Thursday evening, November 18th, 1976. Two young girls are forced into a car at knife-point outside a McDonald’s restaurant at the intersection of Sources road and Pierrefonds blvd. in Pierrefonds, Quebec, which is on the west side of Montreal (the West Island).
The assailant drives up to the Trans Canada Highway ( Route 40) and heads west toward Vaudreuil, just off the island of Montreal.
Along the way the man’s car stalls. When he gets out to check the engine, one of the girls, 17-year-old Pierrefonds resident Barbara Myers, jumps out of the car and tries to run away. The man catches her and stabs her in the chest and in the back. He throws the bleeding girl in the front seat of the car.
He then drives about a dozen miles along country roads into neighboring Saint Lazare. On the way Barbara Myers succumbs to her injuries and dies.
Along a dirt road in Rigaud the man stops. He orders the second girl to disrobe. The man attempts to rape the teenage girl, but is unable to. He takes her friend’s body out of the car and dumps her in the ditch. Around 1:45 a.m. he drops the second girl off at her home back in Pierrefonds. He tells her, “You’re lucky to be alive” and warns her not to tell the police. The girl immediately informs her parents, and they call the police.
The next morning, police dogs, helicopters and officers take part in a massive search for Barbara Myers. They scour the Trans Canada Highway and back roads all the way west to the Ontario border. At 11 a.m. a 55-year-old construction worker, Roger Leduc finds the body:
“I spotted something blue in the ditch… I stopped the car and took a closer look. It was a body dressed in blue jeans and a blue jacket. I drove home and called the police.”
The second girl provides a description of her abductor. He is a man in his twenties, about five feet and five inches tall, medium build with shoulder-length auburn hair. He has sideburns which widen at the chin and has missing teeth at the front of his mouth. He was wearing a tan colored suede jacket, a blue and white checkered shirt and blue jeans. He drove a green Buick, Oldsmobile or Chevrolet, with beige interior and electronically-operated windows. Also in the car was a young German Shepherd dog.
Later that day, Friday, November 19th, police arrest 21-year-old John Christopher Leclerc (Leclair) and hold him on a coroner’s warrant in connection with the stabbing death of Barbara Myers.
At the coroner’s inquest on November 25th, 1976 John Christopher Leclair is found criminally responsible for the death of Barbara Myers. Leclair is charged with the murder of Myers – who died of massive internal hemorrhaging to the liver and kidneys – and with the attempted rape of Myers’ companion.
At the inquest the second girl testifies that the two young woman initially refused Leclair’s invitation to get into his car several times, but eventually climbed in. Leclair drove around for a time claiming he was “looking for a friend.” When Myers realized he had drove onto the highway and was headed out of Montreal she began to insult him:
“You… bastard, let us get out.”
After the car stalled and Myers attempted to escape, Leclair stabbed her. Myers screamed, “He has a knife. Help me! Help me! All right, I’m dead… I’m dead… I’ll get in the car.”. The man then threw Myers in the front seat where she lay gasping, “I can’t see anything”, she cried.
Leclair then drove to a back road and stopped. While Myers bled to death in the front seat, Leclair tried unsuccessfully for about five to ten minutes to rape the second girl. Leclair then dumped Myers in the ditch and drove the second girl home. Along the way he kept telling her, “I shouldn’t have done it. I don’t know why I did it.” Once at her parents’ home he took her identification and warned her that if she spoke with the police he would give the card to a friend who would “fix” her.
On December 31, 1976 the french language newspaper, La Presse does a year-end summary of murders in the province that year. They conclude that, “More than ever in 1976, we kill for nothing”:
“Plus que jamais, en 1976, on a tué pour des riens!”
212 murders in Quebec in 1976. A record in the province that has never been matched.
On November 16, 1977 Superior Court Justice Claire Barrette-Joncas imposes a life sentence on John Christopher Leclair for the death of Barbara Myers.
May 4th, 2001 – Death of an inmate at the Federal Training Center
“John Christopher Leclair, an inmate of the Federal Training Center, a federal minimum security penitentiary in Laval, died this morning at Cité de la Santé Hospital. The death would be due to natural causes.
Aged 55, John Christopher LECLAIR was serving since 16 November 1977 life sentence for manslaughter.
The police and the coroner are notified of the death. The Correctional Service of Canada will also review the circumstances surrounding this event.”