost brother, Lennon Lacy. They won, 57-22.

 


Repose toi en paix, Gros Bill

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The last few years I’ve tried to keep these posts strictly about crime and justice. But – like most Quebecers – my life is so personally intertwined with the Montreal Canadiens.  So I’d like to write a little about the passing of Jean Béliveau, my childhood hero, who died last night at the age of 83.

How did I become a Montreal Canadiens fan? I had no choice in the matter. The story goes like this:

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The blizzard of ’71. The first time they cancelled a Habs game. Our house on the left.

My family is from Trenton, Ontario. My father grew up playing river hockey along The Trent.  Trenton is sort of midway between Toronto and Montreal, and my relatives used to divide the Saturdays fairly evenly between when they’d travel to The Gardens to watch the Leafs, and when they’d drive to The Forum to watch the Habs. One time my grandfather and uncle were at a Leafs game. Between periods they would do what most men did; they’d go to the washroom and enjoy a snort from a hip-flask of rye. The police usually turned a blind eye to this activity, they would maybe run you out of the john with a good scolding. But on this occasion the Toronto police arrested my grandfather and uncle and locked them up. From then on, we were Canadiens fans.

Shinny on the pond: My brother and I face-off

Shinny on the pond: My brother and I face-off

My father was the first one in his family to attend college; Loyola, and then later McGill for engineering. What he really did in Montreal was play hockey. Two seasons with the Warriors  followed by two with the Redmen. My father was a goalie, and apparently a great one at that. He was team MVP for all four years; the only time that has been done there, let alone by a goalie.  They’d often play their games at the Forum when the Habs were on the road. This was in the age before masks. One night my mother (they were dating then) watched in horror as my dad took a puck to the face, knocking his eye out of his socket. They stitched him up on the ice.

His biggest thrill was having The Rocket guest referee one of his games. And I know my Dad was at the Forum the night of the Richard Riot.

The college teams  would practice in the early mornings at the Forum, after they’d finish, the Habs would come on to practice. Dad would skip class to watch The Rocket,  Boom-Boom, Béliveau, etc…   Eventually he started failing electrical engineering. The Jesuit priest came to the Forum and said, “make a choice; hockey or school”.

My father was invited to camp for both the Rangers and the Bruins. He never attended. This was still at the time with 6 teams, so 12 chances for a goalie to play in the NHL, and no pension. He became an engineer, and a father.

You could buy a poster of this at the Forum giftshop. It hung on my wall as a kid

You could buy a poster of this at the Forum giftshop. It hung on my wall as a kid

 

We did not know it at the time, but we grew up in a golden age in Montreal. Our  childhood was wedged between the Expo World’s Fair in 1967 and the Olympics in 1976. Everyone who experienced this will say the exact same thing: it was an absolute wonder to be living in Montreal at that time.  I think my father received tickets from the company he worked for, Dominion Bridge. He would take either my brother or sister, I remember because they would come home with the game programs, usually signed by Béliveau.

When I was old enough, I got to go too. I don’t recall sitting in the box seats. When I started going we’d usually sit in the corporate box. People usually scoff at the boxes today, but back then it was a big deal. You were very close at the Forum, and there was all this food, the instant replay on the television…  in an age before tablets and jumbo-screens this was heaven.

Many times I remember waiting in the lobby at the front of the Forum after a game with my father. Béliveau was one of the first to emerge from the dressing rooms, and he would always sign autographs. He was always so relaxed and gracious. He was like a movie star, Cary Grant and Father Christmas all rolled into one.

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Some Christmas’ were spent back in Trenton. I remember evenings at my grandparents’ farmhouse, all the adults gathered ’round the kitchen table playing cribbage, a mushroom cloud of cigarette smoke above, lot’s of talk of politics and hockey. There was always some cousin who received a Leafs jersey for Christmas, and you felt so sorry for them, like that kid in The Sweater. Most of my relatives who stayed in Ontario were Diefenbaker conservatives, and die-hard Leaf fans. And they had bragging rights then, Toronto stole a Cup in 1967.  They hated all things from Quebec. My grandfather had a mutt named Pierre, “because that was a name only fit for a dog”.  The nail in the coffin came years later when I started dating the granddaughter of Lester Pearson.

My dad would often come home from work with packets of hockey cards tucked in his overcoat. If you were sick that day he’d bring extras. Later I learned his secret; he kept a box in the garage and simply filled up there before he came in the basement door. I can still remember that excitement when you opened the pack and there was Béliveau: that was the card everyone wanted.

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Puck my father nabbed in the stands, from the Béliveau era

Saturday nights at home were for Hockey Night in Canada. We used to set our hockey cards up on the floor in front of the television and mimic  the plays every Saturday night. When a line change came, we’d change the cards. Yet somehow guys like Béliveau and The Flower never left the ice.

Dad met Béliveau once. He was having dinner  in La Mise au Jeu restaurant with Dickie Moore, who had gone into the construction industry after his playing career ended. In walked Jean, and Dickie made a point of introducing him to everyone, They all shook hands. My dad’s reaction? Béliveau was a gentleman, of course.

There were some great tributes written about Jean Béliveau today. Dave Stubbs in The Gazette,  Ken Dryden in The Star,  Red Fisher, and Stephen Brunt at Sportsnet are standouts, and will give you a more comprehensive perspective on what he meant as a player. These are just some of my thoughts on the passing of my very first hero.

Repose toi en paix, Gros Bill.

 


Opinion: A ponderously slow justice system brings itself into disrepute

Well said William Watson:

One less commented-on aspect of the tragic twin murders of our soldiers in October was the swift — in fact, immediate — dispensation of justice in both cases. The murderers, and does anyone doubt that’s what they were, were killed by the authorities. Their killing was not the deliberate administration of justice, but self-defence by police engaged in hot pursuit. 

We’re a country that officially, at least, disapproves of the death penalty, even if three in five of us keep telling pollsters we want it brought back. Our elected officials certainly disapprove of it, for they don’t bring it back. Even so, there was an abrupt finality to these two tragedies that I suspect most people are grateful for. (Just to be clear: the tragedies include how two apparently ordinary Canadian boys could have got themselves so twisted up as to do such crimes). Had the murderers lived, how long would their trials have taken? Would they have been finished by 2016? 2017? And can we be completely sure the verdicts would have been just? 

Here in Quebec, we’re still awaiting the formal trial of the person accused of the murder of a technician backstage at the victory celebrations of Pauline Marois the night she won herself a minority government in September 2012. Marois has had her government, has lost another election and is now retired from politics. But the trial isn’t starting until next year. Granted, it’s a difficult case, with the accused running his own defence. But we’re closing in on two and a quarter years from a crime for which there is no other suspect. 

We’re also now eight weeks — eight weeks — into the trial of a young man who does not dispute that, in May 2012, two and a half years ago, he killed another young man, videoed and posted the murder online, chopped the victim up and mailed parts of his body to various destinations. What’s under discussion, in great detail, is the state of his mind when he did so. 

Last week, three McGill University students charged in April 2012 for a sexual assault that had allegedly occurred in September 2011 had their charges dismissed when in an email to the prosecutor one important witness contradicted the complainant’s version of events. The students were obviously and understandably relieved, but, as the lawyer for one of them said, “It’s a heavy burden to carry around charges of this nature.”

Mike Duffy’s trial doesn’t get underway until next April, about two and a half years after the story of his expenses first broke. Two and a half years seems the norm in these things. The trial is scheduled for 41 days. How long do you suppose Jian Ghomeshi’s trial will take?

Yes, it’s important to get things right. Yes, “the one innocent man condemned will do both judge and justice more harm than the 10 guilty who escape” (though do spare a moment’s worry about the harm 10 guilty folk set free may do the rest of us). And, yes, the accused sometimes bring delay upon themselves with frivolous motions of one kind or another. 

But a system that works so ponderously slowly brings itself into disrepute. Other countries do things differently. When I lived in France for a year, I remember the case of a fellow who was in a bar fight Saturday and was sentenced to jail time the following Thursday. 

It’s important to get things right. But does all the extra time our system takes really improve the quality of our results? On that, I suspect there’s room for reasonable doubt.

 


Theresa Allore: Memorial Fund Drive

The Theresa Allore Memorial Fund

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It has been some time since we have solicited for contributions to the Theresa Allore Memorial Fund. To date, the fund’s balance  / equity stands at about $10,000. This allows us to provide annual scholarships of approximately $200. Since 2011 there have been 3 scholarships awarded to Champlain College students. Notifications are given to students each Spring.

It was always our intention to raise approximately $20,000 so that we would be able to offer a more substantial award of $500 per student. To this end, We would ask that you consider donating to the fund today, and throughout the month of December so that we may be able to achieve our goal of $20,000.

No amount is too little. You may donate online by clicking the following:

 

Donate Button with Credit Cards

 

By mail or phone, contributions can be made by contacting the fund administrator at Champlain College, Daniel Poitras. All gifts are eligible for the full tax advantages available by law for gifts to public charities in the United States and Canada.

Benefactors may contact:

Foundation Champlain-Lennoxville Inc.
Theresa Allore Memorial Fund
c/o Daniel Poitras, Treasurer
P.O. 5003 (Champlain Lennoxville Campus)
Sherbrooke, Québec, J1M 2A1
Tel: (819) 564-3666 ext. 130
BACKGROUND

The scholarship was established in conjunction with Champlain College in 2009 in memory of Theresa Allore.  Theresa was a promising student at the Champlain Lennoxville Campus in Quebec’s Eastern Townships. At the time of her death, she was studying the behavioral sciences, and had expressed an interest in the field of criminology. Theresa loved adventure, which lead to her interest in cycling, skydiving, and hiking.  She loved being outdoors, and particularly enjoyed hiking the local trails of Mount Orford.  Her special qualities included being a good friend, who did not judge others, but rather chose to draw encouragement and inspiration from everyone and everything she encountered.

Based on these qualities inspired by Theresa, the scholarship was established to take into consideration the student as a “total person”, including academic achievement, active participation in campus life, desire to serve others, and financial need.  

While we have struggled for many years with the tragic loss of a young life filled with a spirit of adventure, it has come the time to celebrate her life so that Theresa may inspire others.  There is no doubt in the hearts of those who had the privilege to share in her all too short life that this is exactly how Theresa would want to be remembered.

 


40 year old cold cases solved:

Pretty amazing story out of BC on the arrest of Garry Taylor Handlen in the 40 year old cold cases of Kathryn-Mary Herbert and Monica Jack. Police say advances in forensics lead them to Handlen, and are asking that his photo be published in the event that information comes forward implicating him in other crimes. Here is the story from the CBC:

Garry Taylor Handlen charged in 2 child slaying cold cases

Garry Taylor Handlen has been charged by RCMP in B.C. with two counts of first-degree murder in a pair of cases going back nearly 40 years.

The victims were Kathryn-Mary Herbert, 11, and Monica Jack, 12.

A present day image shows Garry Taylor Handlen, who has been charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of Monica Jack in 1978 and Kathryn-Mary Herbert in 1975. (CBC)

​Handlen remains in custody, RCMP announced Monday at a news conference with the girls’ families present.

Herbert disappeared in September 1975 close to her home in Abbotsford, B.C., while returning from a friend’s house. Two months later, her body was found hidden under a rotting outhouse on the nearby Matsqui First Nation.

Jack disappeared three years later in 1978 while riding her bike. Her body was not found until the mid-1990s north of Merritt.

RCMP today said Handlen was suspected in the killings shortly after they happened, but police didn’t have enough evidence to charge him until now.

Garry Taylor Handlen

Police want to speak with anyone who remembers seeing Garry Taylor Handlen around the time of the killings. This image of Handlen is from the 1970s. (RCMP)

Investigators wouldn’t specify what the new evidence is, but did say advances in forensic science are a factor.

Police also released a photograph of the suspect, taken around the time of the killings. They’re asking anyone who recognizes Handlen to call if they have any memories of him from that time.

Speaking at the news conference, Madeline Lanaro, Monica Jack’s mother, said she prayed for decades for her daughter’s killer to be found.

“Over the years, thinking about this on a daily basis … even today it’s not easy because, no matter what happens and no matter what you do in your life, that hurt never goes away.”

She remembers her daughter as a beautiful girl with a distinctive laugh, who was loved by relatives, friends and teachers.

Monica Jack

Monica Jack was out for a bike ride when the 12-year-old was abducted and killed.

A feature documentary on Herbert’s case aired on the CBC in 2009. It examined flaws in the investigation, including missing files, overlooked evidence and other problems.

At that time, Herbert’s mother, Shari Greer, talked about her frustration with the investigation and her determination to keep police working on her daughter’s case.

Today Greer thanked the cold case investigators who took a fresh look at the case and gathered the evidence that led to charges.

“There is no such thing as a cold case to the families, nor is there ever closure, only resolution surrounding the events.”

 


Statistique Canada: Le taux d’homicides a reculé de 8 %

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Si vous ne souhaitez pas voir le rapport de Statistique Canada sur 
les homicides à travers le prisme des médias canadiens , ici, c'est 
le rapport directe de StatsCan:

Les services de police canadiens ont déclaré 505 homicides en 2013, soit 38 de moins que l’année précédente. Le taux d’homicides a reculé de 8 % par rapport à 2012 pour s’établir à 1,44 victime pour 100 000 habitants, ce qui représente le taux le plus faible depuis 1966.

La diminution globale des homicides était attribuable au Québec, qui a enregistré une baisse de 40 homicides. Le repli observé au Québec suivait deux années où le nombre d’homicides était supérieur à la moyenne. En 2013, 68 homicides sont survenus dans la province, ce qui correspond à un taux de 0,83 pour 100 000 habitants. Il s’agissait du plus bas taux enregistré au Québec depuis le début de la déclaration des données en 1961.

Alors que le Québec a connu une baisse marquée, six provinces ont fait état d’augmentations modérées du nombre d’homicides en 2013. Compte tenu de ces hausses, les taux d’homicides dans presque toutes les provinces et tous les territoires en 2013 sont demeurés en deçà de leurs moyennes décennales. Faisaient exception Terre-Neuve-et-Labrador et l’Île-du-Prince-Édouard, où les taux d’homicides de 2013 ont dépassé leur moyenne décennale précédente.

Les taux d’homicides sont demeurés généralement les plus élevés dans l’Ouest et le Nord. Le Manitoba a affiché le plus fort taux d’homicides provincial (3,87 pour 100 000 habitants), suivi de la Saskatchewan (2,71), de l’Alberta (2,04) et de la Colombie-Britannique (1,66). Alors que les taux d’homicides étaient plus élevés au Nunavut (11,24) et dans les Territoires du Nord-Ouest (4,59) que dans n’importe quelle province, il n’y a pas eu d’homicides au Yukon pour la troisième année consécutive.

Parmi les régions métropolitaines de recensement (RMR) du Canada, Regina a enregistré le taux d’homicides le plus élevé (3,84 pour 100 000 habitants); venaient ensuite Winnipeg (3,24) et Thunder Bay (2,46). Les taux d’homicides étaient inférieurs à la moyenne nationale dans les deux plus grandesRMR canadiennes, à savoir Toronto (1,34) et Montréal (1,08), alors que la troisième RMR en importance, soit Vancouver (1,72), a affiché un taux d’homicides supérieur à la moyenne nationale. Aucun homicide n’a été déclaré à Moncton, à Saguenay, à Sherbrooke, à Peterborough ou à Guelph en 2013.

Les homicides commis à l’aide d’une arme à feu sont en baisse, alors que les homicides perpétrés à l’aide d’une arme pointue augmentent

En 2013, 131 homicides ont été commis à l’aide d’une arme à feu, soit 41 de moins qu’en 2012. De ce fait, le taux d’homicides perpétrés à l’aide d’une arme à feu a atteint son plus bas niveau depuis que des données comparables sont devenues accessibles en 1974. Malgré ce recul, les coups de feu ont été la cause de décès dans environ le quart (27 %) des homicides.

La majorité (68 %) des homicides commis à l’aide d’une arme à feu mettaient en cause une arme de poing, soit une tendance qui se maintient depuis 20 ans. Malgré cette tendance, le taux d’homicides perpétrés à l’aide d’une arme de poing se situait à son niveau le plus bas depuis 1998.

Alors que le nombre d’homicides commis à l’aide d’une arme à feu a diminué en 2013, le nombre d’homicides perpétrés à l’aide d’une arme pointue a augmenté. On a dénombré 195 homicides commis à l’aide d’une arme pointue, soit 31 de plus qu’en 2012. En 2013, 40 % des homicides survenus au Canada mettaient en cause une arme pointue.

Les homicides attribuables à des gangs diminuent

La police a confirmé ou soupçonnait que des gangs étaient impliqués dans 85 homicides en 2013, comparativement à 96 l’année précédente, ce qui représente le premier repli après trois années où le chiffre est resté inchangé. Le taux d’homicides attribuables à des gangs s’établissait à 0,24 pour 100 000 habitants, soit son plus bas niveau enregistré depuis 2004.

Le taux d’homicides attribuables à des gangs était le plus élevé en Colombie-Britannique et au Manitoba, les deux seules régions où le nombre d’homicides attribuables à des gangs a augmenté par rapport à 2012. Parmi les RMR, Kelowna et Regina ont enregistré les taux les plus élevés d’homicides attribuables à des gangs. Les taux d’homicides attribuables à des gangs tendent à être plus élevés dans les RMR que dans les autres régions, tendance qui s’est poursuivie en 2013.

La plupart des victimes connaissaient l’auteur présumé

Dans près de 9 homicides résolus sur 10 (87 %) en 2013, la victime connaissait son assassin, alors que 13 % des victimes ont été tuées par un étranger. Par conséquent, le taux d’homicides commis par un étranger (0,14 pour 100 000 habitants) était le plus faible enregistré en plus de 40 ans.

Plus précisément, dans le cas des homicides survenus en 2013, l’auteur présumé était généralement une connaissance (45 %), un membre de la famille (33 %) ou une relation criminelle (9 %) de la victime. Alors que le nombre d’homicides commis par un étranger a diminué de 25 % en 2013, le nombre d’homicides perpétrés par une connaissance ou un membre de la famille autre que le conjoint était relativement stable. Le nombre d’homicides commis dans le contexte d’une relation criminelle est passé de 23 à 36, ce qui représente une hausse de 57 %.

Baisse du nombre d’homicides entre partenaires intimes

Le nombre de victimes d’homicide commis par un partenaire intime (conjoint, conjoint de fait, partenaire amoureux ou autre partenaire intime, actuel ou ancien) a régressé en 2013. Il s’est produit 68 homicides entre partenaires intimes en 2013, soit 14 de moins que l’année précédente. La plupart des victimes d’homicide commis par un partenaire intime étaient de sexe féminin (82 %), comme par le passé.

Le taux d’homicides perpétrés par un partenaire intime a nettement diminué au cours des deux dernières décennies, quel que soit le sexe de la victime. Le taux d’homicides entre partenaires intimes sur des victimes de sexe masculin a diminué de 73 % de 1993 à 2013, tandis que le taux correspondant pour les victimes de sexe féminin (-48 %) a baissé de près de la moitié pendant la même période.

La plupart des homicides résolus le sont en l’espace d’une semaine

Depuis 2003, environ les trois quarts (76 %) des homicides survenus ont été résolus par la police. Parmi les homicides résolus, près de 7 sur 10 (69 %) l’ont été dans les 7 jours suivants, tandis que 26 % ont été résolus en l’espace de 8 à 364 jours, et 5 % ont été résolus un an ou plus après être survenus.

Parmi les homicides qui ont été commis et résolus depuis 2003, le laps de temps médian entre le moment où l’homicide est survenu et le moment où l’affaire a été résolue était de 2 jours. Ce laps de temps médian était plus long pour les homicides attribuables à des gangs (6 jours) et les homicides liés au commerce des drogues illicites (7 jours). Lorsqu’il s’agissait d’homicides attribuables à des gangs qui ont été perpétrés à l’aide d’une arme à feu, le laps de temps médian était de 16,5 jours entre le moment où ils sont survenus et le moment où ils ont été résolus par la police.

 

 


#StatsCan: Canadian Homicide rate fell 8% from 2012

stats

If you don’t wish to view the StatsCan Homicide Report through the lens of Canadian Media, here is the report direct from StatsCan:

Canadian police services reported 505 homicides in 2013, 38 fewer than the previous year. The homicide rate fell 8% from 2012 to 1.44 victims per 100,000 population. This marks the lowest homicide rate since 1966.

The overall decrease in homicides was the result of 40 fewer homicides reported in Quebec. The decrease in Quebec followed two years with higher than average numbers of homicides. There were 68 homicides in the province in 2013, representing a rate of 0.83 per 100,000 population. This was the lowest rate recorded in Quebec since reporting began in 1961.

While Quebec experienced a marked decline, six provinces reported modest increases in the number of homicides in 2013. Taking these increases into account, the homicide rates in nearly every province and territory were below their 10-year averages in 2013. The exceptions were Newfoundland and Labrador and Prince Edward Island, where the 2013 homicide rates were above their previous 10-year average.

Homicide rates continued to be generally highest in the West and the North. Provincially, Manitoba reported the highest homicide rate (3.87 per 100,000 population), followed by Saskatchewan (2.71), Alberta (2.04) and British Columbia (1.66). Nunavut (11.24) and the Northwest Territories (4.59) reported homicide rates higher than any province, while there were no homicides in Yukon for the third consecutive year.

Among Canada’s census metropolitan areas (CMAs), Regina reported the highest homicide rate (3.84 per 100,000 population), followed by Winnipeg (3.24) and Thunder Bay (2.46). Homicide rates were below the national average in Canada’s two largest CMAs, Toronto (1.34) and Montréal (1.08), while the third largest CMA, Vancouver (1.72), reported a homicide rate above the national average. No homicides were reported in Moncton, Saguenay, Sherbrooke, Peterborough or Guelph in 2013.

Firearm-related homicides down, but fatal stabbings increase

There were 131 firearm-related homicides in 2013, down 41 from 2012. This resulted in the lowest rate of firearm-related homicide since comparable data became available in 1974. Despite the decline, shooting was the cause of death in about one-quarter (27%) of homicides.

The majority (68%) of firearm-related homicides were committed with the use of a handgun, a trend that has held over the last 20 years. Despite this trend, the rate of handgun-related homicides reached its lowest point since 1998.

While firearm-related homicides decreased in 2013, the number of fatal stabbings grew. There were 195 fatal stabbings, 31 more than in 2012. Stabbings accounted for 40% of all homicides in Canada in 2013.

Gang-related homicide declines

Police confirmed or suspected the involvement of gangs in 85 homicides in 2013. This compares with 96 reported in the previous year and marks the first decline after three years of no change. The rate of gang-related homicide was 0.24 per 100,000 population, its lowest level since 2004.

The rate of gang-related homicide was highest in British Columbia and Manitoba, the only two regions where the number of gang-related homicides increased compared with 2012. Among CMAs, Kelowna and Regina recorded the highest rates of gang-related homicide. Rates of gang-related homicide tend to be higher in CMAs than in non-CMAs, a trend that continued in 2013.

Most victims knew the accused person

Almost 9 in 10 (87%) solved homicides in 2013 involved a victim being killed by someone they knew, compared with 13% of victims who were killed by a stranger. As a result, the rate of stranger homicide (0.14 per 100,000 population) was the lowest recorded in over 40 years.

More specifically, victims of homicide in 2013 typically knew the accused person as an acquaintance (45%), a family member (33%) or through a criminal relationship (9%). While the number of homicides involving strangers decreased 25% in 2013, those involving acquaintances or non-spousal family members were relatively stable. The number of homicides committed in the context of a criminal relationship increased 57% from 23 to 36.

Fewer intimate partner homicides

The number of victims of intimate partner homicide (homicide committed by a current or former spouse, common-law partner, dating partner or other intimate partner) decreased in 2013. There were 68 intimate partner homicides reported in 2013, 14 fewer than in the previous year. As has been the case historically, most victims of intimate partner homicides were female (82%).

The rate of intimate partner homicide for both male and female victims has declined considerably over the past two decades. The 2013 intimate partner homicide rate for males was 73% lower than it was in 1993, while the rate for females (-48%) declined by nearly half over the same period.

Most solved homicides are solved within one week of their occurrence

Since 2003, about three-quarters (76%) of all homicides that occurred have been solved by police. Of these, nearly 7 in 10 (69%) were solved within 7 days. A further 26% were solved between 8 and 364 days, while 5% were solved one year or more after the incident occurred.

Of homicides that have been committed and solved since 2003, the median length of time between the homicide occurring and being solved was 2 days. Gang-related homicides (6 days) and homicides related to the illegal drug trade (7 days) had a longer median length of time between occurring and being solved. Gang-related homicides committed with the use of a firearm had a median of 16.5 days between occurring and being solved by police.

 


#CanCrime:

Joseph James Landry guilty of manslaughter in ‘murder for lobster’ case

Joseph James Landry has been found guilty of manslaughter by a jury in the “murder for lobster” trial.

Landry, 67, was charged in the death of Phillip Boudreau, 43, from Petit-de-Grat who disappeared after a confrontation on the water in 2013.

Landry, who was found not guilty of second-degree murder, is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 29. He remains in custody.

A jury delivered the verdict late Saturday afternoon.

Crown prosecutor Shane Russell said outside court that Boudreau’s family was disappointed the jury didn’t convict Landry of the more serious offence.

Phillip Boudreau's boat

RCMP civilian firearms expert Joseph Prendergast testified that Boudreau’s boat was shot at from different angles. (Wendy Martin/CBC)

“They heard a lot of gruesome details about what the Crown presented,” Russell said. “To find a verdict of not guilty on second degree murder …obviously they’re upset.”

Defence lawyer Luke Craggs said the Crown had failed to prove Landry intended to kill Boudreau, calling the verdict a victory for his client.

“We can infer from the verdict that the jury said that though maybe he said he wanted to kill him, the actual physical action that caused the death of Philip Boudreau wasn’t an intentional act by James Landry,” he said.

On Thursday, Craggs told jurors that all four shots hit the boat and Landry simply wanted to scare Boudreau.

The five men and seven women jurors began deliberations on Friday afternoon, after Supreme Court Chief Justice Joseph Kennedy outlined their duties. Kennedy said there were three possible verdicts: guilty of second-degree murder, guilty of manslaughter or not guilty.

Jurors were back in court Saturday morning to seek clarification on a number of issues, including the definition of second-degree murder.

Kennedy said there was “no question there were unlawful acts” committed, but the question is whether those acts caused Boudreau’s death and what the intent of the acts was, the CBC’s Wendy Martin reported.

‘Let the crabs eat him’

Landry, a crew member on the lobster boat Twin Maggies, had pleaded not guilty in a case the Crown has called a “murder for lobster.”

Crown prosecutor Shane Russell said Landry told police he had been pushed to the limit, and wanted to “cripple” and “destroy” Boudreau, who he suspected was cutting his traps, and if he got the chance he would “let the crabs eat him.”

During the trial, co-prosecutor Steve Drake said the Twin Maggies rammed Boudreau’s boat three times at the mouth of Petit de Grat harbour on June 1, 2013. Prosecutors also said Landry fired four shots from a rifle, one of which hit Boudreau in the leg.

Drake told the court that Boudreau’s boat overturned after it was rammed the third time and he was then hooked with a fishing gaff and dragged out to sea before he was tied to an anchor.

Boudreau’s body has not been found.

In a recorded interview with police, Landry said he fired four shots at Boudreau’s boat and then told the captain of the Twin Maggies to ram the vessel.

Dwayne Matthew Samson, the captain of the Twin Maggies, is also charged with second-degree murder.

Samson’s wife Carla, owner of the lobster boat and Landry’s daughter, faces a charge of accessory after the fact.

Craig Landry, a third cousin of Joseph James Landry, is charged with accessory after the fact.

 


Jenique Dalcourt homicide: Suspect Walks

Family members of Jenique Dalcourt, arrive at a hearing for a suspect in the case at the Longueuil courthouse on Monday, Oct. 27, 2014.

Family members of Jenique Dalcourt, arrive at a hearing for a suspect in the case at the Longueuil courthouse on Monday, Oct. 27, 2014.

What a colossal screw-up by Longueuil lawn enforcement. I can’t say I am surprised. After holding a suspect in connection with the vicious beating death of Jenique Dalcourt for two days, a Crown prosecutor made the stunning announcement on Monday that the man would be released without being charged. Seems LE got a little ahead of themselves, at the appalling expense of the victim’s family.

More from Paul Cherry of The Gazette:

The prosecutor, Sylvie Villeneuve, made the announcement to Quebec Court Judge Ellen Paré after the family of the victim, Jenique Dalcourt spent the entire day at the courthouse, for nothing.

The 26-year-old man, a resident of Longueuil who has no criminal record in Quebec’s provincial court, was arrested Saturday afternoon, four days after Dalcourt, 23, was severely beaten, on Oct. 21, as she walked home from work along the dark section of a bike path in the Vieux Longueuil borough of the South Shore city before 10 p.m. Reportedly, he was one of a few men the Longueuil police questioned as potential witnesses minutes after Dalcourt was found injured by a passerby who called 911. Dalcourt died the following morning.

The Longueuil police spent days at the crime scene and went over the bike path, and an adjacent cemetery, thoroughly in an effort to find evidence among the leaf-covered ground on either side of the path. They also conducted a door-to-door campaign by visiting more than 200 residents in the surrounding area in the hopes of finding witnesses. Their efforts appeared to produce results when the man was arrested on Saturday, but Villeneuve’s surprise announcement on Monday came with a request that the man be released.

“No charge will be laid at this moment,” Villeneuve said with no further explanation to the judge. The Crown made no comment to reporters at the end of the day. A person arrested as a suspect in a crime in Canada can be detained for only a certain amount of time without being charged.

Before agreeing with the request, Paré made sure to point out that the man had been detained at the courthouse all day while the court and the man’s legal aid lawyer, Jean François Lambert, waited for an indictment to be produced by the Crown. Twelve of Dalcourt’s relatives, including her mother, father, stepfather and brother sat in the courtroom for almost the entire day while Paré handled dozens of other cases on Monday.

“This is difficult,” Dalcourt’s stepfather said before Villeneuve made the announcement. He asked that his name not be published. “Every time the door opens (to bring a detained suspect into the prisoner’s dock) we get nervous. We didn’t know what to expect in the courtroom today.”

“(Jenique) was a good girl. She kept to herself — wouldn’t have looked for trouble,” the stepfather said. “She always tried to set a good example for her sisters.”

The victim’s father and her brother, John and Nick Gandolfo, respectively, came to Longueuil from Long Island, New York, after learning that Jenique had been killed. John Gandolfo said that before last week he was looking forward to Christmas because his daughter had made plans to travel to New York for the holiday.

Shortly after 6 p.m. Monday, the suspect walked out of the Longueuil courthouse escorted by several special constables from the courthouse and what appeared to be a few relatives. The man shielded his face with a hood and a piece of paper and had no comment.

The Longueuil police had planned to hold a news conference after the 26-year-old man appeared in court. When that did not happen they instead released a short, written statement.

“Several elements of proof were submitted to the Directeur des poursuites criminelles et pénales (the prosecution), however the results of expert analysis (on some evidence) are still expected. At this stage, the investigation is ongoing,” the statement read. The Longueuil police also said they would continue increased patrols of the bike path.

 


#JianGhomeshi , Toronto, and the 20-Year Smirk

Justin-Trudeau-Clip2

Ghomeshi interviewing Justin Trudeau

Like most Americans I only know Jian Ghomeshi as the guy who replaced Terry Gross and Fresh Air on my local NPR station. Or so I thought…

Let me take you back to Toronto in the early 90s. The city was not lacking for self-absorption and arrogance:  The Barenaked Ladies were busking, The Jays were champs, and Due South was an export.

I was an actor fresh out of drama school. I landed with a pretty good agency whose roster included Sheila McCarthy, Dean Mcdermott, Maury Chakin, Paul Gross, Aidan Devine, Sandra Oh, and Amanda Tapping. There was no lack of swagger among this group.

We were young. We did many foolish things. I witnessed many acts of questionable behavior. One Christmas, I worked a holiday party with Dean Mcdermott (we parked the guests’ cars). I saw Martin Short so blind drunk on the front lawn I thought he’d never stand up. Years later I saw him in a Santa Monica Toys R Us on a Sunday morning. He didn’t appear much better. But somewhere along the way, Martin Short must have changed his behavior. He wouldn’t be alive otherwise.

I was once invited to a #CBC season launch party;  a Friday afternoon debauch at their King street studios that started with booze flowing at noon and went right on through until eight that evening. Eight hours of sodden Canadian actors and “celebrities” blind-drunk out of their minds behaving like the biggest narcissistic douche-bags south of the 401 (myself included).  Don Cherry was there, that’s where I met Mr. Dressup, Ernie Cooms (Somewhere I have a photo of the two of us, I’ll post it if I find it).  Scott Thompson from Kids in the Hall strutted around in a vampire cape, you would have thought he was Norma Desmond.

These days I hear Scott is pretty chill, really mellowed out, and a nice guy.

Moxy Fruvous

Moxy Fruvous

And then there was Jian Ghomeshi. I never knew his name, I just knew him as a member of the band, Moxy Fruvous. They used to hang around my agent’s office.  I don’t know who they were friends with, but they’d usually saunter in the door, grab a Diet-Coke from the mini-fridge in the foyer, and generally strut around the place like they owned it.  Ghomeshi was the worst. He generally acted like it was everyone’s great privilege to be in his company. The stories going around now about him having a narcissistic personality disorder? I don’t know anything about that now, but that was certainly Ghomeshi back then.  I thought the guy was a real arrogant piece of work.

And I say this because the Jian Ghomeshi I know today I bear no ill-will. I didn’t even realize the DJ I’ve been listening to on Q is the same arrogant asshole who crossed my path 20 years ago.  I’ve enjoyed his interviews, especially with Canadian subjects, it makes me a little homesick. He is informative, appears sensitive, has a very appealing radio manner. Hell, maybe it’s Q I just like. Piya Chattopadhyay works just fine for me too.

I believe in the rights of the individual. Pierre Trudeau said it years ago, and I am a big believer in what he said, “there’s no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation”.  What Jian Ghomeshi does in his bedroom is none of my business.

I also believe in the rights of women. There are now allegations of sexual abuse against Mr. Ghomeshi. His attempt to shrug these off in his Facebook apology as harmless, consensual sex-games displays a lack of sensitivity and self-awareness that is disturbing. Wherever the truth may lead in this matter, what I can confirm is this: the guy who posted that Facebook message that seemed more like boasting of sexual proclivities than a heartfelt explanation? That’s the same egocentric braggart I observed 20 years ago.

 


T-05

Ce site est du meurtre non résolu de Theresa Allore qui a été trouvé dans Compton, Québec le 13 Avril, 1979.

Si vous avez n'importe quelles informations à propos de la mort de Theresa et à propos de l'investigation contactent son frère John Allore: johnallore(@)gmail(dot)com. Merci.

This site is about the unsolved murder of Theresa Allore who died November 3, 1978 in the Eastern Townships of Quebec. If you have any information please contact her brother John Allore, johnallore(at)gmail (dot)com

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