Noir et Blanc – Les meurtres de Diane Déry et Mario Corbeil



* Un grand merci à Micheline Lampron pour m’avoir aidé avec la traduction.

Les cas qui nous restent en tête sont ceux pour lesquels aucune théorie n’explique les faits de façon entièrement satisfaisante. L’autre jour, je parlais de ce casse-tête avec mon ex-épouse, Elisabeth. Elle me disait qu’elle était de nouveau devenue un peu obsédée par le cas de JonBenét Ramsey. À différents moments de sa vie, en considérant la preuve, elle en est venue à soupçonner la mère, le père, puis un étranger. Elle est désormais convaincue que c’est le frère qui a fait le coup.

C’est même vrai à propos du cas de ma sœur, particulièrement en ce qui concerne le lieu où elle se trouvait et où elle se dirigeait avant de mourir. L’explication la plus simple veut que le vendredi 3 novembre elle ait fait du pouce de Lennoxville jusqu’à la résidence étudiante, située à Compton, environ 14 km plus loin. Elle ne serait jamais arrivée au dortoir car la personne qui l’a fait monter dans sa voiture l’a tuée et s’est débarrassée de son corps 1,6 km avant les limites de la ville de Compton.

Alors, comment expliquer le témoignage de cette compagne de résidence, Sharon Buzzee, qui a déclaré avoir parlé à Theresa dans la cage d’escalier ce même soir, vers les 21 heures? Cela nous amène à la deuxième explication possible, à savoir que Theresa est bien parvenue à son dortoir. Elle se serait affairée un peu, et aurait décidé d’aller s’acheter des cigarettes au bistrot du coin, l’Entre-Deux. Ce serait à ce moment-là seulement qu’elle aurait été enlevée, assassinée puis abandonnée à la périphérie du village.

Aucune de ces deux explications n’est pleinement satisfaisante. La première est la plus impeccable. Mais, encore une fois, que faire du compte rendu de Sharon Buzzee? Celle-ci a toujours répété, au fil des décennies, qu’elle ne s’était pas méprise sur le soir où la rencontre dans l’escalier avait eu lieu. De plus, elle a donné des informations particulières qui confirmaient que la conversation avec Theresa ne pouvait pas avoir eu lieu un autre jour que le vendredi 3 novembre : des éléments de cette conversation concernait la partie éliminatoire que l’équipe de football du collège avait le lendemain. Les deux filles ne pouvaient avoir parlé que ce soir-là parce qu’une seule partie des Cougars de Champlain devait avoir lieu à l’automne 1978. La partie du samedi 4 novembre était une partie du premier tour. Les Cheetahs de Vanier avaient battu les Cougars 50 à 3, et le collège Champlain avait été éliminé de la série.

La deuxième théorie a du sens, si ce n’est qu’elle comporte un nombre croissant d’invraisemblances. Pour que cette théorie soit valable, il faudrait que Sharon Buzzee ait été la seule personne à avoir vu ˗ ou pensé voir ˗ Theresa à 21 h 30 ce soir de novembre (Il y a eu un autre témoignage selon lequel elle a été aperçue dans la cuisine, mais le témoin en question ne s’est pas déclaré avant qu’il se soit écoulé six mois. Il est très probable que ce témoin ait confondu la fin de semaine où elle a vu Theresa.).

On a dit à l’époque que la soirée avait été tranquille au dortoir King’s Hall. Mais s’agissant du domicile de 200 étudiants, quelqu’un d’autre se serait sûrement souvenu d’avoir vu Theresa.

Tout aussi problématique est le fait qu’il faut maintenant croire que Theresa était encore en vie après l’épisode d’auto-stop et qu’elle soit tombée entre les mains d’un prédateur épiant sa victime dans une voiture entre la résidence étudiante et le bistrot L’Entre-Deux, un tronçon de 1,6 kilomètre seulement. Possible, je suppose, mais quelque peu insatisfaisant comme explication.

Theresa n’aurait pas fait du stop pour une si courte distance. Il ne reste qu’à supposer qu’elle a été poussée dans un véhicule contre son gré, non sans avoir beaucoup résisté. Il y a des maisons tout le long du chemin, sur de petits terrains, très près de la route.

On pourrait continuer ainsi, comme dans un raisonnement par l’absurde d’un tableau d’Escher.

Mario Corbeil et Diane Déry

Les meurtres de Diane Déry et Mario Corbeil, en 1975, sont un casse-tête du même type. Les pièces continuent de tourner aléatoirement dans notre esprit parce qu’aucune explication ne semble pleinement satisfaisante. S’ils ont été tués dans les bois par des jeunes mécontents du voisinage, comment ces derniers se sont-ils rendus là? Étaient-ils dans les bois en train de les épier, attendant de les prendre au piège? Improbable. Ont-ils dévalé la rue et dépassé la moto de Mario? Impossible. Mais je vais trop vite ici. Avant de présenter de l’information nouvelle, commençons par un résumé de ce qu’on sait jusqu’à présent, en incluant les nouveaux éléments dévoilés dans le documentaire de Radio-Canada, Le dernier soir (La série a récemment été diffusée au Québec.).

Bref résumé du cas Déry-Corbeil

Diane Déry, 13 ans, et Mario Corbeil, 15 ans, demeuraient tous deux près du boulevard Roland-Therrien dans la banlieue de Longueuil, au sud-est de l’Ile-de-Montréal. Le soir du mardi 20 mai 1975, à l’heure du souper, Mario étrennait sa nouvelle moto rouge de marque Kawasaki, cadeau de ses parents. Il avait offert plusieurs balades à ses amis ˗ et ce qui suit est important à souligner ˗, des va-et-vient sur l’artère principale Roland-Therrien, qui se terminait au sud-est de leurs maisons, par un chemin de gravier puis une zone boisée, aux limites de Longueuil et de Saint-Hubert, confinant à la base militaire canadienne de Saint-Hubert.

La moto Kawasaki rouge de Mario Corbeil

Aux environs de 20 h, Mario a fait faire un tour à Diane. Apparemment (possiblement), les deux étaient attentionnés l’un pour l’autre. Ils sont disparus dans la zone boisée, et c’est la dernière fois qu’ils ont été vus vivants. Une fouille a commencé vers 22 h mais n’a rien donné. Le lendemain matin, aux alentours de 7 h 30, Déry et Corbeil ont été découverts dans un champ à proximité du boisé où ils avaient été aperçus la dernière fois sur la moto.

Mario avait reçu six balles : 2 dans la tête (une à travers la mâchoire droite et une du côté droit de la tête; une dans le dos du côté droit (la balle sortant à la base du cou, du côté droit); une dans la fesse droite, une dans la cuisse droite et une dans le biceps gauche. Diane avait reçu deux balles, l’une à la tête et l’autre à la poitrine. On a déterminé que ce dernier tir, à travers l’aisselle, avait été fait à bout portant. Diane était étendue sur le dos. Elle avait été violée ou agressée sexuellement (Il y a eu beaucoup de spéculation à ce propos.). Le corps de Mario avait été placé sur celui de Diane. Il y avait eu saignement dans la zone rectale, ce qui a laissé croire à certains qu’il avait pu lui aussi être agressé sexuellement.

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Ce que je vais maintenant vous présenter provient du chercheur documentaliste Éric Veillette. Éric maintient le site internet Historiquement logique. Il est l’une des rares personnes à poser directement la question « S’agissait-il d’un crime sexuel? ». À l’époque des faits, même la police n’a considéré sérieusement cette possibilité.

Éric Veillette

Il n’est mentionné nulle part qu’une analyse d’échantillons, par exemple de sperme ou de cheveux, a été faite ˗ bien que nous sachions qu’un cheveu n’appartenant pas à Mario a été prélevé sur lui. Il faut garder à l’esprit qu’on était en 1975, période précédant dans une certaine mesure l’avènement des sciences criminalistiques. Mais cela demeure étrange. Aussi, l’autopsie et les rapports de police n’ont jamais formellement indiqué si Diane et Mario étaient nus ou habillés. Nous présumons qu’ils étaient nus car un rapport mentionne que Diane avait des marques dans le dos, attribuables à des branches ou de l’herbe drue.

Veillette s’interroge :  S’ils étaient nus, pourquoi? Était-ce une mise en scène?  Il poursuit :

Si cette mise en scène est véridique, il faudrait peut-être envisager la possibilité que les victimes aient été placées dans cette position alors qu’elles étaient encore en vie, ce qui entraînerait automatiquement l’élément de l’humiliation. Cette théorie semble trouver des appuis avec les trajectoires de tir. La plupart des trajectoires des projectiles qui ont atteint Mario Corbeil suggèrent que les tirs ont été faits en provenance de différentes directions et alors qu’il était étendu sur le ventre. Soit il y avait un seul tireur qui s’est déplacé entre chaque tir ou alors il y avait plusieurs tireurs.

En fait, ces deux blessures par balle pourraient plutôt nous laisser croire qu’elle a été exécutée la dernière. En admettant que Diane et Mario aient été forcés de se déshabiller de leur vivant pour créer cette mise en scène humiliante, Diane a été forcée de s’allonger la première et Mario par-dessus elle. Ensuite, les agresseurs les ont-ils obligés à faire certaines choses?

https://historiquementlogique.com/2019/07/08/diane-dery-et-mario-corbeil-1975/

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Plusieurs questions ont tourné autour de l’arme utilisée, un fusil Cooey Sure-Shot de calibre 22. Quoique meurtrière, cette arme était considérée comme une arme de débutant destinée aux jeunes garçons. Dans une précédente publication, j’ai souligné que le Cooey était annoncé pour les jeunes garçons dans la rubrique des sports des journaux locaux pendant la période de Pâques, en 1975. Le documentaire Le dernier soir a insinué que Diane avait pu recevoir la première balle par derrière sur la moto de Mario. Depuis, plusieurs personnes ont mentionné que le calibre du Cooey était probablement trop faible pour cela. En fait, beaucoup de gens ont dit qu’en raison de son petit calibre, un Cooey n’aurait aucunement pu être l’arme utilisée. Éric Veillette fournit une explication crédible à propos du Cooey :

Annonce du Cooey, circulaire Canadian Tire ˗ La Presse, 24 mars 1975

Après avoir tiré sur Mario, ils se sont peut-être rendu compte que les projectiles de petit calibre n’avaient pas traversé complètement le corps de Mario et que Diane était toujours vivante. Ainsi, un ou deux tireurs se seraient penché pour effectuer les deux tirs fatals. En fait, les deux tirs dont Diane a été victime ont parfaitement pu se faire alors que Mario était étendu par-dessus elle. L’un est entré par l’aisselle et l’autre derrière la tête, alors qu’elle tentait – peut-être – vainement de détourner son regard de l’un des tireurs.

https://historiquementlogique.com/2019/07/08/diane-dery-et-mario-corbeil-1975/

Après avoir exposé le « plausible-possible », Veillette propose une assez bonne théorie en ce qui concerne le type de personne qui aurait pu commettre les crimes :

À tout le moins, la préméditation pour le meurtre de Diane est pratiquement impossible puisque le ou les tireurs ne pouvaient prévoir à l’avance que Diane serait de cette balade. La rencontre dans les bois a-t-elle été fortuite? Y a-t-il eu une confrontation? Avait-on des comptes à régler? Ou alors était seulement le crime gratuit d’un psychopathe en devenir?

https://historiquementlogique.com/2019/07/08/diane-dery-et-mario-corbeil-1975/

Qui, en effet…

Le documentaire Le dernier soir présente un profil très détaillé, logique, fouillé et savamment présenté indiquant ce ou ces suspect(s) : un adolescent, ou peut-être un groupe d’adolescents ayant un « chef » (meneur) ayant l’habitude de chasser ou de se pratiquer au tir dans ces bois. Peut-être quelqu’un qui en voulait à Mario.

Avec ce que savons de Longueuil à cette époque, la présence d’une bande de jeunes maraudeurs ne serait pas surprenante. Deux semaines avant les meurtres, le journal La Gazette rapportait une vague de crimes commis par des adolescents déferlant sur la région de Montréal, 47 % de tous les crimes au cours des trois premiers mois de 1975 étant le fait de personnes âgées de moins de vingt ans.

Le suspect principal dont il est question dans le documentaire Le dernier soir est devenu un membre influent du crime organisé dans la région montréalaise. Avec le temps, il est devenu tellement dangereux que le gouvernement canadien l’a extradé en France, où il était né. À la fin du documentaire de six épisodes, nous nous sentons frustrés et impuissants à l’idée que cette personne ne sera probablement jamais traduite en justice.

C’est une théorie. Je peux vous dire maintenant que même les producteurs du documentaire ne prêtaient pas entièrement foi en ce qu’ils avaient avancé.

Longueuil en 1975

Le raisonnement derrière le documentaire Le dernier soir s’appuyait en gros sur des documents jusque-là inconnus, découverts dans les voûtes de la Bibliothèque nationale du Québec, BAnQ. Bien qu’elle soit nouvelle pour nous, la majeure partie de cette information devait être connue des gens de Longueuil en 1975. Dans une rare démonstration de transparence policière, les enquêteurs de Longueuil avaient alors exposé l’ensemble du cas et de leur stratégie dans un article publié dans le journal La Presse, deux semaines après la découverte des corps.

Article sur Déry et Corbeil, La Presse, 3 juin 1975

Dans cet article, le journaliste Normand Gilles révèle ce qui suit :

«L’hypothèse d’un maniaque sexuel hantant les bois de Longueuil à la recherche de jeunes filles innocentes est désormais exclue. C’est du moins ce qu’a conclu l’enquête policière sur le double assassinat de Diane Déry, 13 ans, et de son compagnon de moto, Mario Corbeil, 15 ans, dont les corps remplis de balles ont été retrouvés … dans un champ bordant l’avenue Vauquelin, à Longueuil. La police pense maintenant que les deux adolescents ont été abattus par trois ou quatre jeunes hommes de moins de 20 ans qui pratiquaient le tir à la carabine de 0,22. Les adolescents qui ont été vus au même endroit, pratiquant leur sport favori dans les jours précédant le crime, ne sont pas revenus depuis et font l’objet d’une fouille intense par la police… »

Le sergent-détective Renault Lacombe expose ensuite toute sa théorie concernant ce qu’il croit qu’il s’est passé.

Lacombe a expliqué le double meurtre de cette façon: le jeune couple entrerait dans la zone boisée, et l’un des tireurs tire un coup près de la fille pour lui faire peur, mais le coup frappe accidentellement [la fille] dans le bras, et cela provoque Mario. Il y aurait alors un combat, et les tireurs ouvriraient alors le feu sur les deux, principalement sur Mario. Ils allaient enfin essayer de déguiser ce qui s’était passé.

La formulation des mots est bizarre mais ce qu’elle implique est clair : l’agression sexuelle est ce qui constitue la « couverture » Un instant! Quoi? Ces chasseurs adolescents auraient agressé Diane sexuellement et possiblement Mario, mais tout ça ferait partie d’un plan judicieux pour couvrir leurs traces? Laissons cette possibilité de côté pour l’instant. Nous savons maintenant que les choses n’auraient pas pu se dérouler ainsi, étant donné que les résultats balistiques ont démontré que la balle que Diane a reçu dans le bras avait été tirée à bout portant. Si quelqu’un lui a tiré dans la tête alors qu’elle était à l’arrière d’une moto en mouvement, il faut que ce soit un tireur d’élite!

De toute façon, la police de Longueuil avait d’autres chats à fouetter que des meurtres d’enfants (rappelons-nous que le corps sauvagement battu de Sharron Prior avait été retrouvé seulement six semaines auparavant à 3,2 km de distance, le long du Chemin du lac). Dans le même article de La Presse, Normand Gilles poursuit en disant que la police de Longueuil avait été très occupée à tenter de résoudre le meurtre de Marcel Martel, mafieux appelé « les bras », pour être le bras droit de Frank Cotroni – le chef de la pègre de Montréal à l’époque. Le corps de Marcel Martel a été retrouvé le lendemain de la découverte des corps de Déry et Corbeil. Martel avait été abattu de plusieurs balles au Bar Astro (à l’époque le 1227, boulevard Curé-Poirier Ouest) et été abandonné dans un champ sur … le Chemin du Lac, comme vous l’aviez deviné!

L’inspecteur en chef Pierre Robidoux était sur la piste, lui à qui avaient été attribués les cas Déry, Corbeil et Prior :

«Nous savons qui a commis le meurtre de Martel. Nous avons des témoins oculaires. Nous recherchons deux gars, Jacques Legault, 35 ans, et Ronald Cormier, 19 ans, respectivement directeur et videur du bar L’Astro, contre lesquels le mandat du coroner a été obtenu. “

Legault a finalement été accusé du meurtre de Marcel Martel et condamné à une peine de 12 ans. Comme Déry / Corbeil, le meurtre de Sharron Prior n’a jamais été résolu.

Ce n’est pas la première fois que nous voyons ce genre de choses. Les meurtres d’innocents sont vite jugés, pendant que d’autres affaires considérées comme « plus importantes » par les corps de police québécois reçoivent plus d’attention. Cela a été le cas en 1970 lorsque l’enquête sur le meurtre de l’étudiante américaine Margaret Coleman a été retardée à cause de la crise d’octobre. À l’été 1994, il y a également eu report de l’enquête sur le meurtre de Mélanie Cabay, qui a permis à la police de se concentrer sur une (autre) guerre de motards.

À cette époque-là, Longueuil n’était pas un lieu sûr. J’ai déjà abordé le fait que dans les années 60 Trois-Rivières était une ville « à quartiers chauds », le genre d’endroit où aller pour satisfaire tous ses vices ( L’Affaire Dupont). Dans les années 70, Longueuil en était une mini-version sur la Rive-Sud de Montréal, avec ses parcs industriels et ses bars à gogo. Et la police municipale n’était pas d’un grand secours pour résoudre les crimes. J’ai déjà insinué que les policiers de Longueuil étaient incompétents. C’était pire encore. Ils étaient « mouillés », ce que les criminels devaient savoir, raison de plus pour vouloir commettre leurs délits à Longueuil.

L’inspecteur en chef Robidoux, par exemple, avait les mains pleines en 1975 avec les trois cas de Déry, Corbeil et Prior. En 1980, il devenait chef de la police de Longueuil. L’année d’avant, Jacques Déry avait supplié le ministre de la justice en poste, André Bédard, de transférer le dossier de sa fille Diane à la Sûreté du Québec. Le 2 octobre 1979, un garçon de 17 ans était tué accidentellement par balles tandis qu’il se tenait debout dans un abri de chasse aux canards le long du fleuve Saint-Laurent, à la hauteur de Longueuil. En moins d’un mois, le cas était passé de la police de Longueuil à la Sûreté du Québec. Il s’agissait d’un accident de chasse aux canards. Comment la police de Longueuil a-t-elle pu foutre en l’air une enquête sur un accident de chasse aux canards?

L’arrivée en poste de Robidoux a coïncidé avec une série de différends avec la police de Longueuil concernant le travail et le salaire. Les policiers dénonçaient alors les longues heures de travail et la trop lourde charge. En 1982, de graves problèmes commençaient à émerger. Le journal La Presse a rapporté que la police de Longueuil conservait un « dossier noir » de fichiers secrets. Robidoux parlait d’un profond malaise dans son service et de révélations troublantes. Les officiers ont commencé à se présenter au travail sans porter l’uniforme. Le chef les a sommés de le porter, sans succès. En avril 1983, Robidoux s’est fait prendre à modifier les feuilles de temps d’un groupe privilégié de policiers, ce qui lui a valu une amende de 100 $.

En 1987, il a quitté les forces de l’ordre, pour être nommé rapidement au poste de directeur général de la Ville de Longueuil. Deux ans plus tard, un incendie apparemment involontaire a complètement rasé sa toute nouvelle maison construite dans un récent lotissement de banlieue. Robidoux a terminé sa carrière municipale en étant accusé d’accepter des pots-de-vin. En 1991, il a été inculpé pour avoir reçu 165 000 $ en échange de son approbation de changements de zonage illégaux.

Faites ce que vous voulez de tout cela. That’s Longueuil!

Le texto

Avec un petit supplément d’histoire, cela nous met pas mal à jour par rapport au cas Déry-Corbeil. Pour être honnête, je suis un peu déçu de constater qu’il s’est écoulé près d’un an depuis la première diffusion du documentaire Le dernier soir et que rien n’a bougé. Comme je l’ai déjà dit, j’ai souvent connu la déception dans ce genre d’affaires. Ce que je suis sur le point de vous dire pourrait un peu expliquer pourquoi l’affaire Déry-Corbeil est tombée dans les mains d’enquêteurs en herbe. Mais avant d’aller plus loin, une petite explication s’impose quant à mon implication dans ce cas.

Au départ, j’ai écrit sur Déry et Corbeil car j’avais besoin de contenu pour faire un balado. Il y avait très peu d’information accessible sur ce cas. Mon souvenir était que le site web Quebec Unsolved Murders présentait un des seuls articles sur Diane et Mario, et que ce qui y était révélé (faux en grande partie) laissait le lecteur avec davantage de questions:

«Les deux jeunes ont été abattus et laissés dans un champ… Diane a été placée à moitié nue sur Mario. Nous savons cependant que la fille n’a pas été agressée sexuellement, mais Mario a été battu. Ce cas est toujours un cold-case. “

Je ne me lasse pas de le répéter : pour la police québécoise de l’époque, un énoncé comme « la fille n’a pas été agressée sexuellement » doit être interprété dans le sens le plus littéral. Il n’y avait pas de signes manifestes de viol, ni de preuve évidente quant à la présence de sperme. La principale aptitude que l’on doit posséder pour découvrir la vraie nature de ce crime – ici un crime sexuel – est le gadget qui manquait dans le coffre à outils de la police de Longueuil : l’imagination.

Lorsque j’ai fait un balado sur le cas il y a deux ans, ce n’était qu’une traduction en anglais de quelques articles trouvés dans les archives du journal Allo Police. Je me souviens que ma seule hypothèse était alors que les tirs ayant eu lieu très près d’une base militaire, on pourrait vouloir commencer la recherche d’un suspect à cet endroit. Pas mal comme la publication sur le site Quebec Unsolved Crimes, ce que j’avais avancé soulevait simplement encore plus de questions. Un auditeur du balado a posé les questions suivantes:

«Y a-t-il D. N. A.? quels détails n’ont pas été rendus publics? Qui sont les suspects? Quelles sont leurs histoires.? Mario avait-il des ennemis? quelle était la relation entre Mario et Diane? Qui étaient leurs amis? Y avait-il un ami jaloux? quelles institutions, le cas échéant, existaient dans la zone du crime? Psycho-services, hôpitaux, prisons, maisons de transition, établissements militaires, aéroports, cette affaire a-t-elle été classée ou non? Comment un cas comme celui-ci peut-il encore être froid et oublié en 2018? »

D’autres excellentes questions!

Six mois plus tard, quand les producteurs du documentaire Le dernier soir m’ont demandé de commenter le cas, c’était plus une vue d’ensemble de ma part. À quoi la mise en scène vous a-t-elle fait penser? Quelle était mon opinion relativement à la police de Longueuil, à l’historique de crimes non résolus à cette époque?

Manuelle Légaré et Monic Néron, Le dernier soir

Et prochaine, “the big kicker” ou J’ai dit :

Pour que quelqu’un sorte de l’ombre et admette qu’il sait ce qui est arrivé, il faudra du courage et le désir de prendre une certaine responsabilité.

S’il subsiste le moindre doute dans l’esprit des gens quant au fait que cette phrase ait pu être calculée, je peux maintenant dire qu’elle l’était. Les producteurs ignoraient que j’allais dire cela, mais je l’ai fait ˗ et je savais que je devais le faire. C’était un genre de supplication pour inciter quelqu’un à se manifester. Et cette tentative désespérée ne concernait pas seulement le cas Déry-Corbeil mais tous les cas non résolus du Québec.

Une personne s’est manifestée.

Durant la seconde diffusion du documentaire Le dernier soir, en janvier 2020, un homme m’a contacté ˗ appelons-le Mike ˗ me racontant qu’il avait grandi à Saint-Hubert au milieu des années 70. À l’hiver 1975, Mike vivait avec ses parents sur la base militaire (de Saint-Hubert), lorsque l’événement suivant a eu lieu (souvenons-nous que la base est située juste de l’autre côté de l’endroit où les corps de Diane et Mario ont été abandonnés:

«C’était une belle journée tranquille et ensoleillée, au milieu de l’après-midi, probablement samedi ou dimanche. C’était peut-être en février ou mars 1975, je ne suis pas sûr. Parce que le temps était doux, j’ai tendance à penser que nous étions proches du mois de mars. Un groupe d’amis a décidé de sortir dans les bois à l’arrière de C.F.B. St-Hubert pour jouer au hockey, sur un étang peu profond. J’étais là, même si je ne me souviens pas avoir mis mes patins, certains autres avaient des patins et certains jouaient avec des bottes. Je me souviens que quelqu’un m’a prêté un bâton. Les objectifs ont été définis par une paire de bottes à chaque extrémité.

À un moment donné, alors que nous jouions au hockey, nous avons entendu un seul coup de feu qui a touché l’une des bottes qui ont été utilisées pour les buts. Nous avons vu Danny, quelqu’un a dit qu’il avait un 22. Il était à environ 100 pieds. Je me souviens de lui rugissant de rire. Il ne s’est pas approché de nous, mais il a continué à aller où il allait. Je ne me souviens pas de ce que les autres ont fait mais je suis parti ne voulant pas le voir sur le chemin du retour. Danny a terrorisé tous les enfants de la base à ce moment-là. C’était un tyran.

Danny aimait faire peur aux autres enfants… Quand il était sur la patinoire, il faisait délibérément des claques qui frappaient les planches juste devant vous juste pour vous faire peur et vous avertir de ne pas vous gêner. C’était Danny. Un an plus tard, nous avons tous été surpris d’apprendre que Danny avait commis un meurtre. »

Danny n’est pas son vrai nom. Comme il était mineur à l’époque, il faut être prudent. Voici une carte que Mike a dessinée du secteur où l’incident a eu lieu, avec l’anneau de glace et l’endroit où se trouvaient les corps encerclés en rouge. Ces deux points sont à une distance d’environ 300 mètres.

Carte dessinée par Mike, fusillade au lieu de hockey sur étang

Et voici une photographie prise par ma sœur de mon frère et moi jouant au hockey sur étang à Montréal, sensiblement à la même époque, en 1975. C’est moi qui garde le but avec, je crois, des bottes pour délimiter les poteaux. Cette façon de jouer était très commune:

Photo prise par Theresa Allore d’Andre et John jouant au hockey sur étang, ve1975

Selon Mike, Danny vivait sur la rue Pine Circle (aujourd’hui Léry), sur la base militaire de Saint-Hubert, à l’époque des meurtres de Déry et Corbeil. Il était possible de couper à travers un sentier sur la base. Un peu moins d’un km plus loin, cela conduit directement à l’endroit où les corps de Diane et Mario ont été abandonnés.

Distance entre le domicile de Danny et le lieu où ont été abandonnés Déry et Corbeil

Un ami de Mike a croisé Danny des années plus tard. Ç’aurait été après qu’il a fait de la prison pour homicide involontaire. Danny lui a dit que l’incident de 1976 était « … un accident, que le fusil avait fait feu accidentellement et que son ami était mort ». Trois amis qui étaient tombés sur Danny dans un parc, à proximité, le soir de l’homicide involontaire, ont également été contactés. À l’époque, Danny reconnaissait qu’il avait tué son ami mais insistait sur le fait que c’était accidentel.

C’est à ce point-ci de l’histoire que je suis devenu très intéressé par Danny et que j’ai jeté un nouveau regard sur le cas Déry-Corbeil.

La première question a été : Qui Danny a-t-il tué en 1976? Les archives de journaux sur Internet n’ont été d’aucune utilité. Parce que Danny était un mineur anonyme à l’époque, l’incident n’était pas facile à repérer. Mike était certain que les journaux québécois de 1976 avaient dû en faire mention, mais il ignorait comment chercher l’article. Après avoir envoyé Mike passer les archives de BAnQ (Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec) au peigne fin, j’ai déposé une requête à Service correctionnel Canada pour obtenir quelque information sur Danny quant à une liberté conditionnelle (nous avons supposé qu’il était devenu un « délinquant de carrière » ayant un long historique de crimes). Nous ne voulions pas que Mike fasse cette demande (les lois sur l’accès à l’information exigent que le nom de la personne qui fait la demande d’information soit révélé au détenu). Je fais régulièrement ce type de requête. Mike, de son côté, avait été voisin de Danny sur la base aérienne de Saint-Hubert. À ce stade, nous ne voulions pas qu’il sorte du placard.

Mike n’a pas mis beaucoup de temps à trouver ce que nous cherchions, dans le Journal de Montréal. La victime de la fusillade en 1976 était Ralph Edwards, 19 ans:

Ralph Edwards : abattu de deux coups de feu, en 1976, près de Saint-Hubert

Avec le nom de la victime, nous avons pu obtenir les résultats d’autopsie, le rapport du coroner et d’autres documents médico-légaux sur Ralph Edwards. À peu près à la même période, Service correctionnel Canada nous a fait cette réponse :

«Veuillez noter que la Commission des libérations conditionnelles du Canada ne peut donner accès à aucune décision rendue avant le 1er novembre 1992, conformément à nos procédures et à la Loi sur le système correctionnel et la mise en liberté sous condition. Par conséquent, nous ne sommes pas en mesure de rendre les décisions concernant la première peine du délinquant pour homicide involontaire.

Toutefois, veuillez noter que le délinquant a purgé une deuxième peine concernant des infractions de vol et de conduite. Cette deuxième phrase est survenue après le 1er novembre 1992 et à ce titre, nous pourrions vous fournir les décisions de cette dernière phrase si vous le souhaitez. »

Nous avions vu juste : Danny avait été un délinquant toute sa vie. Si vous avez déjà vu des documents portant sur les décisions entourant une libération conditionnelle, vous savez qu’ils commencent toujours par faire une description détaillée de l’historique des délits du criminel. Nous étions plutôt sûrs que les enregistrements des décisions rendues pour l’épisode du vol et de la conduite avec facultés affaiblies allaient fournir un “back door” sur le meurtre de Ralph Edwards en 1976. 

L’assassinat de Ralph Edwards

Le jeudi 13 mai 1976, en après-midi, Danny et Ralph Edwards ont contacté une connaissance ˗ Christian Lamoureux, 18 ans ˗ parce qu’ils cherchaient une auto pour se rendre à Sherbrooke faire un coup. « Je connaissais quelqu’un qui nous prêterait une auto pour la nuit », a dit Lamoureux dans une déposition. Les trois se sont rendus à Place Desormeaux, où ils se sont procuré un véhicule auprès d’un dénommé Pierre Trépanier. Ayant 17 ans, Danny était le plus jeune des trois, tandis que Ralph était le plus âgé (19 ans). Lamoureux ne les connaissait pas bien, mais Danny et Ralph étaient amis et ils parlaient tous deux anglais. Ils sont retournés à l’appartement de la sœur de Danny, à Longueuil, au 149 Terrasse Turgeon. À ce moment-là, Danny ne vivait probablement plus avec ses parents à la base militaire de Saint-Hubert. Ils ont bu de la bière, fumé un joint et un peu de hash, avant de se diriger vers Sherbrooke pour faire le vol à main armée.

Lamoureux a dit que Danny avait dessiné une carte du restaurant qu’ils allaient cambrioler ˗ le Marché du Nord ˗ à Sherbrooke (Dans son témoignage, Danny a déclaré que c’était Ralph qui avait fait la carte). Danny a fourni deux armes à feu : un revolver de calibre 32 et un fusil de calibre 410. Lamoureux et Danny ont tous deux affirmé qu’ils n’étaient jamais allés à Sherbrooke auparavant (Alors, le coup était-il une idée de Ralph?).

Carte du restaurant dessinée en vue du vol. (Dans l’enquête sur le meurtre de Ralph Edwards, on fait aussi référence à Danny par R.N.)

Le voyage à Sherbrooke a été difficile. Le tacot qu’ils avaient empruntée a calé et pétaradé tout le long. Les trois étaient inexpérimentés, et le vol ne leur a rapporté qu’un misérable 500 $. Sur le chemin du retour vers Longueuil, Danny conduisait pendant que Edwards et Lamoureux étaient accroupis dans le fond de l’auto afin de ne pas être repérés par la police. Edwards était en possession des armes à feu ainsi que du sac contenant le butin. Danny a dit qu’à un moment donné il a entendu un « clic » derrière lui provenant de là où Edwards était caché. Il a alors demandé à Edwards de lui donner les fusils et la valise, ce qu’Edwards a fait sans protester.

Christian Lamoureux, à l’enquête du coroner (Danny a le dos tourné)

Ce voyage de retour de Sherbrooke a aussi été une odyssée. Le tacot a continué de caler. Les trois jeunes se sont tellement mis à craindre d’être arrêtés par la police aux postes de péage autoroutiers qu’ils ont quitté l’autoroute principale et commencé à prendre des routes secondaires le long de la 112. Ils ont fait monter un autostoppeur, qu’ils ont déposé à Chambly. Ils se sont arrêtés à plusieurs reprises, une fois pour prendre quelques bières dans un bar en bordure de route. Ils étaient dans la peur constante de croiser des voitures de police. Tout ça pour dire que le voyage de retour à Longueuil a pris beaucoup de temps. Cela faisait beaucoup de temps pour penser (assez pour que Ralph sorte en douce du bar pour passer un coup de fil?).

Les témoignages de Christian Lamoureux et Danny concordent sur le fait que l’auto est tombée en panne à proximité de la route 112 et de l’aéroport de Saint-Hubert. Gardons en tête que cela est juste de l’autre côté de l’endroit où Déry et Corbeil ont été abandonnés et de l’emplacement du hockey sur étang, où la fusillade a eu lieu. Ces incidents se sont produits à la lisière est de la base de Saint-Hubert. La voiture est tombée en panne à la lisière ouest, un peu plus de 1,6 km plus loin. Les trois jeunes ont abandonné le véhicule ˗ il était tôt le lendemain matin, le 14 mai ˗ et se sont mis à marcher en file indienne le long de la route. Au même instant, ils ont repéré une auto-patrouille venant à leur rencontre. Alors ils ont coupé par un escalier situé è la jonction des routes 112 et 116 (Cet escalier, qui existe toujours, débouchait à l’époque à la gare du Vieux-Longueuil sur le chemin de l’aéroport.).

À ce moment-là, selon le témoignage de Christian Lamoureux :

« Soudainement, j’ai entendu un tir… et j’ai vu Ralph qui était tombé sur les genoux et s’était écrasé par terre. »

Le fusil de calibre 410 avec lequel Ralph a été tué

Lamoureux a ajouté qu’il a vu Danny frapper Ralph au visage avec la crosse du fusil. Il lui a dit d’arrêter à plusieurs reprises.

Lors de l’enquête, Danny a cherché à soutenir qu’il essayait seulement de se débarrasser du fusil. Il l’aurait lancé en direction de Ralph, et il se serait déchargé accidentellement. Quelques secondes plus tard, le fusil se serait déchargé de nouveau! Danny a déclaré qu’il était en état de panique. Lamoureux a affirmé que Danny avait frappé Ralph de façon répétée avec la crosse du fusil.

« Coroner : Vous étiez-vous disputés?

Danny : Non, nous n’avons rien dit.

Coroner : Vous avez dit que vous avez tiré sur lui une deuxième fois et ensuite frappé à la tête?

Danny : Oui

Coroner : Pour aucune raison?

Danny : Non. J’avais perdu la maîtrise de moi-même.

Coroner : Avez-vous frappé Christian Lamoureux?

Danny : Non, je ne l’ai jamais frappé. »

Ralph Edwards, 14 mai 1976

Durant toute l’enquête du coroner, les médias d’information ont rappelé sans relâche que Ralph Edwards était un immigrant noir illégal venant de Trinidad.

« … Ralph Edwards, un Noir de 19 ans, qui habitait illégalement au pays depuis l’an passé. »

L’enquête du coroner a déterminé que Ralph Edwards était mort des suites de multiples perforations au cerveau, au cœur et aux poumons résultant de blessures par balles. Danny a été condamné à neuf ans de prison pour homicide involontaire et vol à main armée. Le motif invoqué était « de se procurer de l’argent pour acheter de la drogue ». La sentence de Christian Lamoureux n’est pas connue, bien qu’il ait été représenté par l’avocat de la défense très en vue Frank Shoofey, assassiné en 1985 dans son bureau de Montréal alors qu’il y travaillait tard le soir.

Frank Shoofey avec son client, Christian Lamoureux

La Presse, 27, Mai 1976

Après le procès


Il est important de préciser que nous avons contacté les producteurs du documentaire Le dernier soir pour leur faire part de toute l’information liée à cette histoire jusqu’à ce point. Je (nous) voulais être sûr qu’ils n’étaient pas en train de travailler à une suite de leur documentaire ou de projeter une deuxième série. Ils nous ont dit que ce n’était pas le cas et nous ont donné le feu vert pour poursuivre notre histoire.

Comme il a été mentionné, les registres de décision en matière de libération conditionnelle révèlent que Danny a effectivement fini par devenir un criminel de carrière. En 2009, il se voyait refuser une semi-liberté. À l’époque, il était en prison pour une peine de six ans, huit mois et dix jours pour sa seconde peine fédérale, soit approximativement sept ans pour « Vol, utilisation dangereuse d’un véhicule automobile et délit de fuite lors d’une poursuite par un agent de la paix ». En 2005, Danny s’était servi d’un pistolet pour dévaliser une banque (2000 $). Il avait ensuite dérobé 370 $ et 30 paquets de cigarettes dans une station-service à l’aide d’un fusil à plomb et une machette. Lorsque la police a essayé de l’intercepter lors de ce deuxième vol, Danny a roulé sur les bordures de trottoirs jusque dans un stationnement afin d’échapper à la poursuite. Il est alors entré en collision avec un autre véhicule de patrouille pour ensuite se sauver à pied. Il s’est débattu mais a finalement été appréhendé après une descente à haut risque. Il a dit aux policiers qu’il n’avait pas plus de raison de vivre et qu’il n’avait d’autres moyens que la criminalité pour soutenir sa dépendance aux médicaments contre la douleur. Son dossier indique que la police soupçonnait Danny d’avoir commis plusieurs autres vols dans le même secteur, certains avec un complice et en ayant recours à des armes et à la violence.

La décision du registre indique :

«… La corrélation directe entre les dépendances à l’alcool et aux drogues et votre comportement criminel violent et potentiellement violent sur une période de plus de 30 ans. Vous n’avez pas encore abordé ce facteur clé et votre participation sporadique aux réunions anonymes des alcooliques au sein de l’établissement est certainement insuffisante pour atténuer votre problème chronique dans ce domaine. »

Le jugement signale ensuite que Danny avait commis plusieurs offenses similaires, mais pas au niveau fédéral, impliquant la conduite avec facultés affaiblies, le vol, la possession et la vente de drogues illégales, la violence et des tentatives d’évasion. En élaborant son jugement, la Commission des libérations conditionnelles a rapporté que, selon l’information statistique, il y avait 50 % de risques que Danny récidive au cours des trois années suivant sa libération.

Sur la fusillade de Ralph Edwards, en 1976, la Commission a dit ceci :

«En matière de violence, vous avez reçu votre première peine fédérale de neuf ans en 1977 pour homicide involontaire et vol à main armée relativement à des infractions commises dans la province de Québec avec deux complices afin d’obtenir de l’argent pour acheter de la drogue. Vous étiez apparemment tous sous l’influence de drogues et d’alcool à l’époque. Bien qu’il existe différentes versions des détails entourant cette infraction dans votre dossier, il est rapporté que vous êtes entré dans un restaurant avec un revolver de 0,38 en main et que vous avez demandé de l’argent pendant que vos complices attendaient dans un véhicule volé. Lorsque le propriétaire du restaurant a résisté, vos complices sont entrés dans les locaux dans le but de vous aider. Vous avez réussi à voler les installations et à fuir les lieux, mais le véhicule est tombé en panne et vous avez continué à pied. Vous avez finalement été repéré par la police, moment où vous avez tiré sur l’un de vos complices à deux reprises, puis l’avez frappé à la tête avec la crosse de votre arme. La victime a succombé à ses blessures. Bien que l’on ne sache pas pourquoi vous avez abattu votre complice, vous avez fourni diverses explications dans le passé qui suggèrent que l’infraction était accidentelle en raison de la panique, de l’intoxication et du fait que vous ne saviez pas que l’arme à feu était chargée. Aujourd’hui, vous avez indiqué que vous jouiez. Cependant, il est également mentionné dans votre dossier que vous avez peut-être tiré sur la victime parce que vous pensiez qu’il vous avait dénoncé, vous et le vol, aux autorités. Vos souvenirs limités et votre réticence à discuter ouvertement de ces infractions n’ont pas permis d’élucider davantage cette question aujourd’hui. »

En 2012, Danny a obtenu une libération d’office, assortie des conditions suivantes : s’abstenir de drogue et d’alcool et éviter de fréquenter certaines personnes. Au moment où j’écris ces lignes, Danny n’est détenu dans aucun établissement fédéral canadien.

Qu’est-ce que le Noir a dit?

Qu’est-ce que Ralph a dit? Retournons à l’enquête du coroner. Plusieurs avocats ont tenté de faire dire à Christian Lamoureux la nature d’une présumée dispute entre Danny et Ralph. Un de ceux-ci a demandé s’il y avait eu une altercation, un échange de mots après que l’auto a tombé en panne. Christian a répondu qu’il ne le savait pas car il ne comprenait pas l’anglais. « Mais vous comprenez Hold-up» a dit l’avocat, « vous comprenez ce qu’est une dispute. »

Q. « Ralph qui? Vous souvenez-vous de son nom de famille?

R. Edwards

Q. Est-il blanc ou noir?

R. Noir…

Q. Ont-ils échangé des mots?

R. Non

Q. Pensez-vous qu’il est possible qu’il y ait eu une dispute entre eux?

R. Non

Q. … Alors, vous êtes sur la route, à pied depuis que l’auto est tombée en panne. C’est Danny qui a l’argent dans ses poches?

R. Oui

Q. Et il n’y avait pas de discussion à propos du partage de l’argent à ce moment-là?

R. Non, on n’en avait pas parlé.

Q. Bien, c’est spécial que là où vous en étiez, en route vers la maison de Danny, vous n’ayez pas discuté du partage de l’argent.

R. Oui. »

———————-

Hypothèses

Qu’est-ce que le Noir a dit?

Qu’avons-nous jusqu’à maintenant pour relier les meurtres de Déry et Corbeil à la fusillade de Ralph Edwards? Il faut toujours commencer par la géographie. Danny peut être placé à trois endroits à l’intérieur d’un peu plus de 1,6 km à peine de l’endroit où Déry et Corbeil ont été abandonnés. À l’époque des meurtres, il vit à environ un km du lieu où les corps ont été laissés. Quelques mois avant les meurtres, il se trouve là où se joue le hockey sur étang, à 1000 pieds du lieu d’abandon des corps. Et un an plus tard, il tue Ralph Edwards le long du Chemin de l’aéroport, à environ deux km du lieu où Déry et Corbeil ont été retrouvés:

Déry-Corbeil / Ralph Edwards, carte des scènes de crime

Carte ici: https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/edit?mid=15KYqUHtBNp8xX72SgMt0EAs0DO2GCVVJ&ll=45.517586975859736%2C-73.45054684954596&z=14

Il y a le fait curieux que la fusillade de Ralph Edwards, le 14 mai 1976, se soit produite très près du 20 mai, date anniversaire des meurtres Déry-Corbeil en 1975 (Est-ce que la panne d’auto a remué des souvenirs? Est-ce que Ralph a dit quelque chose à propos de cet événement?).

L’arme utilisée pour les deux fusillades est une carabine : Déry et Corbeil ont été tués avec une 22 et Edwards avec une 410. Ensuite, il y a les scènes de crime qui semblent assez différentes à première vue : on imagine celle d’Edwards très chaotique (Danny était en état de panique), tandis que celle de Déry-Corbeil présente des éléments de mise en scène (un corps placé sur l’autre, comme pour simuler une relation sexuelle). Néanmoins, dans les deux crimes il semble y avoir surenchère. Était-ce nécessaire de tirer six fois sur Mario? Pourquoi Ralph a-t-il été battu de façon répétée avec la crosse d’un fusil? Pourquoi tirer dans le dos de Ralph pour ensuite le battre et lui tirer dans la tête, tout ça pendant que Christian l’exhortait d’arrêter?

Éric Veillette aurait-il raison?

La rencontre dans les bois était-elle accidentelle? Y a-t-il eu une confrontation? Les tireurs avaient-ils des comptes à régler? S’agit-il du crime gratuit d’un futur psychopathe?

Tandis que le documentaire Le dernier soir était diffusé pour la deuxième fois sur les ondes de Radio Canada, j’ai commencé à correspondre avec un ami criminologue à propos du cas Déry-Corbeil. Cela l’intrigué, alors je lui ai envoyé le fichier des documents portant sur le cas que j’avais accumulés. Il a commencé à regarder l’émission. Quand il a eu terminé, je lui ai demandé son avis. Je dois mentionner qu’il ne s’agit pas de n’importe quel criminaliste. Je n’ai jamais parlé de lui auparavant. Il est une sommité en matière de meurtres sexuels. Il pense que le suspect dont il a été question dans l’émission ˗ le jeune qui est devenu un meneur dans le crime organisé ˗ « n’est probablement pas le meurtrier ».

“Oui, il est probablement très antisocial, un meurtrier et un gars qui a été impliqué dans beaucoup de crimes mais je ne pense pas qu’il aurait fait quelque chose comme ça. Pour moi, c’est l’élément sexuel qui est la clé ici. Comme vous l’avez mentionné, la façon dont cela a été fait est très immature. En même temps, le délinquant devait faire quelque chose de sexuel à Dery (au lieu de quitter immédiatement la scène du crime après leur avoir tiré dessus). Ce n’est pas aléatoire. “

                                                                                                             ».

Certes, ce que nous savons de Danny jusqu’à présent ne laisse pas penser qu’il était un meurtrier sexuel, mais laissons cela de côté pour l’instant.

Ce que nous avons appris a été découvert seulement au cours du dernier mois, tandis que nous ficelions cette histoire. Je ne l’avais pas vraiment remise à plus tard. Si j’avais cru un tant soit peu que les policiers allaient donner suite je serais allé les voir immédiatement.

En me préparant à faire une mise à jour sur le cas Déry-Corbeil ˗ cette année marque le 45e anniversaire de leurs meurtres non élucidés ˗ j’ai relu les dossiers de la police, les documents que les producteurs du documentaire m’avaient initialement remis en 2018.

À un moment de l’enquête des années 70, l’inspecteur en chef Robidoux ˗ celui-là même dont la maison avait brûlé et qui recevait des pots-de-vin liés à l’urbanisme ˗ a été mis en présence d’un jeune informateur. Ce jeune, provenant du voisinage de Longueuil, a été le premier à mentionner que l’autre jeune ˗ celui qui est devenu un membre de la pègre ˗ pouvait être le meurtrier de Diane et Mario. Il a révélé plusieurs choses à Robidoux. Par exemple, il lui a dit que des jeunes avaient l’habitude de se tenir dans les bois à la limite sud du boulevard Roland-Therrien ˗ l’endroit où les corps ont été découverts ˗ et d’utiliser des fusils de type 22, 410 ou autre pour faire des exercices de tir à la cible.

Un jour, il a raconté à Robidoux quelque chose qui s’était passé quelques semaines après les meurtres:

 “une journée je décide d’aller à la chasse. Je partais moi, HE. et TC. Nous marchions dans le bois lorsque des coups de feu, les balles sifflaient chaque côté de nous. Alors je vis deux gars, un noir et un blanc. Je commençais avoir pensé à faire pareil comme si j’étais avec quelqu’un d’autre. Et alors je sortis du bois. Je me mis [à] courir chez moi, le soir même je suis allé voir Mme Déry le soir même, alors je lui ai expliqué ce qui s’avait [sic] passé mais j’avais une crainte d’aller voir la police, alors j’ai gardé ça secret »

Un Noir et un Blanc

« Alors, je vis deux gars, un Noir et un Blanc. »

Nous sommes revenus en arrière et avons vérifié auprès de l’un des autres garçons présents dans ce récit, « T.C. ». Il a confirmé que les choses s’étaient passées de la façon dont l’informateur les avait décrites. Quand on lui a demandé s’il se rappelait les avoir entendus parler et en quelle langue, il a dit « Ils semblaient parler en anglais ».

Qu’est-ce que Ralph Edwards a dit à Danny le soir de la fusillade, en 1976? Pourquoi battre quelqu’un avec la crosse d’un fusil et tirer sur lui deux fois en présence d’un témoin? Pourquoi risquer d’être arrêté à coup sûr? À moins que Ralph ait mentionné un autre assassinat. Les meurtres de Diane Déry et Mario Corbeil l’année précédente. Ralph a-t-il menacé Danny d’aller à la police ˗ s’il ne l’avait déjà fait ˗ et de leur rapporter ces meurtres s’il ne lui remettait pas l’argent du vol? Est-ce que Christian a entendu des bribes de conversation et prétendu ne pas comprendre l’anglais? Y a-t-il eu une escalade verbale au point où Ralph a nargué Danny au sujet de ses actes le soir des meurtres de Déry et Corbeil? Ça ne vaut pas la peine de mourir pour 500 $. On ne panique pas, on ne matraque pas quelqu’un au visage et on ne l’abat pas pour 500 $.

Nous finissions là où nous avons commencé. Cette théorie a aussi des failles. Elle n’est pas entièrement satisfaisante. Le criminologue pense qu’il s’agit d’un meurtre sexuel (Le délinquant avait besoin de faire quelque chose à caractère sexuel à Déry.), mais Danny n’a pas un historique de violence sexuelle en prison. Quoique nous ignorons ce que nous ne savons pas. À cause de son historique d’emprisonnement, Danny n’a peut-être pas eu le temps de devenir un véritable prédateur sexuel. Ou il était peut-être un meurtrier sexuel et il n’a jamais été arrêté pour ces crimes. Nous ne connaissons pas non plus les allées et venues de Danny entre 1982 et 1987. Pour cette période, c’est le noir absolu, et il y a un certain nombre de meurtres non résolus au Québec, incluant la région de Longueuil.

Il y a une autre possibilité encore : l’élément sexuel était-il « une folie à deux » Est-ce que Ralph, qui avait deux ans de plus ˗ à cet âge, deux ans semblent une éternité ˗ a provoqué Danny? Quelque chose d’intrinsèquement embarrassant s’est-il passé ce soir du 20 mai 1975? Ralph était-il le meurtrier sexuel, et le jeune Danny celui qui s’est laissé prendre dans sa déviance, poussé à faire des choses? Est-ce que Danny a commis les meurtres et Ralph les agressions sexuelles? Est-ce que Ralph a forcé Danny à faire des choses qu’il ne voulait pas faire? Encore plus de questions. Un autre casse-tête…

Et en fin de compte

Dans le documentaire Le dernier soir, une des sœurs de Diane se rappelle que la nuit où Diane a disparu, elle s’est couchée en observant le gyrophare situé au sommet de Place Ville-Marie. C’est un projecteur à quatre faisceaux qui peuvent être aperçus à une distance d’environ 60 kilomètres. Ce gyrophare est en quelque sorte devenu une lumière protectrice pour les Montréalais. De l’autre côté du Mont-Royal, j’avais aussi l’habitude de m’endormir en le regardant. Elle a dit que ce mardi soir 20 mai 1975, elle a espéré que cette lumière aiderait Diane à retrouver son chemin de retour.

————————————-

Category:

Wish You Were Here



As compelling as Michelle McNamara’s I’ll Be Gone in the Dark or James Ellroy’s My Dark Places, this is the story of a brother’s lifelong determination to find the truth about his sister’s death, a police force that was ignoring the cases of missing and murdered women, and, to the surprise of everyone involved, a previously undiscovered serial killer.

In the fall of 1978 teenager Theresa Allore went missing near Sherbrooke, Quebec. She wasn’t seen again until the spring thaw revealed her body in a creek only a few kilometers away. Shrugging off her death as a result of 1970s drug culture, police didn’t investigate.

Patricia Pearson started dating Theresa’s brother, John, during the aftermath of Theresa’s death. Though the two teens would go their separate ways, the family’s grief, obsession with justice and desire for the truth never left Patricia. Little did she know, the shockwaves of Theresa’s death would return to her life repeatedly over the next forty years.

In 2001, John had just moved to Chapel Hill, North Carolina, with his wife and young children, when the cops came to the door. They had determined that a young girl had been murdered and buried in the basement. John wondered: If these cops could look for this young girl, why had nobody even tried to find out what happened to Theresa? Unable to rest without closure, he reached out to Patricia, by now an accomplished crime journalist and author, and together they found answers far bigger and more alarming than they could have imagined–and a legacy of violence that refused to end.”

Available to pre-order from Penguin Random House Canada: https://www.penguinrandomhouse.ca/books/646685/wish-you-were-here-by-john-allore-and-patricia-pearson/9780735277168

Category:

Cas non résolus de meurtres et de disparitions au Québec dans les années 1970

Cas non résolus de meurtres et de disparitions au Québec dans les années 1970  

18 women

(Cliquez sur le nom de l’information de cas détaillée)

  1. Alice Paré, Drummondville, 26 avril 1971
  2. Norma O’Brien et Debbie Fisher, Châteauguay, 1974-1975 (cas résolus; fournis pour la mise en contexte)
  3. Sharron Prior, Montréal | Longueuil, 1er avril 1975
  4. Lise Choquette, Montréal-Est | Laval, 20 avril 1975
  5. Louise Camirand, Estrie, 25 mars 1977
  6. Victime non identifiée, 2 avril 1977
  7. Jocelyne Houle, Montréal-Est | Saint-Calixte, 17 avril 1977
  8. Johanne Dansereau, disparue de Fabreville | Laval, 14 juin 1977
  9. Sylvie Doucet, disparue de Montréal-Est, 27 juin 1977 (retrouvée)
  10. Claudette Poirier, Drummondville, 27 juillet 1977
  11. Chantal Tremblay, Montréal-Nord | Rosemère, 29 juillet 1977
  12. Johanne Dorion, Fabreville | Laval | Montréal-Nord, 29 juillet 1977
  13. Hélène Monast, Chambly, 10 septembre 1977
  14. Katherine Hawkes, Montréal-Nord, 20 septembre 1977
  15. Denise Bazinet, Montréal-Est | Saint-Luc, 23 octobre 1977
  16. Manon Dubé, Cantons de l’Est, 27 janvier 1978
  17. Lison Blais, Montréal-Est, 3 juin 1978
  18. Theresa Allore, disparue de Lennoxville | Cantons de l’Est, 3 novembre 1978
  19. Maria Dolores Bravo, Dorval | Montréal, 2 juin 1979
  20. Nicole Gaudreau, Montréal-Est, 3 août 1979
  21. Tammy Leakey, Dorval | Montréal, 12 mars 1981

Ce que nous savons

  1. Les corps de Sharron Prior et de la victime non identifiée ont tous deux été découverts sur le Chemin du Lac, à Longueuil : le 1er avril 1975 dans le cas de Prior et le 2 avril 1977 dans le deuxième cas, soit presque deux ans après jour pour jour. 
  2. Les meurtres de Prior et de Houle sont très similaires; les scènes de crime sont quasi identiques.
  3. Chantal Tremblay a pris un autobus en direction de la station de métro Henri-Bourassa, pour ensuite disparaître. L’autobus que Johanne Dorion prenait pour faire la navette entre Cartierville et Laval circulait sur la ligne Henri-Bourassa de transport en commun. Après sa journée de travail, dans l’arrondissement de Cartierville, Dorion a pris l’autobus en direction de la maison, puis elle est disparue. Katherine Hawkes, pour sa part, demeurait à Cartierville. Le soir de sa mort, elle avait pris le bus au centre-ville de Montréal pour revenir à la maison.
  4. Il existe un enregistrement de la voix de l’assassin de Katherine Hawkes. La nuit du meurtre, son agresseur a appelé la police deux fois pour signaler l’emplacement du corps. Les appels ont été enregistrés. Cependant, les policiers ont mis près de 18 heures à se rendre sur les lieux pour enquêter (et ce, seulement après que deux citoyens ont signalé la découverte du corps). You mean that the police did not take seriously the offender’s phone calls?
  5. Denise Bazinet a vécu à trois pâtés de maisons de Lison Blais dans Montréal-Est.
  6. Un sac à main correspondant à la description de celui de Lison Blais a été retrouvé au même dépotoir où le corps de Louise Camirand a été découvert, à Austin, en Estrie. Il s’agit également de l’emplacement où des vêtements correspondant à ceux que portaient Theresa Allore lors de sa disparition ont été aperçus par des chasseurs. Le reste d’une pantoufle chinoise portée par Theresa la dernière fois où elle a été vue a aussi été récupéré sur ce site.
  7. Le corps de Tammy Leakey a été découvert à Dorval, à un peu moins de deux kilomètres de l’endroit où Maria Dolores Bravo a été retrouvée environ deux ans plus tôt.

Ce que nous recommandons

  1. Enquêter sur les décès de Sharron Prior, Jocelyne Houle et la “victime non identifiée” comme des dossiers éventuellement connectés commis par un délinquant (Suspect n ° 1, “Le tueur Longueuil”). Cela nécessitera la coopération entre les forces de Longueuil et de la Sûreté du Québec.
  2. Enquêter sur les meurtres Louise Camirand, Hélène Monast, Denise Bazinet, Lison Blais, Theresa Allore et Sharron Prior que les dossiers éventuellement connectés commis par un délinquant (Suspect n ° 2,”The Bootlace Killer”). Cela nécessitera la coopération entre les forces Longueuil, SPVM, et la Sûreté du Québec.
  3. Enquêter sur les meurtres Chantal Tremblay, Joanne Dorion et Katherine Hawkes comme des dossiers éventuellement connectés commis par un délinquant (Suspect n ° 3, “The Commuter Killer”). Cela nécessitera la coopération entre les forces de Laval, SPVM, et la Sûreté du Québec.

Voici une carte (cliquez pour aller à lien interactif):

Screen shot 2016-03-22 at 5.55.19 PM

AUTRE RECOMMANDATIONS

Il n’y a que trois choses qui peuvent permettre de résoudre un crime :

  • la déclaration d’un témoin oculaire;
  • des aveux;
  • des preuves matérielles.

Les auteurs des crimes susmentionnés doivent avoir au bas mot 60 ans aujourd’hui. Mais il est plus que probable qu’ils sont beaucoup plus âgés ou déjà morts. Les corps policiers du Québec ne peuvent pas vraiment s’attendre à ce que des citoyens leur fournissent de nouveaux éléments d’information sur ces cas s’ils ne savent même pas que des meurtres ont eu lieu ou ˗˗ comme cela arrive parfois ˗˗ si les policiers ne considèrent même pas que des crimes ont été commis. À l’usure, les corps policiers du Québec vont faire en sorte que toute possibilité d’aveux ou de déclaration de témoins va être écartée. Tous ceux ayant un lien avec ces affaires seront morts.

Cela nous amène à la question de la destruction de preuves matérielles. Nous savons déjà que la Sûreté du Québec et la police de Longueuil ont détruit des éléments de preuve. Pas plus tard qu’hier, nous apprenions que le SPVM avait récemment éliminé de tels éléments. Nous avons des raisons de penser que cette pratique est depuis longtemps acceptée par les services de police au Québec. 

En détruisant des preuves matérielles et en limitant la possibilité d’aveux ou de déclarations de témoins oculaires, les corps policiers québécois prennent part à ce qu’on pourrait appeler un « génocide d’enquêtes ».

Mesures à prendre dans l’immédiat

  1. À l’instar des dossiers d’Hélène Monast et Theresa Allore, ceux d’Alice Paré, Louise Camirand, Jocelyne Houle, Claudette Poirier, Denise Bazinet et Chantal Tremblay (si ce dernier cas est de leur ressort) devraient instamment être ajoutés à la liste des cas non résolus de l’équipe des cas non résolus de la Sûreté du Québec.
  2. Un groupe de travail unifié portant sur les cas non résolus doit être créé pour l’ensemble du Québec, afin d’assurer la coopération entre les différentes organisations policières.
  3. L’accès à l’information sur les cas non résolus doit être accordé, sans délai, aux familles des victimes. Il ne devrait pas y avoir de différence d’un corps de police à l’autre à cet égard (par exemple, que j’aie accès à l’information touchant le cas de ma sœur, tandis que les Dorion ou les Blais se voient refuser cet accès par la police de Laval et le SPVM). Tous les corps de police du Québec devraient être tenus de fournir la même qualité de service pour l’ensemble des victimes.
  4. Le gouvernement du Québec doit faire enquête sur la destruction systématique d’éléments de preuve par ses corps policiers, afin d’assurer l’intégrité des services de sécurité publique au niveau de la province.
Tags:

Noir et Blanc / The Déry – Corbeil Murders Reconsidered WKT4 #7



The cases that linger in our minds are the ones where no one theory fully satisfies an explanation of all the facts. I was talking about this puzzle the other day with my former spouse, Elisabeth. She said that she had – once again – become a little obsessed with the JonBenét Ramsey case. At different times in her life, when she had considered the evidence, she came to suspect the mother, or the father, then a stranger. This time she was convinced it was JonBenét’s brother that did it.

An old friend from Canada discovered I now work in Durham and asked if I had seen The Staircase, the Netflix documentary about convicted murderer Michael Peterson. Yes, in fact I used to see Peterson around city hall when he was the city hall reporter for the Herald Sun. “Really! What do you thing happened?” The owl did it, of course.

It’s even true of my sister’s case; specifically where she was, and where she was going the night she died. The simplest explanation is that on Friday, November 3rd, 1978 she hitchhiked from the town of Lennnoxville to the school residence, 9 miles away in Compton. She never made it to her dorm room because the person that picked her up murdered her and dumped her body about a mile before the Compton city limits.

Then how to account for the testimony of a fellow Compton boarder, Sharon Buzzee who claims to have talked her on the residence staircase about 9:00 p.m. that same evening? This leads to the second explanation. Theresa did make it back to her dorm. She briefly went about her business, then decided to walk into Compton to buy cigarettes at the local watering hole, Entre Deux. It was only then she was abducted, murdered, then dumped on the outskirts of the village.

Neither of these are very satisfying explanations. Theory number one is the cleanest. But what to make of Sharon Buzzee’s account? Buzzee has repeated over decades that she did not mistake which evening it was when the staircase encounter occurred. Further, she cited specific information that correctly identified that it could have only been on Friday, November 3rd that the conversation with Theresa took place: That some of their conversation mentioned the important playoff game the football team had the following day. It could only have been that evening that they conversed because there was only one important playoff game for the Champlain Cougars in the fall of 1978. The Saturday, November 4th game was a first-round match. The Vanier Cheetahs routed the Cougars 50 to 3, and Champlain was eliminated from the playoffs.

Theory number two makes sense were it not for an increasing stack of improbabilities. For this theory to work you would have to believe that Sharon Buzzee was practically the only person who saw, or remembered seeing Theresa around 9:00 p.m. that November evening (there was a second testimony given that she was spotted in the kitchen, but the witness didn’t come forward for another six months: it’s is very likely that this witness did in fact mix up which weekend she saw Theresa). It was said that it was a “quiet night” that evening in the dorms at King’s Hall, but this was the home to over two hundred students: surely someone else would remember seeing her?

Equally problematic, you now have to believe that Theresa survived the hitchhiking experience, only to fall victim to a predator who is lurking in a car along the one-mile corridor between the student residence and the watering hole, Entre Deux. Possible, I suppose, but somewhat unsatisfying. Theresa wouldn’t hitchhike a lift between such short distances, so we are left with her being pulled into the car against her will. She would not have done that without putting up considerable resistance. And there are houses all along that route, on small plots, very close to the road…

And on it on it goes, like some reductive ad absurdum Escher painting.

Diane Déry and Mario Corbeil

The 1975 murders of Diane Déry and Mario Corbeil are a similar puzzle. The pieces keep shuffling around in our mind because no explanation seems completely satisfying. If they were shot in the woods by disgruntled neighborhood kids, how did those kids get there? Were they lurking in the woods waiting to entrap Diane and Mario? Not probable. Did they run down the block outpacing Mario’s motorcycle? Impossible. I’m getting ahead of myself. Before offering some new information, let’s start with a summary of what we know so far, including new facts disclosed in the Radio Canada documentary, Le Dernier Soir (the series recently aired again on Quebec television).

Short Summary of the Dery / Corbeil Case

13-year-old Diane Déry and 15-year-old Mario Corbeil both lived near Boulevard Roland-Therrien in the suburb of Longueuil, just southeast off the island of Montreal. It was around supper time on the evening of Tuesday, May 20th, 1975, and Mario was enjoying his new red Kawasaki motorbike, his parents had given it to him as a present. Mario had offered several rides to his friends – and this is important – up and down the main drag of Roland-Therrien which ended southeast of their homes, turning into a gravel road, and eventually a wooded area, just before Longueuil ends and St. Hubert begins at the Canadian Forces Base, CFB St. Hubert.

Mario Corbeil’s red Kawasaki motorbike

Around 8:00 p.m. Mario gave a ride to Diane Déry, both were apparently / possibly sweet on each other. They disappeared into the wooded area, and this is the last time they were seen alive. A search began around 10:00 p.m. but turned up nothing. The next morning around 7:30 a.m. Déry and Corbeil were found in a field near the woods where they were last seen riding.

Mario had been shot six times; twice in the head (through the right jaw and the right side of the head), once in the right of his back (then exiting through the right lower neck), in his right buttock, his right thigh, and in the left bicep. Diane had been shot twice (the head and the chest, the shot to the chest – through her armpit – was determined to have occurred at close range). Diane was lying on her back. She had been raped and / or sexually assaulted (there is much speculation over this). Mario’s body had been placed on top of Diane, and there had been bleeding around his rectum area, suggesting to some that he too may have been sexually assaulted.

This next part that I’m about to share with you comes from the Quebec researcher, Eric Veillette. Eric maintains the website, Historiquement Logique, and he’s one of the few to explicitly ask the question, was this a sex crime? Not even the police in that era gave any meaningful consideration to this possibility.

Eric Veillette

No analysis is ever mentioned of any samples such as sperm or hairs – though we know that a hair was collected off of Mario which wasn’t his. You have to keep in mind this is 1975, so pretty much a pre-forensics era, but it is still curious. As well, the autopsy and police reports never explicitly state whether Diane and Mario were naked or clothed. We presume naked because the report mentions marks on Diane’s back attributed to branches or thick grass.

Veillette asks, if they were naked, then why? Was this staged? Was this a sexual crime? He continues:

“If this staging is true, then consideration should perhaps be given to the possibility that the victims were placed in this position while they were still alive, which would automatically entail the element of humiliation. This theory seems to find support with firing trajectories. Most of the trajectories of the projectiles that hit Mario Corbeil suggest that the shots were fired from different directions and while he was lying on his stomach. Either there was only one shooter who moved between each shot or there were multiple shooters.”

“In fact… [it may] suggest that… Diane and Mario were forced to strip naked while alive to create this humiliating scene, Diane was forced to lie down first and Mario on top of her. Then did the attackers force them to do certain things?”

———————-

Many questions have surrounded the weapon used, the 22 caliber Cooey Sure-Shot rifle. Though lethal, it was considered a starter-rifle for young boys. In a previous post, I pointed out that the Cooey was marketed to young boys in the sporting advertisements of local newspapers during Easter of 1975. Le Dernier Soir suggested that Diane may have been shot off the back of Mario’s motorcycle first, though many have since pointed out that the Cooey was probably too small a caliber of rifle to do this. In fact, many have offered that because of its small caliber that a Cooey couldn’t have been the weapon at all. Eric Veillette gives a plausible explanation for the Cooey:

Cooey Canadian Tire ad, La Presse – March 24, 1975

“After shooting Mario, they may have realized that the small caliber projectiles had not completely passed through Mario’s body and that Diane was still alive. Thus, one or two shooters would have bent over to make the two fatal shots. In fact, the two shootings of which Diane was the victim could have been perfectly made while Mario was lying over her. One entered through the armpit and the other behind the head, as she tried – perhaps – in vain to look away from one of the shooters.”

Having offered the plausible-possible, Veillette then suggests a pretty good theory as to the type of person who may have committed the murders:

“At the very least, premeditation for the murder of Diane is practically impossible since the shooter (s) could not have predicted in advance that Diane would be on [Mario’s] ride. Was the meeting in the woods accidental? Was there a confrontation? Did [ the shooter (s) ] have accounts to settle? Or was it only the gratuitous crime of a future psychopath?”

Who indeed.

Le Dernier Soir offers a very detailed, logically thought out, methodically researched and expertly presented profile suggesting the following suspect or suspects: A teenager, perhaps a group of teenagers, with a ringleader, accustomed to hunting or taking target practice in those woods. Perhaps someone who held a grudge against Mario.

A band of marauding youths would not be out of character with what we know of Longueuil in this era. Two weeks before the Déry / Corbeil murders, The Gazette reported on a “Teen Crime Wave” sweeping the Montreal area, with forty-seven percent of all crimes in the first three months of 1975 having been committed by persons younger than 20.

The chief suspect posited in the Le Dernier Soir documentary grew up to become an influential member of organized crime in the Montreal area. Eventually he became so dangerous that the Canadian government exiled him back to France, where he was born. At the end of the six-part documentary we are left feeling frustrated and helpless, knowing that this person will probably never be brought to justice.

This is one theory. I can tell you now that not even the producers of Le Dernier Soir were fully confident in what they put forward.

Longueuil in 1975

Le Dernier Soir‘s argument was largely based on hitherto unknown historical police documents discovered in the vaults of the Quebec national library, BAnQ. Though it’s news to us, much of this information couldn’t have been a secret to the people of Longueuil in 1975. In a rare display of police transparency, Longueuil detectives showed their entire case and strategy in an article in La Presse two weeks after the discovery of the bodies:

Dery / Corbeil article, La Presse June 3, 1975

In the article journalist Normand Gilles reveals:

“the hypothesis of a sexual maniac haunting the woods of Longueuil in search of innocent young girls is now excluded. At least that’s what the police investigation into the double assassination of Diane Déry, 13, and her motorcycle companion, Mario Corbeil, 15, whose bullet hole filled bodies were found… in a field bordering avenue Vauquelin, in Longueuil have concluded. Police now believe the two teenagers were shot dead by three or four young men under the age of 20 who were practicing 0.22 rifle shooting. Teenagers who were seen in the same place, practicing their favorite sport in the days preceding the crime, have not returned since, and are the subject of an intense search by the police …”

Sergeant-Detective Renault Lacombe then goes on to lay out his entire theory as to what he thinks happened:

Lacombe explained the double murder this way: The young couple would enter the wooded area, and one of the shooters takes a shot near the girl to scare her, but the shot accidentally hits [the girl] in the arm, and this provokes Mario. There would then be a fight, and the shooters would then open fire on the two, principally on Mario. They would finally try to disguise what had happened.

The French wording is weird, but the implication is clear: the “disguise” was the sexual assault. Wait, what? They sexually assaulted Diane, and possibly Mario, but that was all part of a clever ploy carried out by these adolescent hunters to hide their tracks? Setting that aside for the moment, we now know it couldn’t have happened this way as ballistics would prove Diane’s shot to the arm was at close range (if they shot her in the head off the back of a moving motorbike, that’s quite a marksmen).

And anyway, the Longueuil police apparently had bigger fish to fry than the murders of children (recall that Sharron Prior’s badly beaten body was found just six weeks earlier and two miles away along Chemin du Lac). In this same La Presse article Normand Gilles goes on to say that the Longueuil police have been very busy trying to solve the murder of mob figure, Marcel Martel. Known as “les bras” for being the right-hand-man of Frank Catroni – the leading underworld figure in Montreal at that time – Martel’s body was found the day after the discovery of Dery and Corbeil. Martel was shot several times at the Astro Bar ( 1227 Cure Poirier Ouest ) then dumped in a field on – you guessed it – Chemin du Lac.

Hot on the trail was the Chief-Inspector of the Longueuil force, Pierre Robidoux (Robidoux was also assigned to the Déry / Corbeil and Sharron Prior cases):

“We know who committed the murder of Martel. We have eyewitnesses. We’re looking for two guys, Jacques Legault, age 35, and Ronald Cormier, age 19, the manager and bouncer respectively at L’Astro Bar, against whom the coroner’s warrant has been obtained.”

Legault was eventually charged with the murder of Marcel Martel and sentenced to 12 years. Like Déry / Corbeil, Sharron Prior’s murder has never been solved.

We’ve seen this many times before. The murders of innocents get short justice as the Quebec police turn their attention to what they deem to be more important matters. This was the case with American student Margaret Coleman in 1970 when her murder investigation got waylaid due to the October Crisis. It was the same situation in the summer of 1994 when Melanie Cabay’s murder investigation was furloughed so Quebec police could focus on (another) “biker war”.

Longueuil in those days was a tough, bad place. We’ve talked before how Trois Rivieres in the sixties was a red light district town. The sort of place you’d go to fulfill all of your vices. Longueuil in the seventies was a mini-version of that on the south shore of Montreal – Industrial parcs and go-go bars. And the Longueuil police weren’t much help at solving crimes. I’ve suggested before that the Longueuil force was incompetent, well it was more than that. They were compromised, and criminals would have known they were compromised, all the more reason to commit your crimes in Longueuil.

Take for example Chief Inspector Robidoux who in 1975 had his hands full with those three cases. In 1980 Robidoux became the Longueuil chief of police. The year prior Jacques Déry begged then minister of justice Andre Bedard to transfer his daughter Diane’s case from Longueuil to the Surete du Quebec. On October 2nd, 1979 a 17-year-old boy was accidentally shot while standing up in a duck blind along the Longueuil side of the Saint Lawrence river. Within a month the case was transferred from Longueuil to the Surete du Quebec. This was a duck hunting accident. How badly could the Longueuil police screw up a duck hunting accident?

Robidoux’s arrival coincided with a series of labor and salary disputes with the Longueuil force. Police complained of long hours and overworked staff. By 1982 serious troubles were unfolding. La Presse reported that the Longueuil police were keeping a “dossier noir”, a “black book”of secret files. Chief Robidoux spoke of a “profound malaise” within his force, and of “troubling revelations”. Officers began reporting to work out of uniform. Robidoux urged that officers were “obliged to wear the uniform”. He was ignored. In April 1983 Robidoux was caught modifying timekeeping records for a select group of police officers and fined $100.

By 1987 Robidoux left the force and was quickly made a director general for the city of Longueuil. Two years later – in an apparent arson incident – Robidoux’s brand new home in a recently completed suburban development burned to the ground. Robidoux ended his civic career with accusations of accepting bribes. In 1991 he was accused of receiving $165,000 in exchange for the approval of illegal zoning map changes.

Make of all of that what you will – That’s Longueuil.

The Text Message

With a little added history, that pretty much brings you up-to-date with where the Déry / Corbeil case stands at this moment. And personally, and quite frankly, I’m a little disappointed that it’s been almost a year since the premiere of LDS and nothing has moved. Then again I’m used to disappointment in these matters. What I’m about to tell you may offer some explanation as to why the matter has been met with investigative crickets. Before moving forward, a little explanation as to my involvement with this case.

Initially I wrote about Déry / Corbeil because I needed podcast content, and there was so little information available about this case. My recollection was that the website Quebec Unsolved Murders had one of the only postings on Diane and Mario, and what it said (most of it wrong) left you asking more questions:

“The two young people were shot and left in a field… Diane was placed half naked on top of Mario.We know, however, that the girl was not sexually molested, but Mario was beaten. This case is still a cold case.”

I often preach that – in the case of Quebec police in this era – a statement like “the girl was not sexually molested” must be interpreted in the most literal sense. There were no overt signs of rape, there was not conclusive evidence of sperm. The chief faculty you must possess in order to discover the true nature of this crime – that this was a sexual murder – was precisely the one gadget missing from the Longueuil police’s toolbox: imagination.

When I podcasted about the case two years ago it was nothing more than an english translation of some articles I had found in the archives of Allo Police. I remember my one suggestion was that since the shootings occurred so close to a military base, that people might want to start looking for a suspect there. Much like the Quebec Unsolved post, my own suggestions merely raised more questions. A listener asked the following:

“Is there D. N. A.? what details have not been publicly released? Who are the suspects,? What are their stories.? Did Mario have enemies? what was the relationship between Mario and Diane ? Who were their friends? Was there a jealous friend ? what institutions if any existed within the murder zone? Psycho wards, hospitals, prisons , half way houses, military establishments , airports, has this case been closed or not? How can a case like this still be cold and forgotten in 2018?”

More excellent questions.

Six months later, when the producers of Le Dernier Soir asked me to offer some comments on the case, it was more my view from 30,000 feet; What did the staging suggest to me? What was my opinion of the Longueuil force? The history of unsolved crimes in that era?

Manuelle. Legare et Monic Néron, Le Dernier Soir

And then the big kicker where I said something like, It will take an act of moral courage for someone to step forward and admit that they know what happened and are willing to take some responsibility.

If there’s still doubt in anyone’s mind about the calculation in that statement, I can tell you now that it was planned – the producers didn’t know I was going to say it, but I did – and I knew that I really had to land it. That was a Hail Mary pass, a plea for someone to step forward. And I wasn’t just addressing the Déry / Corbeil case, that was a deliberate and desperate prayer for all Quebec cold cases.

One person did come forward.

It was during the second airing of Le Dernier Soir, in January of 2020, that a man contacted me – we’ll call him Mike – with a story of growing up in St-Hubert in the mid-1970s. In the winter of 1975 Mike was living with his parents on the military base, CFB St. Hubert when this happened – recall that CFB St. Hubert is right across the street from the Déry / Corbeil dump site:

“It was a nice quiet sunny day, in the middle of the afternoon most probably Saturday or Sunday. It might have been February or March 1975, I’m not quite sure. Because the weather was mild, I tend to think that we were close to the month of March. A group of friends decided to go out into the woods in the back of C.F.B. St-Hubert to play hockey, on a shallow pond of water. I was there, though I don’t remember having my skates on, some of the others had skates and some were playing with boots. I do remember that someone lent me a stick. The goals were defined by a pair of boots at each end.

At one point, while we were playing hockey, we heard a single gunshot that hit one of the boots that were used for the goals. We saw Danny, someone said that he had a 22. He was about 100 feet away. I remember him roaring with laughter. He didn’t approach us but kept on his way going to wherever he was going. I don’t remember what the others did but I left not wanting to see him on his way back. Danny terrorized all the Kids on the base at that time. He was a bully.

Danny liked to scare other kids… When he was on the skating rink, he would deliberately do slap shots that would hit the boards right in front of you just to scare and warn you not to get in his way. That’s who Danny was. A year later we were all surprised to learn that Danny had committed a murder.”

Danny’s not his real name. He was a juvenile at the time so we want to be careful. Here is a map that Mike drew of the area where this incident occurred, with the hockey rink and the Déry / Corbeil dump site circled in red, they are about 300 meters or 1,000 feet apart:

Mike’s map of the 22 rifle shooting at the hockey pond

And this is a photograph taken by my sister of my brother and I playing pond hockey in Montreal right around the same time, 1975. That’s me in goal with, I think, some boots standing in for goal posts, it was a very common thing to do:

Photo taken by Theresa Allore circa 1975 of Andre and John playing pond hockey

According to Mike, Danny lived on Pine Circle (now rue Lery) on the CFB St. Hubert base at the time of the Déry / Corbeil murders. You could cut through a path on the base and that’s a direct half-mile from the Déry / Corbeil dump site:

Distance from Danny’s house to Dery / Corbeil dump site

A friend of Mike’s ran into Danny years later. This would have been after Danny had served time for manslaughter. Danny told the friend that the incident in 1976 was “… an accident, that the gun had gone off accidentally and that his friend was dead.” As well, three friends were contacted who ran into Danny in a nearby park the night of the manslaughter incident. At the time, Danny admitted he had killed his friend, but insisted it was an accident.

This is the point in the story where I became very interested in Danny and looking again at the Déry / Corbeil case.

The first question was, who did Danny murder in 1976? The internet newspaper archives proved no use – because Danny had been an anonymous juvie, the incident wasn’t easy to identify: we found nothing. Mike was certain there would have been mention of it in the Quebec tabloids of 1976, but he didn’t know how to find the article. After sending Mike to comb the BAnQ archives (the Quebec library), I put in a request with Corrections Canada for any parole information on Danny (we guessed he probably ended up a career offender, with a long history of crimes). We didn’t want Mike making this request (FOIA laws require disclosure to the inmate as to who is making the information request); I’m a guy who does this routinely, Mike had been Danny’s neighbor on the airport base in St-Hubert. At this stage, we didn’t want him outed.

It didn’t take long for Mike to quickly find what we were looking for in the Journal de Montreal. The victim in the 1976 shooting was a 19-year-old named Ralph Edwards:

Ralph Edwards: Shot twice in 1976 near St. Hubert

With the victim’s name, we were able to obtain the autopsy, coroner’s report, and other medical-legal records for Ralph Edwards. Around the same time, Corrections Canada provided the following response:

“Please note that the Parole Board of Canada cannot give access to any decisions rendered prior to November 1, 1992, in accordance with our procedures and with the Corrections and Conditional Release Act. Therefore, we are unable to provide the decisions regarding the first sentence of the offender for manslaughter.

However, please note that the offender has completed a second sentence concerning offences of theft and driving. This second sentence occurred after November 1, 1992 and as such, we would be able to provide the decisions of this latter sentence if you wish.”

We guessed right, Danny had been a life-long offender. If you’ve seen parole decision files you know that they always start with a detailed description of the criminal’s offense history. We were fairly confident that the theft and driving decision registries would offer a back-door window into the 1976 murder of Ralph Edwards.

The killing of Ralph Edwards

On the afternoon of Thursday, May 13th, 1976 Danny and Ralph Edwards approached an acquaintance, 18-year-old Christian Lamoureux looking for a car to use so they could pull a job in Sherbrooke. “I knew someone who would lend us a car for the night”, offered Lamoureux in testimony. The three went off to Place Desormeaux where they secured a car from a guy named Pierre Trepanier. At 17, Danny was the youngest of the three, 19-year-old Ralph was the oldest. Lamoureux didn’t know them well, but Danny and Ralph were friends, and both spoke english. They then went back to Danny’s sister’s apartment at 149 Turgeon in Longueuil. By this point, Danny was probably no longer living with his parents at the military base in St. Hubert. They drank some beer, smoked a joint and some hash, before heading to Sherbrooke for the hold-up.

Lamoureux stated that Danny had drawn a map of a restaurant they were going to rob, the Marche du Nord in Sherbrooke ( In Danny’s testimony he stated that it was Ralph who made the map). Danny provided two firearms: a 32 caliber revolver, and a 410 gauge rifle. Lamoureux and Danny both testified that they had never been to Sherbrooke before (so was the caper Ralph’s idea?).

Map of the restaurant for the robbery
(Danny is also referred to as R.N. in the Ralph Edwards inquiry)

The trip to Sherbrooke wasn’t easy. The beater they borrowed stalled and backfired along the way. The three were inexperienced, and the robbery only yielded a measly $500. Heading back to Longueuil, while Danny drove, Edwards and Lamoureux crouched down on the floor of the car for fear of being spotted by the police. Ralph Edwards was in possession of the firearms, as well as a bag containing the loot. At some point, Danny said he heard a click behind him where Edwards was hiding. Danny then asked Edwards to give him the guns and suitcase, which Danny said Ralph did without protest.

Christian Lamoureux at the coroner’s inquiry (Danny with his back turned)

This trip back from Sherbrooke was also an odyssey. The beater continued to stall. They became paranoid they’d be stopped by the police at the highway toll booths, so they got off the main highway and started taking back roads along route 112. They picked up a hitchhiker and dropped them in Chambly. They stopped several times, once for a couple of beers at a roadside bar. They were in constant fear of passing police cars. All of this is to say that the trip back to Longueuil took a lot of time; a lot of time to think ( time enough for Ralph to sneak off at the roadside bar and make a phone call?)

Both Danny and Christian Lamoureux’s testimony agree that the car broke down near route 112 and the St. Hubert airport – keep in mind this is just on the other side of the Déry / Corbeil dump site and the location of the hockey pond shooting; those incidents occurred on the east border of CFB St. Hubert, the car broke down on the west border, a little over a mile away. The three youths abandoned the vehicle – this was early the next morning, May 14th – and began to walk single-file along the road. Immediately they spotted a police cruiser heading toward them, so they cut up the stairwell at the junction of 112 and 116 ( in those days that stairwell – which still exists today – led up to the old Longueuil train station along chemin de l’Aeroport).

At this point, according to Christian Lamoureux’s testimony:

“Suddenly I heard a shot … I saw Ralph, who had fallen to his knees, and then crashed to the ground. “

The 410 rifle used to kill Ralph Edwards

Lamoureux added that he saw Danny hit Ralph in the face with the rifle butt, and he repeatedly shouted at him to stop.

At the inquest Danny tried to argue that he was merely attempting to get rid of the rifle, so he threw it in the direction of Ralph, when it accidentally discharged. Then a few seconds later it discharged again! In testimony Danny stated that he was “freaking out”. Lamoureux stated that Danny hit Ralph repeatedly with the rifle butt:

“Coroner: Did you have words with him?

Danny: No, we said nothing.

Coroner: You said that you shot him a second time and then hit him in the head?

Danny: Yes.

Coroner: For no reason?

Danny: No, because I had lost control.

Coroner: Did you hit Christian Lamoureux?

Danny: No, I never hit him.”

Ralph Edwards, May 14, 1976

Throughout the coroner’s inquiry the news media kept reminding everyone that Ralph Edwards was a black illegal immigrant from Trinidad:

“… Ralph Edwards, un Noir de 19 ans, qui habitait illégalement au pays depuis l’an passé”

“… Ralph Edwards, “un Noir” / a Black of 19 years who has been living in the country illegally for the past year.”

The coroner’s inquest ruled that Ralph Edwards died due to multiple perforations of the brain, heart and lungs from gunshot wounds. Danny was given nine years for Manslaughter and Armed Robbery. The motive cited was “in order to get money to buy drugs.” Christian Lamoureux’s sentence is not known, though in court he was represented by Frank Shoofey, the prominent criminal defense attorney who in 1985 was shot to death while working late one evening in his Montreal law office.

Frank Shoofey and his client, Christian Lamoureux

La Presse, 27, Mai 1976

After The Trial

It’s important to state that we did contact the producers of Le Dernier Soir with all the information in the story right around up to this point. We wanted to be sure they weren’t working on a follow-up to their documentary, or planning a second series. They informed us that they were not, and gave us an “all clear” to pursue our story.

As mentioned, Danny’s parole decision registries reveal that he did indeed evolve into a career criminal. In 2009 Danny was denied a request for day parole. At that time he was serving 6 years, 8 months and 10 days for his second federal term, approximately 7 years for “Robbery, Dangerous Operation of a Motor Vehicle, and Flight while Pursued by A Peace Officer”. In 2005 Danny used a loaded handgun to rob a bank of $2,000. He next robbed a gas station of $370 and 30 packs of cigarettes using a pellet gun and a machete. When police attempted to stop Danny after the second robbery, he drove over the street curbs and into a parking lot in order to evade pursuit. Danny then collided with another police cruiser before fleeing on foot. He further resisted arrest, but was finally apprehended in a physical “high-risk takedown”. He told police he had “nothing to live for”, and had no means other than crime to support his addiction to pain medication. His file notes that police suspected Danny of several other robberies in the area of his arrest, some of them involving an accomplice, and the use of weapons and violence.

The decision notes:

“… the direct correlation between alcohol and drug addictions and your violent and potentially violent criminal behaviour over a period exceeding 30 years. You have not yet addressed this key contributing factor and your sporadic attendance at alcoholic’s anonymous meetings within the institution, is certainly insufficient to mitigate your chronic problem in this area.”

The decision further notes that Danny had a number of similar offenses, though not at the federal level involving driving while impaired, theft and robbery, the possession and purchase of illicit drugs, violence and attempts to escape custody. In making their decision the parole board cited Danny’s General Statistical Information on Recidivism, noting there was a 50% chance that Danny would reoffend within three years of release.

On the shooting of Ralph Edwards in 1976 the parole board had this to say:

In terms of violence, you received your first federal sentence of nine years in 1977 for Manslaughter and Armed Robbery in relation to offences committed in the province of Quebec with two accomplices in order to get money to buy drugs. You were apparently all under the influence of drugs and alcohol at the time. Although there are varying versions of the details surrounding this offence on your file, it is reported that you entered a restaurant establishment with a loaded .38 revolver in hand and demanded money while your accomplices waited in a stolen vehicle. When met with resistance by the restaurant owner, your accomplices entered the premises in an effort to assist you. You were successful at robbing the facility and fleeing the scene however, the vehicle broke down and you continued on foot. You were eventually spotted by police at which time you shot one of your accomplices twice and then hit him in the head with the butt of your gun. The victim succumbed to his injuries. While it is not clear why you shot your accomplice, you have offered varied explanations in the past that suggest that the offence was accidental as a result of panic, intoxication and not being aware that the firearm was loaded. Today, you indicated that you were just playing. However, it is also mentioned in your file that you may have shot the victim because you believed he had reported you and the robbery to the authorities. Your limited recollection and reluctance to openly discuss these offences did not permit to elucidate this matter any further today.”

“Afterwards, I hit Edwards on the head once or twice. I don’t know why I did what I did.”

In 2012 Danny was given Statutory Release with conditions not to consume drugs or alcohol and to avoid certain persons. At the time of this writing Danny is not currently an inmate at any federal institution in Canada.

Qu’est-ce que le Noir dit?

What did Ralph say? Let’s go back to the coroner’s inquiry. Several attorneys attempt to extract from Christian Lamoureux the exact nature of an assumed verbal dispute between Danny and Ralph. One of the attorneys asks if there was an argument, words exchanged after the car broke down. Christian says that he doesn’t know because he doesn’t understand english. “But you understand “Hold-Up,” the attorney says, “you understand an argument”:

Q: Ralph is who, do you recall his family name?

A: Edwards.

Q: Is he a white of black guy?

A: Black…

Q: Did they exchange words?

A: No.

Q: Do you think it possible there was a dispute between the two?

A: No.

Q: …So you’re on the road, walking on foot after the car broke down, it’s Danny who has the money in his pockets?

A: Yes.

Q: And there wasn’t a discussion about sharing (the money) at this point?

A: No, we had not talked about it.

Q: Well, it’s unique that having arrived at this situation, on the way to Danny’s, that you didn’t have a discussion about dividing the money.

A: Yes.

———————-

Analysis

Qu’est-ce que le Noir dit?

What do we have so far to connect the 1975 Déry / Corbeil murders to the 1976 shooting of Ralph Edwards?

Always begin with the geography. Danny can be placed at three locations within roughly a little over a mile of the Déry / Corbeil dump site; at the time of the murders he is living a half-mile from the dump site, a few months before the murders he is at the hockey pond 1,000 feet from the dump site, and about a year later he shoots Ralph Edwards along chemin de l’Aeroport about 1.2 miles from the Déry / Corbeil site:

Dery-Corbeil / Ralph Edwards crime scene map

Link to map: https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/edit?mid=15KYqUHtBNp8xX72SgMt0EAs0DO2GCVVJ&ll=45.517586975859736%2C-73.45054684954596&z=14

There’s the curiosity of the May 14th, 1976 shooting of Ralph Edwards occurring very close to the May 20th, 1975 anniversary date of the Déry / Corbeil murders (Did the car breakdown stir up memories? Did Ralph say something about this event?)

A rifle is the murder weapon in both shootings; Déry / Corbeil are shot with a 22, and Edwards is shot with a 410. Then there are the crime scenes which on first consideration seem quite different; Edwards’ we imagine quite chaotic (Danny was “freaking out”), while with Déry / Corbeil there are elements of staging ( one body placed on top of the other as if to simulate sexual relations). Yet with both crimes there seems to be an element of overkill; was it necessary to shoot Mario six times? Why was Ralph beaten repeatedly with the butt of a rifle? Why shoot Ralph in the back, then beat him, then shoot him in the head? All the while with Christian urging Danny to stop.

Was Eric Veillette right?

Was the meeting in the woods accidental? Was there a confrontation? Did the shooters have accounts to settle? Was it the gratuitous crime of a future psychopath?

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While the documentary Le Dernier Soir was airing on Radio Canada for the second time, I started corresponding about the Déry / Corbeil case with a criminologist friend of mine. He became intrigued, so I sent him the file of documents I had accumulated on the case. He then began to watch the program, and after he had finished I asked him his opinion of the case. I should mention that this isn’t any criminologist, and it isn’t anyone I’ve talked of before. He is a leading expert on sexual murder. He thought the suspect presented in the television program – the kid who went on to become a leader in organized crime – was “probably not the murderer in this case”:

Yes he’s probably highly antisocial, a murderer and a guy who has been involved in a lot of crime but I don’t think he would have done something like that. To me it’s the sexual element that is key here. As you mentioned, it is very immature the way it was done. At the same time, the offender needed to do something sexual to Dery (as opposed to leaving the crime scene right away after shooting them). It’s not random. 

Admittedly, what we know of Danny so far also does not suggest that he was a sexual murderer, but let’s leave that aside for the moment.

What we next learned was only discovered within the last month while putting this story together. I haven’t been sitting on it for very long, and if I had had any faith they would have acted upon it, I would have gone to the police immediately.

While preparing for an update on the Déry / Corbeil case – this year marks the 45th anniversary of their unsolved murders – I went back and read the police files, the documents provided to me originally by the producers of the television documentary in December 2018.

At some point in the original 1970s investigation chief inspector Robidoux – he of the burned down house and planning bribes – was introduced to a young informant. This young informant from the Longueuil neighborhood was the original source for suggesting that the other kid – the one who grew up to be an underworld figure – may have murdered Diane and Mario. This young informant told Robidoux many things. For instance, he told him that young people used to stand in the woods at the south end of Roland-Therrien boulevard – the area where the bodies were discovered – and use rifles “such as 22s, 410s or others” for target practice.

Then one day he told Robidoux a story about something that happened weeks after the murders:

“… so the weeks pass and one day I decide to go hunting. I’m talking me, HE and TC. We’re walking in the woods when shots were fired, bullets whistle by on either side of us. So I saw two guys, one black and one white. I started to think me and the others should do the same [fire back]. So then I came out of the woods, and ran home. That same evening I went to see Mrs. Déry, that same evening, so I could explain to her what had happened, but I was afraid of going to the police, so I kept it a secret. “

un noir et un blanc

“Alors je vis deux gars, un noir et un blanc.”

We went back and checked with one of the other boys from this story, “TC”. He confirmed that it did occur the way the informant described it. When asked if he recalled them talking, and in what language, he said, “”they seemed to speak english”

What did Ralph Edwards say to Danny the night of the 1976 shooting? Why beat someone with a rifle butt and shoot them twice in front of a witness? Why risk certain arrest? Unless Ralph mentioned another murder. The murders of Diane Déry and Mario Corbeil from the previous year. Did Ralph threaten to go to the police – if he hadn’t contacted them already – and tell them of those murders if Danny didn’t hand over the robbery money? Did Christian hear some of this, but pretend to not comprehend english? Did words escalate to the point where Ralph taunted Danny about his actions the night of the Dery / Corbeil murders? $500 is not enough to die for. You don’t freak out over $500, bludgeon someone in the face, and shoot them dead.

We end where we began. This theory also has holes, it isn’t completely satisfying. The criminologist suggests a sexual murderer, (the offender needed to do something sexual to Dery ) but Danny didn’t have an incarceration history of sexual violence. Though we don’t know what we don’t know. Because of his history of incarceration maybe there wasn’t time for Danny to develop into a full-blown sexual predator. Maybe he was a sexual murderer, he just was never caught for those crimes. We also don’t know Danny’s whereabouts from 1982 – 1987. Those years are a blackout, and there are any number of unsolved murders in Quebec from that time, including the Longueuil area.

Maybe another possibility: Was the sexual element a folie a deux? Did Ralph, who was two years older – two years can seem like an eternity at that age – provoke Danny? Was there something inherently embarrassing about what happened the night of May 20th, 1975? Was Ralph the sexual murderer, and Danny the one caught up in his sexual deviance, with Ralph urging on the younger Danny? Did Danny commit the murders, but Ralph the sexual assaults? Did Ralph force Danny to do something he did not want to do? More questions. Another puzzle.

And in the end…

In the documentary Le Dernier Soir, one of the sisters – I think Diane’s – recalls that the night Diane disappeared she went to sleep watching the rotating beacon atop Place Ville Marie. It’s a four-ray searchlight that can be seen from at least a hundred miles away. It’s become sort of a protective light for Montrealers, on the other side of the mountain I used to fall asleep watching it too. She said on that night – Tuesday, May 20th, 1975 – she hoped it would help Diane find her way home.


Sherbrooke Record, November 4, 1977

Category:

The Future of Nostalgia – The Murder of Anita Robert – WKT4 #6

Anita Robert

Anita Robert

“The slow rhythm of reflective time makes possible the dream of freedom”

Svetlana Boym

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I am a part of several social media groups that broker in nostalgia. There’s one all about Montreal historical photos, that’s Mario’s site. There’s a french one called “La Nostalgie”. There are two for the Eastern Townships / L’Estrie; one in french, one in english. I used to belong to one called Montreal Memories, but the monitor – a guy named Barry – booted me off.

I’m sitting here this morning drinking from a Montreal Starbucks coffee cup. It’s one of those “Been There” deals, I picked it up at the Dorval airport last winter. I have to say, Starbucks kinda got their research right; there’s a bagel, a hockey stick, a smoke meat sandwich… the biosphere, the Champlain Bridge. But then there are things I just don’t understand; a motorboat, something that looks like the White House. There’s even product placement; a Starbucks frappuccino next to a hockey net.

What got Barry mad was my unwillingness to participate in reflective nostalgia: what the writer, Svetlana Boym referred to as “a longing for a home that no longer exists or has never existed… a romance with one’s own fantasy.” Reflective nostalgia leans heavily on collective memory, the idea that we can all agree on – and I am simplifying things here of course – that Montreal was a better place when the Expos were playing, the Habs were winning, and you could still buy 2 sippy-sacks for 10 cents at the corner Perrette’s.

Perrette’s a chain store depanneur that was popular in the 1970s

As any great contrarian can tell you – and the Montreal writer Kristian Gravenor is one of them – there is danger in collective memory. I’m no longer one of these guys who firebombs websites with my negative experiences. I will occasionally join the dance, I’ve posted in “T’es de Sherbrooke Si…” little pieces I’ve found along the way; concert notices for Harmonium or Offenbach from the 70s era, that sort of thing. But never forget that I am a troller of information on those sites. I’m not only looking for specifics of local color, I’m also watching behaviour – People have memories, and some they can’t let go.

Mini-Sips (but we called them Sippy-Sacks)

It astonishes me how much people do remember. They will post classroom photographs from the 50s and 60s, and instantly people will come from everywhere and catalogue all the names of the people, what they are doing now, who married who, who died – so sad that was. Remember the factory at the corner of this-and-that? What was there before? Well before the factory, there was a gas pump there, with that guy who had the chip wagon…

This is collective memory. It is also selective memory. It’s amazing what people don’t remember, or choose to not-remember, or forget, or don’t tell you that they remember. It’s also worth knowing that Svetlana Boym also wrote that, “The twentieth century began with a futuristic utopia and ended with nostalgia.” Recall that Georges Méliès silent film Le Voyage dans la Lune – based on the Jules Verne novel – was first screen publicly in the spring of 1902.

I only go dark when I’m invited to. So someone posted, “Qui est cet ancien joueur du Canadien meurtrier” / Who is this former Montreal Canadiens player who was also a murderer? People responded:

“He was my neighbor when I was a kid, he smoked a big cigar.”

“Oh, I don’t know this story.”

“A story not so glorious for Nos Glorieux”

“Quest ce qu’il a fait”

Tony Demers


His name is Tony Demers. And this is what he did. This is Who Killed Theresa.

————————–

Before beginning, full disclosure: There was a bit of zeitgeist-cryptomnesia going on. Some “zeitmnesia”, or “cryptogeist”, some “zeitomnesia”, if you will. Last month, Mario Pompetti posted on his site, Montreal Historic Photos a picture taken by Conrad Poirier of Tony Demers on “The Broken Bone Line”. This was a short-lived union of Demers, Elmer Lach and Maurice Richard, two of whom went on to become hockey hall of famers, Tony most decidedly did not. Dubbed “The Broken Bone Line” because Lach and Richard suffered broken limbs on the ice, while Demers broke his leg in an automobile accident.

Demers, Lach and Richard: The Broken Bone Line

In very short order, Kristian Gravenor posted a story about Tony Demers on his site, Coolopolis. Now Kristian has scooped me before, and I rely quite heavily on his research. Often I choose not to read what he’s written if I’m working on a piece because I don’t want to be influenced by it. In this case – I guess I discovered it about here, about mid-way through some research on Demers – and this time I decided to read it – well, skimmed it – more as a way to ensure that I wouldn’t step on his toes. Now I’m firm in telling you that I didn’t decide to do a podcast on Tony Demers because of Mario or Kristian. As I said, I got the inspiration from a french posting, and anyway I’m not in danger of pinching the Coolopolis information, there’s enough that drew me in that has not been covered, and if you’ve listened enough, I’m never really that interested in the subject I’m talking about – this is not really an episode about a hockey-player-murder. When it appears I’m talking about one thing, I’m actually talking about something else.

—————————————

There are certainly better known hockey cases we could cover. There’s Bill Barilko who’s plane crashed in 1951, with investigators not finding the wreckage for over a decade. The year before that in 1950 almost the entire Soviet hockey team died in a plane that went down in a heavy snowstorm. More recently in 2011 the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl plane crash took the lives of 26 hockey players. Tim Horton and Pelle Lindbergh died in auto accidents. There’s the Humboldt Broncos bus crash in 2018. Last year, Austrian player Florian Janny was murdered.

But our story concerns a Montreal Canadiens hockey player, and the year is 1949. Here’s some details on Tony Demers.

Tony Demers

(Portions of this story come from the 1940s Sherbrooke Record reporter, Cuthbert Jones.)

Tony Demers

Tony Demers was close to being one of the NHL’s greatest hockey stars. He was know to have one of the hardest shots in the game. He joined the Montreal Canadiens full-time in 1939, but in four seasons played less than 100 games, and scored just 20 goals. Demers was prone to injury and illness. He was often out with the flu or a cold. Then came periods of food poisoning or mysterious “stomach ailments”. In December 1941 Demers crashed his car into a tree and broke his leg. This was all journalist-code covering for the reality that Tony Demers was a boozer. By 1943 coach Dick Irvin had had enough with him and sent him to the minors. 1944 saw Demers last professional NHL appearance, he managed just one game with the New York Rangers.

Tony Demers

What followed was a brief period of minor league stardom, primarily in Sherbrooke with the Quebec Professional Hockey League (QPHL). The season prior to “the event” saw Demers play his best hockey, in 60 games with the Sherbrooke Saint Francis he recorded 53 goals and 58 assists, and was awarded the league’s Vimy Trophy for most gentlemanly player.

Anita Robert

Anita Laberge Robert

When the story broke in the fall of 1949, Demers had first only been detained as a material witness for a coroner’s inquest into the death of 32-year-old Anita Laberge Robert of Coaticook.

Anita Robert lived in Coaticook with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. John Laberge. Coaticook, Quebec is about a 10 minute drive south of Compton, and you know Compton because that’s where my sister, Theresa died. So, 10 minutes from Compton, 15 minutes further still from Lennoxville, and it’s 10 minutes even further south from Sherbrooke – all together, a little over a 1/2 hour drive from Sherbrooke to Coaticook, to get your beaings.

Despite residing with her parents, Anita was married to a man named Paul Robert, thus Anita Laberge Robert. Robert was living out of the province at the time working as a chef at a resort in Banff, Alberta. In fact, the morning after her death, it was Anita’s intention to travel and join her husband at the Banff Springs Hotel.

Anita Robert’s husband, Chef Paul Robert

Now into the Laberge / Robert picture enters Tony Demers. The family Laberge had only met the minor league hockey player the evening of their daughter’s death. It’s not entirely clear how long Anita had been acquainted with Demers, who live in downtown Sherbrooke at the Hotel Union, which was at the corner of King street and Alexandre.

Tony Demers (top left) in the Sherbrooke Hotel Union bar

The Hotel Union as it looked in Sherbrooke, 1949. next to the White Rose gas station

On the afternoon of the murder, Thursday, September 15th, 1949, 31-year-old Tony Demers drove his 1938 Chevrolet Coach from Sherbrooke to Coaticook to meet Anita Robert. Demers stopped for a couple of drinks along the way at the Coaticook House hotel before returning there with Robert for a couple more drinks. The couple then drove back to Sherbrooke where Demers had to call on a number of local businesses about sporting advertisements. Around supper time the couple drove back to Coaticook stopping to have more drinks with the manager of the Georgian hotel in Lennoxville.

A 1938 Chevrolet Coach, similar to what Tony Demers was driving

That early evening, Demers first met Anita’s parents and her two visiting sisters at the family home in Coaticook. After introductions, Demers went out and bought three bottles of beer and a bottle of rye which everyone enjoyed at the Laberge home (by the time of the trial, this detail appeared to have been modified so that the consumption of alcohol within the Laberge home was not part of the story). When the booze was finished, John Laberge joined Anita and Demers at the Coaticook House for one more drink. An employee observed that Demers was not sober, and became belligerent. The three left the establishment with Laberge returning home and Anita and Demers starting for Magog. This was around 10 p.m. that evening.

There had been a dispute as the Laberge home before leaving. Mrs Laberge objected to her daughter going out with Tony Demers. Demers had been clowning with the family, flexing his muscles to impress all the girls. At one point he took off his shirt, “to show that he wasn’t a schoolboy.” Demers argued with both parents. Mrs. Laberge said Anita “seemed afraid of Demers and yet fascinated by him.” Her husband agreed stating that Anita, “seemed afraid of displeasing him, and did not oppose any of his remarks.” Even though she was a married woman, Demers expressed that he wished to marry Anita (earlier in Lennoxville, he had introduced Anita to the Georgian hotel manager as his wife). And yet the parents let their daughter go off with him. Mrs. Laberge remarked that Anita was “clever… well educated and popular, but her mind was turned.”

Tony Demers Arraigned Today On Charge Of Murder

At this point in the story, as there were no witnesses, only Demers and Robert truly know what happened. In Tony Demers’ version of events, the couple then drove to Magog, about a 45 minute drive northwest through some very rural, dense forested country. They would have passed through Ayer’s Cliff before arriving in Magog, which was – and is now – a resort-ish, touristy town at the northern-most tip of Lake Memphremagog. At some point Demers said that Anita tried to throw herself out of the moving vehicle because she thought Tony wouldn’t love her anymore after having met her parents. The car landed in a ditch, then Anita Robert took the wheel while Demers tried to push them out. According to Demers she eventually fell unconscious. He then placed her in the back seat of the car. When he tried talking to her she didn’t answer. Demers went to sleep in the front seat of the car and when he woke up it was daylight.

Magog, Quebec

On the morning of Friday, September 16th, Tony Demers visited a friend, Robert Pruneau in Little Lake ( known today as Lake Magog) saying he had “something serious” to show him. Demers then took Pruneau to Pruneau’s cottage – which Demers had broken into – where the badly beaten Anita Robert lay on the sofa naked and covered in a blanket. Pruneau urged Demers to take her to the hospital at once. Before departing, Demers asked for a change of clothes, then instructed Pruneau to take his blooded clothing to the cleaners in Sherbrooke. Demers drove Anita Robert to La Providence Hospital in Magog. When the doctor asked what had happened Demers replied, “I guess it was a fight.”

Demers left the hospital a number of times. On returning for the third time he told the doctor, “We would just as soon not have this known and if you don’t speak to anyone about it I’ll give you a good reward.”

Anita Laberge Robert died that afternoon at La Providence Hospital in Magog. The autopsy revealed that Robert was bruised from the legs to the head. She had a black eye and her nose had been broken. Robert suffered multiple blows, dying due to hemorrhaging in her skull. Her injuries were caused by, “blows struck by a blunt weapon, such as a fist.”

“I am not of the opinion that she jumped or fell out of a car,” the medical examiner added.

Anita Robert’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. John Laberge

Anita’s parents were not aware of what had transpired the night of September 15th, until a reporter who showed up on their doorstep accidentally let slip the news that their daughter had died. When Mrs Laberge realized what had happened her reaction was immediate:

“I told her not to go out with him, she should have listened to me. I had a premonition that something terrible had happened when I did not hear from her all day today. But this is a frightful thing, a horrible thing…”

Then, as if from a script from Oscar Méténier’s Grand Guignol she turned to her husband, “You should have kept her from going with him!”

This story is often painted with shades of, “Oh poor Tony, he could have been such a big hockey star if it wasn’t for that one unfortunate slip of character.” One writer stated that Tony Demers plight was ” one of the sadder stories in the 100 year saga of the Montreal Canadiens.” Sadder for who? They went on to argue that the “details… remain sketchy”, when they are perfectly clear, and were documented in the court record.

At the trial, Anita’s sister, Bella testified that she had seen Demers and Anita Robert the previous year at a guest house in Montreal. Demers had an argument with Anita, struck her, broke her glasses and gave her a black eye. When Bella tried to intervene Demers shouted, “I’ll kill you and your sister too.”

Also at trial a statement was revealed from the morning of Robert’s death in which Demers told police that he “slapped her face and struck her with his fist after she had cursed him.” Demers also told the police he had known Robert for seven years, and admitted having dated her for two years.

Post-mortem photos shown to the jury of Anita Robert clearly revealed the black eye, the broken nose, the blows to her head and body. The defence counsel protested arguing that the photos were “immoral”.

For over two hours Demers commanded the witness stand in his own defence. He was described as giving testimony, “calmly, coolly, and occasionally with flashes of humour.”

Prosecutor Henri Monty called Demers “a good actor, suave and with a soft voice, attempting to impress the jury. He had a wonderful memory of what happened the night of the tragedy, but couldn’t remember to answer any incriminating questions.”

It took the jury just ten minutes to find Tony Demers guilty of manslaughter, reduced from the original charge of murder. A murder conviction would have meant Demers would hang. Manslaughter carried a life sentence of 25-years. But the jury asked for clemency, which Justice Cesaire Gervais granted, sentencing him to fifteen years in prison.

Judge Gervais tried to talk tough arguing that the sentence would “put an end to your brilliant career as an international athlete.” The truth was Demers had already played eighteen years – an eternity for most hockey players – and his career was never brilliant. Demers served eight years. He was paroled in 1959, and occasionally spotted coaching, or playing in “celebrity” old-timers games. My father probably watched him one Saturday morning at The Forum.

Tony Demers at trial

At sentencing the judge also argued that Tony Demers had no prior criminal record, but he was hardly a saint. Remember the car crash where he broke his leg? That incident happened coming back to Montreal from a joyride in Valleyfield after midnight. He could have killed the other passengers, his then wife (who eventually left him) and his brother and sister-in-law. Demers “brilliant career” could have ended right there.

Tony Demers car crash incident


In March 1945 Demers was charged with violent theft from a hotel keeper in Chambly, behavior that appeared consistent with his belligerence at the the Coaticook House. He was later acquitted at trial.

Tony Demers charged with violent theft

Tony Demers had offered $200 “to do the job” on a Chambly hotel keeper

Tony Demers theft trial

Tony Demers acquitted of theft with violence

In the spring of 1949, the same week he was awarded the Vimy Trophy for most gentlemanly player, Demers was discovered playing in the ‘B’ league playoffs for Dorion under the assumed name, “B. Taylor”. Demers was suspended for 10 games, but in a pattern that would prove familiar – and some might argue fatal – he was given leniency, allowed to serve the suspension at the beginning of the following season, not while his team, the Sherbrooke Saint Francis was making a playoff run. Demers run of excuses and missteps was waring thin, but not enough to result in any meaningful consequence. He was learning that you could get away with bad behavior and talk your way out of things… “a good actor attempting to impress…”

Tony Demers moonlights for ‘B’ League

Q.A.H.A. Shows Leniency Towards Tony Demers

As we said, Tony Demers life after serving eight years was uneventful. Here’s a photo of him playing in a Sherbrooke old timers league in 1967-68, Tony is number 5, bottom center. He was manager at a driving range, a foreman at Sifto Ice Salt… for a while he had a dépanneur at the corner of Conseil and Murray.

Tony Demers with a Sherbrooke old timers league in 1967=68.
Demers is number 5

After his death at the age of eighty in 1997 the Coaticook Historical Society had this to say about Tony Demers:

“He not only paid his debt to society but he set an example of himself during his rehabilitation by becoming a model prisoner… All the people that knew him thought that he had really made an effort to redeem himself since his terrible business years earlier… He could have had a more storied career with the Canadians if only he had been more serious and above all, if he had known his own physical strength.”

Even if we were to believe that, Demers murdered Anita Robert six years after his professional hockey career with the Montreal Canadians was over. He was shown the door by Dick Irvin in 1943, Anita Robert died in 1949.

Memory is a powerful narcotic. You don’t want to go stepping on the mythology of Montreal’s most storied sports franchise. It’s an inconvenient truth that Ginette Reno sang at the wedding of a Hells Angel. Or that flash-in-the-pan star goaltender Jose Theodore had Hells Angels’ numbers in his cellphone. Recently, Maurice “The Rocket” Richard’s brother – Henri “The Pocket Rocket” Richard – died after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. One of the most celebrated athletes in hockey – the man won eleven Stanley Cups – but by some accounts Henri Richard was a real son-of-a-bitch. His older brother never once invited him into his home in Ahuntsic. Svetlana Boym called nostalgia, “history without guilt.”

Call Duplessis a fascist, Trudeau a queer, Marois a xenophobic old cow – these folks are politicians, they’re marked targets. But don’t attack our heroes. Don’t mess with nostalgia. Don’t be a buzz kill on our collective high of the past.

Except there was nothing heroic or tragic about Tony Demers. He didn’t have a character flaw. He consistently abused his privilege. Over a period of years Tony Demers verbally and physically abused Anita Robert, and then he killed her. When you begin to chisel at what’s past-preserved its bound to make some people uncomfortable.

A contemporary Russian saying goes that the past has become much more unpredictable than the future. In an essay on friendship Svetlana Boym wrote,

“Friendship is not about having everything illuminated or obscured, but about conspiring and playing with shadows… Its goal is not enlightenment but luminosity, not a quest for the blinding truth but only for occasional lucidity and honesty.”

In her obituary for the New Yorker – Boym died of cancer in 2015 at the age of 56 – her author-friend Masha Gessen wrote, “Once, after reading a book of mine, she said, “You write very directly, don’t you?” I don’t think it was a compliment.”

Boym also writes about the exiles who dream about imagined homelands. At once homesick and sick of home. That’s a pretty apt description of me.

This is Who Killed Theresa.

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“Well I’m not a scientist. But I know all things begin and end in eternity.”

Thomas Newton – The Man Who Fell To Earth

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Here is a video clip of Svetlana Boym:

Svetlana Boym

Category:

Sommeil Sans Reves – Vivian Villeneuve / WKT4 #5



La petite poule d’eau, Jean Paul Lemieux

My favorite Quebec artist is Jean Paul Lemieux. Not all of the times, but sometimes he paints these stark landscapes where a simple figure stands very prominently in the foreground as if posing for a photograph. This can be seen in the podcast episode about Back River Jane Doe / Armand Duhamel – WKT3 #22 which features Lemieux’s 1961 painting, “The Terminus”. White snow, black sky, and a woman in a red winter coat and hat. There’s something haunting in this work. The woman is almost absent in her presence.

I have a Lemieux print in my home. It’s similar, a young boy in the snow standing to the right of the frame near the shore in Levis, the Saint Lawrence river and Quebec City citadel in the background. I often think I’ll wake up one morning and that boy will be gone.

“History doesn’t repeat itself but it often rhymes”

This is Who Killed Theresa.

I am going to retell and expand on the Halloween episode I did last fall about the Villeneuve family. Remember that the Villeneuves were a family that lived up the street from us growing up in Pierresonds, which is a town in the West Island of Montreal. The Villeneuves used to do a big spectacle at Halloween. The mother, Lysa, and her two daughters – Debbie and Vivian – would dress up like the three witches from MacBeth. They’s have a caldron on their front lawn with a dry ice and a strobe light. To pick it up, I’m going to read from Christopher Bain’s Montreal Gazette article from October 31, 1977, “Kids bewitched into safe Halloween”. I read it on that last episode, but this time I’m going to read the whole article (you can find that first podcast here):

Top to bottom: Debbie, Vivian and mother Lysa Velleneuve

Montreal Gazette article on the Villeneuve’s Halloween spectacle, October 31, 1977

Montreal Gazette article on the Villeneuve Halloween spectacle, October 31, 1977

What happened next after that podcast was strange. It wasn’t just strange it was an “Oh Fuck Off” moment. Because that podcast was supposed to have been a breather, a break and brief respite from the gloom that I usually talk about. It was some one-off fun before we leaned back into some real horror. About a week after posting that episode I received the following message.

Now before plunging into this, a word of caution about the messages I’m about to read. In the absence of facts, people tend to feed off suspicion and rumour and fear. Also, there are many suggestions about Villeneuve family lifestyle in these correspondences. And I’m going to leave them at suggestions and allow you to draw your own conclusions.

This is the first message I received from a high school friend of Vivienne Villeneuve, we’ll call her Claire:

CLAIRE’S STORY (a high school friend)

I lived not far from you growing up in Montreal, I’m surprised we didn’t know each other. Vivian Villenueve was a friend of mine and for years I have been trying to find out about her murder with no answers. Do you know anything about her case? Vivian lived and walked this earth and now it is like the whole family disappeared. I understand that Debbie committed suicide a few years after Vivian’s murder.

Viv and I graduated in 79 and I lost track of her as so many of us left Montreal at the time. With the introduction of home computers I started to look for my friends like Vivian. At my 25th high school reunion I learned that Vivian had passed but did not know how. I was searching for her obituary again, then I learned that Viv had been violently murdered shortly after high school. I have searched everywhere for a sign. With Vivian’s family being pagan I did not expect to find any church records. I just want to know what happened to my friend. I understand that you were not aware of the situation

I checked with some high school friends. We figure that it probably happened between 1979-1985. What I was told so far that it was a suspected drug deal gone bad. She was tied and thrown off the roof of a building. I assumed it was Montreal as my friend knew someone who went to the funeral. Let me check with my friend again.

I talked to a number of people last night. The general consensus is that Vivian was killed at a house party in Montreal possibly in 1980. It could have been a drug deal gone bad. There are rumours that it was a very violent death and she may have been thrown from the roof of a building. I find it strange that I can find nothing on a crime of this magnitude. I worked in the justice system for 25 years and something just isn’t adding up to me. How can a family just vanish from history? I will keep looking for Vivian. I do want to thank you for sharing your experiences with her family, it reminded many people of the wonderful times we had with Vivian.

Before I move onto the second message, there was a lot of digging for information that went on through all of this, a lot of back-and-forth messaging. This went on through Christmas and into the new year. Checking newspaper archives, medical legal records, checking with the police. I go into more detail about this in the actually podcast which you can listen to at the beginning of this post. At some point during all this effort, I got the second message from a relative of the Villeneuve’s we’ll call her Carmen:

CARMEN’S STORY (a relative)

Vivian’s sister Debbie did not commit suicide. It was their mother, Lysa who committed suicide. Lisa died first, then Vivian – this is what I heard and trying to figure out why. I can’t find anything, and at the time I was very young, and now everyone has passed, even my mother, Lise’s sister.

I know Debbie was married and used to do dog shows with her german short hair dogs, and then got divorced. Debbie got into drugs, had a car accident, broke her neck and recovered. She no longer spoke to my uncle, not sure why [ MARK THAT – that becomes important]. The family was into witchcraft. My baby sister swears she saw either Debbie or Vivian using their eyes to throw plates at their mother ….my sister was only 3 at the time and swears it’s true.

I spoke to Debbie’s first husband, Gerald. Vivian died in the summer of 85 or 86. He remembers it was hot. She lived in downtown Montreal in an apartment building and he can’t remember the street but she lived on the 11th floor. Her hands were tied together and her legs were tied together and she was thrown out of the 11th floor. They would not release anything to the public – and that is why there are no news articles – until the investigation was finished. The investigation took 6 months and then they deemed it a suicide and closed the file. Gerarld never once believed that it was suicide and that something was being covered up.

So this answers the question of why i can’t find articles of news about her. Now to his knowledge Lise was always Lysa which is not true so i wonder if she was buried under Lysa (assuming she changed her name legally)… “Lysa Cartier” as she was not married to my uncle, so she was not a Villeneuve. And in Quebec you don’t change your name as a women sometimes. Gerard said he always believed it was a cover up. yes me too. I need to think.

Viviane was not involved in drugs and those sorts of things but she was quite successful in modeling and was still modeling at the time. I remember her being very tall like her mom and the last time I spoke to Debbie she indicated that Viviane was dying a slow death already with bulimia. She had been this way for years so she must have been quite skinny. So she was a model and my father said she hung out with high society people which is starting to make sense why there is nothing available and sounding a bit like a pay off from a very wealthy person, but I’m no detective. My father said she hung with the high and mighty so that is always a possibility. I am reading that there was a lot of Hells Angels action in Montreal in that period. I’m going to change the focus of my research to figure out what Montreal modeling agency she was associated with. Having uncovered all of this short of talking to retired police officers or old models I’m sure there will be no further information as it’s all been wiped clean.

So it is at this point that I find the autopsy report for Lysa Cartier / Villeneuve. I will read what it says on the podcast….

Carmen continues:

It’s what i had been told it was a suicidal overdose. Even my cousin thought it was odd that she went by Lysa and must have changed her name legally as she was definitely Lise Cartier at marriage. My cousin also tells me that Vivian was not a professional model but modeled things for her mom… When I asked what I was told was that Lysa dabbled in a few things…nothing more than that. My cousin indicated Vivi died at age 24.

I had a long conversation with my cousin who set me straight on a few things. First of all Viv was not a model. My aunt sold furry bikini’s and Viv would model those. Please don’t ask as it sounds like my aunt was a little funny. The morning that Vivian died, she called her dad and asked him for electrical wire. When he asked why she said she was doing a project, so he brought it to her. That day her hands were tied and her legs were tied when she went over the 11th story balcony. She was not in any trouble or into drugs as far as anyone knows. My uncle blamed himself for years for the suicide and for bringing her the electrical wire. Hmmm… as i said to my cousin…you can’t tie your hands and legs and drop off the balcony on your own, so it’s always been assumed that she had an accomplice help her in her suicide. Her sister Debbie and her ex husband never believed it was suicide, and really there are easier ways to take your life such as pills etc. I’m not sure what to believe but I will continue in my search because either way someone needed to help her.

NOBODY knew what Lysa did for a living. She dressed to the Ts, and hung around with rich people at very fancy yacht clubs, as well as with Hells Angels. I just found out that her sister and brother in law often thought she was a call girl because she just had too much money – hung with the rich, but nobody knew what work she did. She often brought my cousin and her girls to the fancy yacht club to eat. Lysa was in to some very weird stuff and it may very well be that Viv followed in her footsteps as they were very close. Viv used to model her mother’s line of fur bikini underwear and that in itself is very very weird.

Having said that, my cousin says that it’s quite possible that Viv could have been an escort, as she lived in a very very nice building in downtown Toronto. I’m going to try to also get more details on the apartment bldg.

Deborah’s husband Gerry / Gerald has not spoken to his ex-wife in 40 years and has no clue where she is (I figure it was not an amicable divorce). He has not talked to my uncle Marcel in 30 years either. I never got to ask Gerry if he knew where Viv was buried. If you would like i can give you his number to contact him. what do you think?

He used to own a business that provided props for events, movie sets etc in Montreal. Le Roi Rouge or something like this….Le Roi du Tapis Rouge. To find that info I might find Lyson, his partner but for the love of god… I can’t find anything on that either. I even tried searching old articles as my uncle was investigated for a fire/potential fraud for an event fire in either Kingston or Kitchener…don’t remember which one or the year and unable to find anything.

In September 1984, Marcel Villeneuve movie van for The Boy In Blue destroyed in fire. The film starred Christopher Plummer and Nicholas Cage.

Gerry and Deborah never believed it was suicide and he was married to Debbie at the time of Vivienne’s death. Gerry told me there was no info released for six months then they closed the file as suicide.

And for the life of me I tried the cemetery again they checked under Lysa and Lise Cartier and Villeneuve….they checked under Deborah Villeneuve…..they checked under Marcel Villeneuve and neither my aunt or Lyse is there….she took my number and will keep looking but she spent ten minutes going through all of the details and NOTHING.

November 1984, Lysa Villeneuve commits suicide
French notice of Lysa Cartier / Villeneuve’s death

For a while I let things settle down. I got busy. Then recently I was talking with my brother. Now I should have gone to my brother in the first place, because he remembers everything. But I don’t like to involve him in these things too much. It depends on his mood. He might respond, “I don’t know” or “I don’t remember” or “I don’t care, can we talk about something else”. Except he’ll never say that, you just know that’s the case and you quickly drop it.

This time – maybe because we all have a lot of time on our hands – he said… well, it started the usual way. I tell him the story of the Villeneuve’s, so far so good. He remembers this. Halloween, ok, got that. The witches, he’s got me there. Then we switch to murder and suicide, and it’s immediately,

“I don’t know, I don’t remember… I didn’t really know them.., you should talk to Damien Mitchell, he lived next store to them”

I don’t know who that is.

“The Mitchell’s? Sure you do. Big family… boys. You used to play with his younger brother, Emmett.

“I don’t remember.”

“Sure you do. Big family? You know who you should talk to? Glenn Poole, he was neighbors with Joanne Bedard, and Joanne was friends with Vivian. Vivian was around my age. In fact… you know? Just when you said that, you know? I think I remember Damien Mitchell, I remember seeing him, at a reunion or a show, this was like 10 years ago, and just with you saying that, I think I remember him telling me about this. That Vivian was killed, and it was all very tragic. Talk to Joanne Bedard. She was a close friend of Vivian’s, and I knew her. That’s how I was in the Villeneuve house. And I remember being scared shitless.”

I never phoned Debbie’s ex-husband, Gerry. I thought about it, but I never picked up the phone. I never contacted Damian Mitchell or spoke with Joanne Bedard. Why put everyone through that. Why put a family through all that – again – on a story that may not be true. Our deepest fears. What if I’m forgotten. Do I really exist. Maybe these people want to be left alone. Maybe they just want to be forgotten.

A photo of Debbie Villeneuve from the October 30th, 1982 Gazette. She is a Montreal Super Bingo winner.

Debbie Villeneuve / Montreal 1982

So what if it’s true. Vivian Villeneuve was bound and tossed from the 11th story of a Montreal apartment building. [11th is interesting. It’s specific. It doesn’t sound made up]. It’s interesting. That would mean 3 young woman from that Pierrefonds neighborhood wound up murdered. My sister, Theresa Allore, the 1976 murder of Barbara Myers who lived just across the railroad tracks, and Vivian Villeneuve who lived up the street from our house on Blondin. Take Blondin up to Woodland and you’re at the house of Joanne Bedard. Blondin the other way ends at Pavillion, our house on the corner. Follow Pavillion two blocks and you’re at the old Villeneuve house.

I still don’t remember Damien Mitchell. I do remember Greg Aldridge. He was my hockey coach and he also lived close to the Villeneuve’s. Greg was an early mentor, he gave me a copy of Boy On Defense, a hockey book by Neil Young’s father, Scott Young. Greg died young of cancer. After his death his wife, Maise used to sit up all night alone in that house with the lights off, suffering in silence and the dark. (needs to tie with Lisa autopsy)

Do you know the concept of cryptomnesia? It’s were you unintentionally copy or plagiarize something. Byron did it. So did J.M. Barrie and Umberto Eco. My favorite cryptomnesia story is about Aerosmith. This is in their heavy, heavy drug use days. I think they were recording Done With Mirrors, and their song, You See Me Crying comes on the radio. That song is an early ballad, it rarely got airplay, and the band never performed it in concert. So Steven Tyler hears it and says, “Hey, that’s a really great song, we should cover it!” to which Joe Perry replied, “That’s us, fuckhead!”.

I’m a little obsessed with cryptomnesia. There’s a story about it, and the writing of this book that I’ll share on the podcast….

I’m also fond of cryptomnesia’s distant cousins, false memory and the Mandela effect. Do you know jamais vu? That’s where something is recognizable, but still unfamiliar. I get this a lot. I’ll hear a word in my head like “plate”, then begin to doubt that word even exists. Presque vu : that’s were something is right on the tip of your tongue but you can’t quite push through that mental wall. We all know Deja Vu, but what about its Jekyll & Hyde neighbor, Déjà vécu. This is a feeling like you’ve already lived through something.

It doesn’t really matter if we finish the story of Vivien Villeneuve. It doesn’t really matter if we find out definitively what happened. The journey learning about the story is a story enough. Everything we do know about Vivian and Lysa and Debbie – broadly speaking – informs everything that came next. Confusion and uncertainty. Victim blaming. Struggling to make decisions, what to run down. What’s the right decision? Pieces of a puzzle that are missing. There are prescient pieces in that puzzle.

“It’s a poor sort of memory that only works backwards”

This is Who Killed Theresa.

The Villeneuve house at 11926 boulevard Pavillon in Pierrefonds, Montreal, Quebec. At Halloween, the witches caldron sat right at the foot of the lawn.

Category:

Tammy Leaky : un meurtre qui remonte à 39 ans

Tammy Leakey

C’est aujourd’hui le jour anniversaire du meurtre de Tammy Leaky. 

La jeune fille de 12 ans a disparu dans la soirée du 12 mars 1981, alors qu’elle se rendait à la demande de sa mère au dépanneur Chez Bert, dans le secteur Pointe-Saint-Charles de Montréal, pour acheter du lait, du café et des friandises.

Aux environs de 22 h 45 ce même soir, Ewig Tait, un homme de 73 ans, circulait sur la rue Lindsay dans le parc industriel de Dorval quand il aperçut « quelque chose en bordure de la route ». Ce qu’il prit d’abord pour des guenilles était en fait des vêtements. Après avoir immobilisé son véhicule, il fit la découverte du cadavre d’un enfant. Celui-ci était encore chaud. Une fois la police avertie, Tammy Leaky était transportée à l’Hôpital général de Lachine, où son décès fut constaté.

L’autopsie a révélé qu’elle avait été étranglée à l’aide d’un bout de corde ou de fil électrique. Pour plus d’information sur ce cas, consultez ici.

Nouveaux détails concernant le crime

Il peut être intéressant de noter que les tablettes de chocolat Mirage, de marque Nestlé, achetées par Tammy (une pour elle et une pour sa jeune sœur) ont été retrouvées, l’une dans le caniveau de la rue de Pointe-Saint-Charles où la jeune fille a été enlevée; l’autre dans ses vêtements sur la scène du crime.

On a beaucoup dit à l’époque que Tammy Leaky n’avait pas été agressée sexuellement. Cela est vrai si l’on part du principe qu’elle n’a pas été violée par voie vaginale. Mais il est indéniable qu’il s’agit d’un crime sexuel. Du sperme a été trouvé sur ses vêtements, dont des échantillons ont été envoyés au Laboratoire de sciences judiciaires de Montréal pour analyse. On ne peut que supposer que l’analyse d’ADN a donné des résultats et si les échantillons ont été préservés. Il serait souhaitable de contacter l’Unité des crimes non résolus du SPVM afin de vérifier si cet élément de preuve se trouve encore entre leurs mains.

Category:

39 years ago Tammy Leakey was murdered

Tammy Leakey

Today marks the 39th anniversary of the murder of Tammy Leakey.

The 12-year-old girl disappeared the evening of March 12th, 1981, when she was sent by her mother to a local depanneur, Chez Bert to buy milk for coffee and some candy bars in the Pointe Saint Charles neighborhood of Montreal.

At approximately 10:45 pm on the same evening,  73-year-old Ewing Tait was driving along Lindsay street in Dorval’s industrial park when he noticed “something in the field along side the road”.

What he first thought were rags was actually clothing. He stopped and discovered the body of a young child. The body was still warm. The police were notified, and Tammy Leakey was taken to the Lachine General Hospital. At the hospital she was pronounced dead on arrival.

The autopsy revealed that Tammy was strangled with a length of rope or electrical wire. You can read more about the case here: http://theresaallore.com/2016/03/24/coda-the-curious-case-of-tammy-leakey-march-12-1981/

New Crime Details

It may be of some interest that the candy Tammy bought at Chez Burt were Nestle Mirage chocolate bars (one for Tammy and one for her younger sister). One of the bars was found in the gutter of the Pointe Saint Charles street where she was abducted, the other was recovered from her clothing at the crime scene.

Mirage

Of greater importance; much was made at the time that Tammy Leakey wasn’t sexually assaulted. That is true in so far as she was not vaginally raped, but this was indeed a sex crime. Specimens of sperm were found on her clothing, and the samples were sent to the Montreal crime lab for further analysis.

Whether these DNA samples yielded results, and whether they survived after 39 years is anyone’s guess. Someone might want to contact the Montreal (SPVM) cold case unit, and see if they still have the evidence.

Category:

Highway of Tears – WKT4 / #4

Today we’re going to have a conversation with Gladys Radik and Jessica McDiarmid. Gladys is the aunt of Tamara Chipman, the 22-year old went missing from Prince Rupert, British Colombia in September 2005. Jessica is the author of Highway of Tears, A True Story of Racism, Indifference, and the Pursuit of Justice for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

Jessica McDiarmid, Highway of Tears

Tamara Chipman

The Province, November 24, 2005

Alberta Williams

Lana Derrick

Virginia Sampare

Ramona Wilson

Delphine Nikal

Roxanne Thiara

Immaculate Basil

Nicole Hoar

Aielah Saric Auger

Aleshia Germaine

Click here for the small interactive map I built on the principal victims discussed in Jessica’s book:




2005 Vancouver Province news article on Highway of Tears


Gladys Radyk


Jessica McDiarmid

Category:

Olympic Aftermath -October Crisis Part 3 / WKT4 #3




PODCAST NOTES:

This may seem a bit… weird.

What do I remember about the FLQ Crisis? Everything. Everything a six year old child would remember. Road blocks. Military check points. The names; Laporte, Cross, Bourassa, Choquette, Rose…

I found something recently. Something that may be instructive.

By the bye, this is our 100th podcast. Let’s celebrate. Let’s have some fun.

We’re going to take the long way home today, I’m going a ways out of the way until we eventually come back towards the end and finally talk about murder.

This is Who Killed Theresa?




I think of these things, I think of them a lot, I guess we all do, those of us that were growing up in Montreal in the late 60s and early 70s. I’ve told the story of receiving that medal, the Canada 150th medal for service. I was honored to receive it from my friend, Senator Pierre Boisvenu in the fall of 2018. The ceremony was held at the Black Watch armory just up from Sherbooke street on Bleury behind the Place des Arts. I doubt that it was lost on any of us that this was the same armory that the FLQ bombed on May 13th, 1963.

[ This is a new CTV W-5 documentary on the October Crisis: https://www.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=1762674 . ]

To tell you the truth, growing up, we weren’t really that aware of what was going on politically in Quebec in the fall of 1970. Theresa was turning 11, my brother was 10, I was 5 1/2. Truth is, that fall we were really into this:



The Partridge Family made its debut on CBC Montreal channel 6 on Monday, September 21st, 1970 and 8 p.m. We never had any interest in The Brady Bunch, right out of the starting gate we were a Partridge Family family, because for the most part the Bradys were wholesome where the Partridges were irreverent and funny. I went back recently and watched the first season – you can find it on Daily Motion. Fifty years later it still holds up. Laurie is wise and philosophical, an early feminist, always hanging out with intellectuals at some SolCal university. Danny Bonaduce – to this day – is flat-ass funny, his stuff with manager Reuben Kincaid still manages to be comic genius. Keith / David Cassidy may be the most remarkable cast member. Possessed with incredible talent – I still prefer the original opening which has him giving a bluesy feel to Common Get Happy – good looks, and still maintains a sense of humor, writers were pretty aware that Keith must never win in the series: he never gets the girl, never gets that part in the Hollywood screen test, is always bested by Laurie, and mainly by his nemesis Danny.

The Partridge Family in many respects was ground breaking, not only for depicting Shirley Jones as a single mother, but for its willingness to address social issues of the day.

David Cassidy and Richard Pryor

One example is the first season episode Soul Club guest staring Richard Pryor and Lou Gossett ( Richard Pryor you all know, Gossett you will recall recently from HBO’s Watchmen, he plays Will Reeves, who it is revealed was once Minutemen member Hooded Justice ). In the episode, there is a mixup that sends The Temptations to a gig in Arizona and the Partridges to a Motown club in Detroit ( ignore the mental math of that bus driving for 4 days ).



At the conclusion of the episode Danny is given a black beret and made an honorary member of the “Afro American Cultural Society”. Now back up a bit. Soul Club premiered in January of 1971. That means the show was filmed in the summer of 1970, when the younger cast members were off from school. So think of that context: in the summer of 1970, with revolution in the air, on the cusp of the FLQ crisis, Danny is made a member of The Black Panthers.

Danny Partridge marching with the “Afro American Cultural Society”


Of the FLQ’s relation to the Black Panthers, kidnappee James Cross had this to say:

“The kidnappers claimed to be Marxist/Anarchist but I could find no trace of deep intellectual thought of either of these movements…. There was a certain amount of influence from the various movements of the 1960’s which swept the United States, such as the… Black Panthers but I do not think they had any strong intellectual connections. “

I wouldn’t describe myself as a Partridge Family fanatic. To be honest, we didn’t like the music that much, or pretended we didn’t like it. We would have called it “sucky”, and Theresa was taking us into new musical territory; The Who’s Tommy, Pink Floyd, Janis Joplin ( which is really unfortunate because David Cassidy didn’t want to be doing that music either!). I own two pieces of PF memorabilia: one trading card, coincidentally from the Soul Club episode – it has Danny on the front and the lyrics to Bandala on the back- and the Milton Bradley Partridge Family board game ) At one time we owned the second album, Up To Date).

Which brings us to an interesting bit of trivia. My original podcast idea was not a true crime version of Who Killed Theresa, originally I was going to do a podcast with my daughters called Board Game. The idea was that every week, I would introduce this generation weaned on a diet of Nintendo and PS4 to a traditional 70s parlour game: Clue, Masterpiece, The Game of Life. The fun for them would be figuring out how to play the game. The fun for you, listener, would be the added monotony of listing to my daughters play something that was entirely visual: git it? Bored Game. Aren’t you glad I switched to true crime?

The idea never survived beyond the “pilot”, but that pilot – it’s never been aired – survives, and – as it happens – the inaugural board game was, in fact, the Milton Bradley Partridge Family Game. So here it is, an excerpt from Board Game:

The Partridge Family Milton Bradley board game

There’s a video I made from some home movies, I’ll post it on the website. It’s from the fall of 1970, two birthday parties – the second one being of my brother’s 10th birthday – and we look very much of the style / under the influence of The Partridge Family. Theresa’s in a Laurie Partridge macrame poncho, my behavior clearly influenced by Danny Bonaduce exuberance. My brother, not unlike Keith, especially his hair.



I bring this up because the 8mm movie was clearly shot in October 1970. That’s the date on the Kodak box, Theresa’s birthday, 1970. You can see those black and white posters we talked about in the last episode of Robert Kennedy and Pierre Trudeau. Here’s the thing. Theresa’s birthday is October 12th, so in that year it fell on a Monday. The way my parents did it, you had your birthday party on whatever Saturday fell closest to your birthday, so October 10th. This home movie was shot on the afternoon of Saturday, October 10th: the afternoon that Pierre Laporte was abducted from his front lawn while playing touch football with his nephew 20 miles away on Robitaille Street in Saint-Lambert.

October 10, 1970


Opening presents and eating birthday cake: that’s what we were doing during the October Crisis.

———————

The 1976 Montreal Olympics

What Quebec couldn’t achieve by violent means they now sought through a political solution. Six years later in the fall of 1976 René Lévesque’s fledgling Parti Québécois swept the Liberals from office, promising to take Quebec out of Canada through a province-wide referendum. But before the PQ victory, there was the last gasp of Mayor Jean Drapeau’s run of success – the 1976 Summer Olympics.

MONTREAL 1976 OLYMPIC GAMES – OPENING CEREMONY. JULY 19, 1976

As early as 1966 – even before the launch of Expo 67 – Drapeau had gone on a wooing expedition to IOC delegate nations to secure the 1972 Summer games. Montreal lost out to Munich, which may have been fortunate, imagine how that had turned out if what befell the Olympic village in Munich had unfolded in Montreal and the Dorval airport. In fact, as a result of the Black September Massacre, security at the Montreal games four years later was ultra-tight. It was all-hands-on-deck with federal, provincial, and local law enforcement agencies all pitching in – no one wanted a repeat of Munich, let alone a revisit of October 1970. Some of the players in my sister’s story lended to this effort. Robert Beullac – the private detective hired by my father to locate Theresa – and I believe Leo Hamel – the small town police chief from Lennoxville – both worked security detail for the 76 Summer Games. Even members of Quebec militia units such as the Sherbrooke Hussars joined the effort that summer.

Montreal Olympic security

1976 Olympic security

Things started as they always did with a Drapeau project; with the promise of greatness, then quickly spiraled out of control. By the fall of 1975 Montreal Mayor Drapeau realized that the debt for the Olympics would surpass $600 million dollars. Robert Bourassa and the province intervened to ensure the projected wouldn’t be cancelled, and that construction would be completed on time. Several cost-cutting measures were taken including the suspension of construction of the Olympic stadium tower and retractable roof ( those would come later).

Montreal Olympic security

Tickets went on sale in May, 1975, exclusively at Eaton’s department stores. I well remember accompanying my father to the downtown Eaton’s branch on Saint Catherines street to purchase tickets. I don’t know why he chose downtown, the Point Claire department store was certainly closer – perhaps he thought there would be better selection at the main branch. I remember an exceptionally long line, and we came out of there with tickets for rowing, the decathlon (yes we saw Bruce Jenner), and a quarter final football match (we saw East Germany beat France 4-0). This would have been on a Saturday, either the 10th or 17th. So it may well have occurred the eve-weekend before Diane Dery and Mario Corbeil were murdered 10 miles away across the Saint Lawrence in Longueuil on Tuesday, May 20th.

Eaton’s tickets advertised in The Montreal Gazette

The Olympic Lottery

Loterie Olympique Canada 1976

It’s often said that the Montreal Olympics are the reason there are lotteries in Canada. The history goes back further than that, and is another Drapeau innovation. In the spring of 1968 the mayor proposed a municipal lottery dubbed “Voluntax” to help pay for the swollen debt accrued from Expo 67. Montreal residents bought $2 tickets for a chance to win a $100,000 prize. The idea was so successful that it lead to a provincial initiative, Loto Quebec, which became the inspiration for all subsequent Canadian provincial lotteries.

1980s Loto Quebec ad


In 1974, with another Montreal world event facing yet another cash shortfall, the Canadian federal government – also, and again on the hook for Montreal’s financial missteps – looked to the lottery model. The Feds sold $10 tickets across the country for the chance to win a $1 million tax-free jackpot – the biggest lottery payout in the world at the time – and thereby raised $15 million for the Games.

Canadian game show host Jim Perry selling the Olympic Lottery



Not to be outdone with the spending frenzy, the Montreal police also got in on the act. Montreal MUC police spent what was then a whopping $48,000 on a mobile command unit that within a year was being described as a “white elephant”. In the spring of 1976 the police security council ordered what for all purposes was a mobile home from Campwagon, Ltd., a company outside Quebec City that specialized in building ambulances, with no experience in police security vehicles. According to a Campwagon official,



Everything was rushed and top secret. We had no idea what the mobile home was to be used for except that it played a part in Olympic security. Normally, a job like this should take six months, not two. The security council employee who contacted us insisted that only a Quebec company would get the contract.

The mobile command unit ended up being built in Owen Sound, Ontario, birth place of Canadian painter, Tom Thomson.

The 1993 SQ model of the Prevost mobile command unit

In the end, the mobile command vehicle only ever saw 30 days of service before being scrapped and auctioned off. By the time technicians installed 1,500 pounds of equipment, the truck was too heavy and bounced like a rocking chair when driven down the road.

The venues for the Olympics were scattered across the city. The main campus was located in Montreal’s east end at Sherbrooke street and Pie IX, this is where the stadium was constructed, location of the cycling velodrome, athletes’ village, and Olympic pool, with boxing and wrestling hosted at the nearby Maurice Richard Arena. Other venues included the canals from the Expo / Man and his World site for rowing, the Montreal Forum for gymnastics and basketball ( site of the Richard Riot), and the Paule Sauve Arena for volleyball ( where many a separatist rally was held) – you are never far from home.

Corridart

“Then there was like quiet and we were full of like hate, so smashed what was left to be smashed.”

Corridart Cross on Sherbrooke street

There was an arts component to the summer games, or at least that was the plan. Corridart was intended as a grand street fair stretching eight kilometers along Sherbrooke street from downtown Montreal to the site of the Olympic Stadium, filled with $400,000 worth of municipal and provincially commissioned art installations, musicians, and performance artists. Mayor Drapeau could have cared less. On the eve of the Olympics he did an evening car-tour of the project and found it decadent. In a move on par with the worst artistic repressions of the Soviet and Nazi eras, Drapeau ordered the installation destroyed. On the night of July 13, 1976 municipal workers supervised by the Montreal police ripped down the works of some of the city’s best known artists and had it carted to the junk heap. Writing in the Village Voice, Annette Kuhn called it “The Rape of Sherbrooke”, “an orgy of municipally sponsored vandalism”.

Corridart documentary

Despite his even-tempered, milquetoast appearance, Drapeau was a bit of a puritanical hot-head (he was once described by an opponent as a combination of Walt Disney and Al Capone). It’s worth remembering that his rise to success in the early 1950s was largely backed by conservative nationalist Premier Maurice Duplessis. He ordered the partial clear-cutting of the park at the top of Mount Royal because he had heard stories of homosexual encounters in the woods. Both Expo 67 and the Olympics gave way to “slum clearance” initiatives and urban renewal. He loved skyscrapers and shopping malls. He was not above advocating for highways and boulevards running through residential neighborhoods simply because he disliked the local representative. Drapeau would have felt perfectly at home in Robert Moses’ urban world, and at odds with Jane Jacobs’ The Death and Life of Great American Cities.

Avec «Les maisons de la rue Sherbrooke», Melvin Charney place un simulacre de résidences victoriennes devant un terrain laissé vacant.


Corridart presented none-too-subtle reminders to Drapeau that not all of his great civic endeavors were appreciated. Among the artworks deemed “ugly” by Monsieur Le Maire was Melvin Charney’s “Les maisons de la rue Sherbrooke”, consisting of a scaffolded facade of Victorian homes erected in front of a vacant lot. Another artwork was simply a giant cross – similar to the one at the top of Mount Royal – laying on its side, suggesting it was in need of a rest.

Jean Drapeau

Drapeau eventually received his comeuppance. Three months after the closing ceremonies Rene Levesque’s Parti-Quebecois swept into power, assuming control of the Quebec provincial government, and immediately launching a full-scale public inquiry into the Olympics, and Montreal’s municipal administration. ( Despite the fact that two years earlier there had already been a Montreal construction inquiry. You’ll recall some of this from last summer’s podcast, Downward Spiral – L’Affaire Matticks and the Poitras Commission – There are more details in that broadcast: The Malouf Commission looked into the billion dollar-plus cost overrun, but somehow Drapeau managed to survive and win the 1978 election). The Parti-Quebecois later passed a law forcing Montreal taxpayers to shoulder $200 million of Olympic debt (Drapeau had once famously stated that the Olympics, “can no more lose money than a man can have a baby.” )

Ello Morgentaler?

To this day Montreal’s Olympic Stadium is none-too-affectionately referred to as The Big O or Big OWE. Translation = the amount the public had to ultimately shill out for the event. The $1.5-billion price tag for the 1976 Olympic Games was finally laid to rest thirty years later when the last debt payment was made in 2006.

Montreal Olympic Stadium and Veladrome as it looked in 1976

Jean Drapeau would survive as mayor for another decade. He lost the election in 1986, and left office largely in disgrace. In interviews and speeches Drapeau characterized his opponent, Jean Dore as a Communist and a separatist. Reacting to this, and in a reference to Duplessis once blaming the Trois Rivieres bridge collapse on Communist operatives, Paul-Andre Comeau wrote in Le Devoir, “One has the impression of returning 30 or 35 years into the past, to the era when, to explain why a bridge collapsed, one dreamed up a sober plot led by agents from the East.”

Trudeau and Levesque

The reign of Rene Levesque and his Parti Quebecois was short lived. By 1980 it appeared Pierre Trudeau’s tenure as Prime Minister of Canada seemed to be over. Levesque’s old rival had lost to Joe Clark in the election of 1979, but then the Conservatives were breathlessly swept from office in a vote of no-confidence. With this abrupt change in fortune, the Liberals were left leaderless, and asked Trudeau to come back and lead the party. At the same time, Rene Levesque unwisely hastened his Quebec independence referendum. The province-wide question on Quebec separation took place on Tuesday, May 20, 1980. But the campaigning had begun months before, right in the midst of Trudeau’s Federal election to power. Levesque’s hope for an independent Quebec was doomed from the start, and the question failed by a vote of 60% against separation and 40% in favour. Levesque’s final defeat would come in 1981 in the Ottawa chapter known as “The Night of Long Knives”, but that’s a story that will need to wait for another day.

Vos Voisins

From a friend: Paroles / Mon Chum:

10,000 castors entre toé pi moé mon chum ta rien a craindre moé j’mange mon blé – d’inde mon chum t’as l’air du bon dieu moé j’ai l’air d’un gru mon chumla grosse Maple Leafs entre toé pi moé mon chum


mais fait attention j’men vient chez nous a Oka mon chum même si j’sort de Kanawaké , mais fait attention cette tête là c’est pas le Canada


Cent milles caisses de bières entre toé pi moé mon chumpour toé sa flotte pour moé j’suis de la crotte mon chum tes en bâteau moé je calle dans l’eau mon chum


mais fait attention a mon bazouka moé j’vient de Kanawaké , ont vient du même pommier mon chumtu vas tomber pi moé je vais te pousser , fait attention mon chum chacun son tour .

———————–

Much of the research for this three part series on The October Crisis came from this fantastic Donald Brittain / National Film Board of Canada three part documentary on Pierre Trudeau and René Lévesque, The Champions:

https://www.nfb.ca/film/champions_part_1/

https://www.nfb.ca/film/champions_part_2/

https://www.nfb.ca/film/champions_part_3/

Category:

“Laporte est mort” / October Crisis Part 2 – WKT4 #2



NOTES from the podcast:

Growing up in Pierrefonds, Montreal, we used to have these two, large black and white posters hanging in our unfinished basement. One was of Robert Kennedy, the other Pierre Elliot Trudeau. This was at the end of the 1960s, my mother had totally bought into Trudeaumania. There was never a poster of that other Quebec political rock star, Rene Levesque.

I’m going to run straight to the punchline. There were two kidnapping, and one was fatal. In October 1970 the Quebec FLQ terrorist group – the Front de libération du Québec – first abducted British trade commissioner James Cross. They then went after Quebec Minister of Labour and Deputy Premiere, Pierre Laporte. Under captivity, Laporte was murdered and his body later found in the trunk of an abandoned car at the Saint Hubert airport.

This is Who Killed Theresa.

The FLQ was founded in 1963, but up to that time there had already been considerable revolutionary and terrorist activity in Quebec and throughout the world – in Cuba, the United States, Ireland, South America, Africa, Continental Europe….

In March 1963, someone unbolted the statue of James Wolfe in Quebec City – British hero who defeated the French at the Plains of Abraham in 1759. Wolfe toppled from his pedestal, smashing into pieces, and it all went downhill from there.

Beginning with Molotov cocktails and then eventually graduating to dynamite bombings, the FLQ waged guerrilla warfare against English institutions in Quebec throughout the 1960s. Targets included armories and military recruitment centers, the federal railroad system, the department of revenue, mailboxes in English residential sectors of Montreal, the Montreal Stock Exchange, the Queen Elizabeth Hotel, and the home of Montreal Mayor Jean Drapeau.

—————————-

FLQ Mailbox bomb


Long before Cross and Laporte there had been at least six fatalities, most being ordinary citizens – secretaries and shop keepers going about their business – beginning with the April 1963 death of night watchman Wilfred O’Neil, who was killed when a bomb exploded outside an army recruiting station.

James Cross

Rather than explaining all subsequent events, it might be best to hear the story of the October Crisis from the one hostage who managed to survive the grueling affair. The following are excerpts from James Cross’ account of events – with some additional notes for clarification – from a taped interview conducted in 1996 at Churchill College, Cambridge:

“October 5th was a typical bright Montreal Autumn day. My wife and I were facing a busy week with a number of important engagements including a visit from the President of the Confederation of British Industries for whom we were organising certain functions and we were discussing the week ahead as I walked between the bedroom and the bathroom dressing, I heard a ring of the doorbell and was surprised that anybody would arrive that early in the morning. My wife suggested that it was probably Hydro Quebec come to read the meter so I took no further notice. I then heard raised voices but did not pay much attention as our maid was inclined to speak loudly sometimes to her small child. The next thing I knew was as I was walking back towards the bathroom dressed only in shirt and underpants. A man came through from the opposite side holding a gun and said, ‘Get down on the floor or you’ll be fucking dead‘. I backed into the bedroom lay on the floor and he then made me turn over onto my face and puts handcuffs on me. Our Dalmatian dog was sitting on the bed beside my wife and started to growl and he told her that if she let the dog move he would shoot it. He then called out another man who came up the stairs into the bedroom carrying a sub machine gun and shepherding the maid and her daughter in front of them. The first man then took me into the dressing room beyond the bathroom put my trousers on and shoes and slipped a jacket over my shoulders. He then led me back through the bedroom. My wife said “you must let me say goodbye to my husband” and came over and kissed me goodbye. They tore the phones out of the sockets beside the bed and told my wife that she must not phone anybody for an hour. I was then taken downstairs where there was a third man also armed. We went out through the front door and there was a taxi sitting outside the house. The only other person I could see was a gardener collecting leaves on the far side of the road. I was pushed into the taxi and shoved down between the front and back seats and a rug thrown over my head. “

James Cross home on Redpath crescent

“Then we drove for about five to ten minutes and stopped in what was clearly some sort of garage or workshop. I was taken out, made to stand against the wall with my eyes closed and a gas mask with the eye pieces painted black was placed over my head. I was then taken back and pushed into another car in the same position between the seats and we drove for possibly fifteen to twenty minutes. We finally drew up in what was clearly the garage of a house. I was taken out, led upstairs the handcuffs were transferred from behind my back to the front and I was put lying down on a mattress in a room where I was to spend the next fifty nine days. My gas mask was removed and a hood placed on my head. I asked them what their intentions were and they said I would have to wait and see. Later that morning they read me their manifesto which included the demands for the release of political prisoners etc. as had been demanded for Harrison Burgess. If these demands were not met I would be executed within forty eight hours. On hearing this I said, “In that case I must compose myself for death.” During the whole day the radio was on most of the time and they were listening avidly to the various reports coming in. Sometime later in the day following a call to a radio station, messages from the kidnappers were found at the University of Montreal. These listed seven demands to be met “In order to preserve the life of the representative of the ancient racist and colonialist British system”. It gave the authorities until noon on Wednesday i.e. forty eight hours to submit. That afternoon the Quebec Justice Minister made a statement outlying the ransom demands. These, as I have mentioned, were similar to those for Harrison Burgess early in the summer included the release of twenty three “political prisoners”, the provision of an aircraft for their transportation to Cuba or Algeria, five hundred thousand dollars in gold bars, the reinstatement of some postal drivers who had been dismissed as a result of privatisation, the name of the informer who had helped the police apprehend the earlier cell, the publication of the full text of the FLQ manifesto and the cessation of all police activities. “

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War Measures Act Invoked

“The next few days presented a picture of some confusion; I think it took authorities in both Quebec and Ottawa a little longer to recognise the seriousness of the demands and in the first instance it appeared that the Quebec Government were taking the lead with Prime Minister Trudeau refusing to answer questions on the subject. In spite of this the premier Bourassa announced that he was carrying on with a business promotion visit to New York on the Thursday and Friday. On the Tuesday evening a message was delivered to a radio station which contained a personal letter from me to my wife and repeating the demands that the FLQ requests be met in full otherwise, “we will not hesitate to do away with J Cross.” On Wednesday there was a further communication from the FLQ including one from me dictated of course by them, asking that their demands should be met. There was still no clear response from either Quebec or Federal Governments. On Thursday the first step was taken when the FLQ manifesto, a crude polemic attacking every institution in Canada and Quebec and abuse for politicians such as Trudeau and Bourassa was read by a po-faced announcer on Radio Canada’s television network. “

FLQ Manifesto

“On Friday [ October ] 9th the Minister of Justice asked for my kidnappers to provide proof that I was still alive and well and a letter containing the message which I had been asked to sign was delivered to a radio station. Saturday the tenth, Choquette the Justice Minister of Quebec came on television and radio just before 6:00pm and said that the kidnappers’ demands would not be met but they offered to provide them with safe conduct to a foreign country in return for my release. He also promised to examine the cases of those “political” prisoners to see if parole or remission of sentence would be justified. During the whole of this week my condition had been static. After the first day or two I was allowed to sit in an armchair for most of the day but still handcuffed. My hood was adjusted so that I could watch television during part of the day although I never saw my captors. Arrangements were made for me to be provided with some pills for my blood pressure for which my wife had appealed on television. The television and radio were on constantly and members of the group were frequently going out to bring back newspapers which they read avidly for news of their exploits. “

Pierre Laporte

“After Mr Choquette had made his statement I asked them what they were going to do with me . They replied that they were going to hold me for a few days “pour baver la police”, to taunt the police. In a few minutes the news came on radio that [ on Saturday, October 10th ] Pierre Laporte the Minister of Labour and Deputy Prime Minister of the Quebec Government had been kidnapped. He had been playing football outside his house with a young nephew when four men drove up in a car, bundled him into it and drove off. This changed the whole situation for whereas I was a virtually unknown foreign diplomat, Pierre Laporte had been a major figure in Quebec politics for the past twenty years. All attention was now focused on his fate. “

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is unnamed-6.jpg

“The next week was then concentrated on the cell holding Pierre Laporte. On the Sunday there were three communications from the cell including in the evening a long letter from Laporte to Bourassa drawing attention to the number of people who were depending on him and urging that the kidnappers’ demands be met. It’s well to point out here that all public messages by either Laporte or me were dictated by the kidnappers and accepted as the only means of communication with the outside world. On the Monday morning a letter from me was discovered and the Government then proceeded to open negotiations through an intermediary named Demers. The next few days saw an astonishing rise in support for the FLQ’s demands coming not only from old FLQ militants but also from students and the trade unions. On Wednesday October 14th a message from my cell was found indicating that contact had been made between the two and that their joint demands were that the prisoners should be sent to Cuba or Algeria and thereafter Cross and Laporte would be freed. The same day there came an appeal from a number of leading Quebec figures including publishers and labour leaders. While offering their support to the provincial Government they clearly favoured an exchange of prisoners for the hostages. On Thursday 15th [ Prime Minister Pierre ] Trudeau met with opposition leaders to seek a solution to the situation. He got no general support and on that evening troops were called out in support of the forces of law and order in Quebec. At this point they were only carrying out guard duties and protection in support of the police. That evening there was a rally at the Paul Sauvé Arena. “

Trudeau invokes the War Measures Act

This was originally organised by the opposition party in the civic elections but was taken over by a large number of FLQ supporters including LaMieux the lawyer negotiating for the FLQ, Michel Chartrand a leading nationalist labour leader and several well known FLQ supporters. I was watching the event on television and it did seem at that point as if a very large number of people in Montreal were supporting the aims and objectives of the FLQ. In the early hours of Friday morning (the 16th) the government passed the War Measures Act which, for the first time in peace-time, imposed a state of war in Canada. “



“Immediately a large number of FLQ sympathisers and supporters were rounded up together with a number of other people whose connection with the movement was to say the least slight. Friday evening Trudeau came on television and said that the Government would not give in to these demonstrations and attempts by a small group to force its will on the majority by violence. We were listening to this on television and immediately after he’d finished I heard the woman in the group (presumably Louise Cassett Trudel) say, “Laporte est mort”, Laporte is dead.”

Funeral of Pierre Laporte


“The following day was reasonably quiet with no great activity that I could see. Then in the late evening watching television, news came in that there was something strange happening at St Hubert Airport to the east of Montreal. Shortly afterwards one began to see the television cameras arriving on the scene. In the early hours of the morning the trunk of a car which was parked there was broken open to reveal the body of Pierre Laporte. It was then revealed that a telephone call to a radio station earlier in the evening had given this news. Thus the journalists arrived almost as soon as the police. The rest of that evening or early morning was chaotic. Shortly after the announcement that Laporte’s body had been found there was an announcement that my body had been found at Rawdon near Quebec. This was naturally an appalling piece of news since I feared that my wife might be watching. I wanted to get up and shake the television set and scream “I’m not dead! I’m not dead!”. Finally I think even my captors took pity on me and gave me some aspirin or something to calm me down. The following morning they allowed me to write a letter to my wife. “

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Before we continue the rest of the story I might describe the conditions under which I was held during the first week. As I mentioned I began by being handcuffed then after a day or so these were changed that two handcuffs linked together with cloth to avoid them fraying my wrists were attached. I was allowed to sit in an arm chair for most of the day and watch television or listen to the radio or read news papers. While these conditions were not terrible onerous it was clear that there were other measures to be taken if I should prove recalcitrant. For example, there were bolts fitted to the floor which could be used to chain me down and there were all the implements for gagging and other methods of restraint. Accordingly I decided that the only way to survive 8 was to go along with the kidnappers and obey their orders.

James Cross

“The next six weeks were into a fairly steady routine. The first few days there was the drama of Pierre Laporte’s funeral and the surrounding interest and excitement. Also reports of the various police raids and arrests of those suspected of FLQ sympathies. Mayor Drapeau fought his municipal election and swept the opposition (suspected of FLQ sympathy) from the field. My own position sank into one of inertia. The kidnappers refused to discuss their next moves with me but one evening I heard a number of them talking in another room and one returned to give my guard the news. I could not hear the full gist of his statement but I clearly heard the word ‘indefinitely’. The routine was that I usually got up about 10 in the morning, was allowed to wash and go to the lavatory, sometimes to shave although the woman in the party was reluctant to allow me to do so. Then I returned to sit in the chair facing the television set and spent the rest of the day there. I would either read, watch television when they had it on, listen to the radio or play innumerable games of Patience. Another means of occupying my mind was to go over holidays or things I had done in the past, for example, I began to retrace in my mind the walk of about three quarters of a mile which I used to take to school as a small boy. In the beginning I could barely remember the details, but after a few weeks I could probably have described every blade of grass on the route. Food usually consisted of toast and coffee in the morning, two pieces of toast, one with peanut butter. In the evening there was some sort of a mess, sometimes soup sometimes a Chinese meal or some sort of mess up. The food was not very adequate and in fact I lost 22lbs in my eight weeks incarceration. After the excitements and dramas of the first two weeks in captivity culminating in the terrible night when Laporte’s body was found the remaining six weeks were very much a period of stagnation. I followed the same routine getting up late watching television, reading or playing patience during the day and going to bed very late at night after the last television programme had finished. My selection of reading was a curious mixture, on the one hand there were the revolutionary manuals such as Valliere’s on the wrongs of the French Canadians, ‘The Wretched of the Earth’ by Franz Fanon the Algerian psychologist who was a guru of the Algerian revolution and a few miscellaneous works on the revolutionaries of the 1960’s. On the other hand there was a very good selection of early Agatha Christies in French and it was surprising how good many of them were to read again. One curious book they supplied me with was an early work by Jules Verne about the French Canadian patriots of 1837. I believe that, in addition, to his science fiction work he also went through an anti-British period when he wrote works about British imperialism in Canada, India and Ireland.”

The Wretched of the Earth, Frantz Fanon

“In the first two weeks I had been interested in their political ideas and their objectives and we had had a certain amount of discussion but after La Porte’s death I felt that I no longer wanted to pursue these subjects and we really sank into our two solitudes. The great problem throughout was that I never knew what was going on behind me and it would have been a disaster for me to have turned my head and seen any of my captors. This was sometimes very difficult to avoid if a sudden noise happened behind me or somebody spoke to me. The only major events of those weeks were first an occasion when they sat me on a box (supposedly containing dynamite) took certain pictures of me which were later released to the press together with a letter from me (dictated of course by them) and a letter to my wife. It caused rather an unpleasant incident with my captors because they had spelt the words prisoners in English with two N’s (as in French) and I had not corrected it. The press took this up as suggesting that I was trying to pass some sort of code message. As, of course, I was being held in north Montreal it could have been an attempt to convey information but, of course, I had no idea where I was. Following press commentary on this they were quite hostile to me for a couple of days, practically the only occasion on which any really nasty incidents arose.

Jules Verne’s Famille Sans-Nom, about the 1837 Lower-Canada Rebellion. The 1978 edition added the text, “Pour le Quebec Libre”.

” I’d already adjusted my mind to getting through the period up to Christmas and was beginning to think that I might possibly have to last through the whole winter. At the beginning of December there seemed to be a little more activity around with people coming and going and discussions about the amount of money they had which suggested that they were finding it difficult to keep going. “

Cuban Pavilion at Man and his World

Premier Robert Bourassa at the Laporte funeral

“The 2nd December was a day much as usual. I noticed that there did not seem to be so many people around but this was not unusual as they sometimes left for a few hours. This evening they came and put handcuffs on me which was the first time this had happened for a number of weeks. I asked what had happened and they told me that the police knew where I was and had arrested two of their comrades who had gone out during the day and not returned. Later that evening all the lights in the apartment went off and at that I was taken from my chair, led into the passageway between the rooms and handcuffed to a door handle. In this extremely uncomfortable position where I could neither sit nor stand I spent the rest of the night. They clearly expected an attack during the night and on one occasion began to compose a message of defiance to be thrown out of the window. When they had finished drafting this somebody said, “We must add our slogan ‘nous vaincrons'” meaning ‘we shall win’. At that absurdity of three men defying the whole of the Canadian security services we all burst out laughing. Dawn came. I was allowed to stand up and move around the corridor. They remained on the alert. At some time in the morning the negotiator appointed by the Federal Government, Mr Mergler, a lawyer who had represented FLQ members in the past, came and knocked on the door. There was considerable dismantling as they had wired the door with explosives against attack. He came in and as his first question asked me the name of the bull terrier we had when living in Delhi. This had been agreed by my wife as a codeword. Interestingly enough the full title of the story from which the name is drawn is “Garm a hostage”. Then followed two hours of negotiation. The government proposal was that we should all go to the EXPO site where a building had been designated as the Cuban consulate for the day. I would remain there under the supervision of the Cuban Consul while the kidnappers and their families were flown to Cuba. As soon as they arrived in Cuba I would be released. They were extremely suspicious of all this and suggested that as soon as they got outside the building they would be mowed down. Mr Mergler and I pointed out that they could hardly do this if I was among them. Finally they agreed and towards 1:00pm we went down into the basement and climbed into the battered old car in which I presume I had arrived two months before. The back of the car was covered in newspaper to prevent a shot being taken. I got in the back with Lanctot and Carbonneau the taxi driver and Seguin were in the front. Carbonneau was extremely nervous and as we drove out of the garage scraped the wing of the car. When we got outside into the bright sunlight it was an astonishing sight with hundreds of police and soldiers lining the streets. Mergler climbed into the front of the car and we started this terrific ride behind police outsiders across Montreal. The back door of the car was shaky and at time as we went round corners I was worried that Lanctot would fall out so I hung on to him. Finally we crossed the long bridge to the Expo site, pulled up outside the then designated Cuban Consulate. Bill Ashford, my information colleague, was there waiting for me and we went into the building. I turned to one side, my kidnappers to the other and I never saw them again. I had to remain in the Consulate then until about midnight. I first t a l k e d t o m y wife in Switzerland an d t h e n t o t h e H i g h Commissioner in Ottawa. I spoke later to Mr Trudeau and to Mr B o u r a s s a t h e P r i m e M i n i s t e r o f Q u e b e c . “

“F o o d a r r i v e d , unfortunately nobody had thought to provide any drink, a great deprivation after two months without alcohol. At 6:00 the kidnappers left; their families having been collected at the airport, and then Mr Chauquette (the Minister of Justice) arrived, then my daughter came, then later in the evening Mr Bourassa the Prime Minister. I stayed there until midnight when I was driven to the Jewish General Hospital (my GP was a consultant there) where I was weighed, tested and spent a peaceful night. The following day I had further tests, then a long session with the police recording my impressions of the kidnappers and went to the office to see the staff. On Saturday morning early we drove to the airport and I made a short speech before flying to England together with my daughter. On the plane I gave a long description of the whole affair to Jim Davy – one of Mr Trudeau’s aids but alas he had failed to switch his tape recorder on. When we landed at London my wife came on board to meet us and we descended to meet the press. After a brief interview we went by car to Dorney Wood, the Foreign Secretary’s country residence where we spent a quiet weekend. “

——————————

Two days before Christmas, December 23rd, 1970 Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau announces that all troops stationed in the province will be withdrawn from Quebec by January 5, 1971.



On December 28th the three members of the Chenier Cell still at large, Paul RoseJacques Rose, and Francis Simard, are arrested after being found hiding in a tunnel in a Saint Luc rural farming community 20 miles south east of Montreal. Later they would be charged with the kidnapping and murder of Pierre Laporte.

Paul Rose had been vacationing in the United States in the fall of 1970 when he got word that James Cross had been kidnapped. He quickly cut short his vacation and hurried back to Montreal, and basically improvised the abduction of Pierre Laporte. The versions of Laporte’s death have changed over the years. At once, it was deemed an accident, they “accidentally” strangled Laporte with the religious chain around his neck when he tried to escape. Later Rose and Simard basically fell over themselves claiming they had murdered Laporte, and would gladly do it again. Still later, Rose claimed that the murder was the result of frustration after authorities had cut off communication between the FLQ cells. In this version Rose blamed the establishment for Laporte’s death.

House where Laporte was held at
 5630 Armstrong Street, three blocks from the crime scene of Diane Dery and Mario Corbeil


The outcomes from the October Crisis have always been unresolved and less than satisfactory. What did anyone learn? Jacques Trudel and his wife Louise Lanctôt negotiated safe passage to Cuba and lived there for 4 years. In 1977 Rene Levesque announced he was seeking a pardon for Trudel and Lanctot. They returned to Montreal in 1978. For the kidnapping of James Cross they received five years on probation; they served two. Trudel became a successful screenwriter and filmmaker, receiving financial assistance from Téléfilm Canada.

Parti Quebecois leader Rene Levesque the evening of the Laporte assassination.

For the murder of Pierre Laporte, Francis Simard was given a life sentence, but was paroled in 1982. Jacques Rose served even less time, he was paroled in 1978. At the 1981 Parti Quebecois convention Jacques Rose was given a standing ovation, Levesque shook his head in disgust, never wanting his party controlled by extreme voices. Paul Rose served 13 years. By the mid-eighties he was out, attempting to resume his teaching career in Montreal. Rose applied for work at an elementary school just blocks from where Pierre Laporte’s widow was living.

In a 1978 interview with Photo Police Paul Rose was without remorse:

“I regret nothing: 1970, the abductions, the prison, the suffering, nothing. I did what I had to do. Placed before the same circumstances today, I would do exactly the same thing. I will never deny what I did and what happened. It was not a youthful indiscretion. “

My experience is that you cannot remain agnostic about the events of October 1970, people in Quebec expect you to take a side. My own thoughts have evolved over the years, I am now a long way from that basement in the West Island of Montreal with those black and white posters.

There’s a sketch comedy series in Quebec called Bye-Bye. It’s a year-end New Year’s Eve round up of funny skits that summarize events of the previous year. Bye Bye 1970 is memorable for the sublime bit, Olivier Guimond a Westmount – I’ll post it on the website. Guimond was a tremendously gifted physical comedian – think Charlie Chaplin.

The sketch opens outside an affluent home on New Years Eve, Guimond dressed as an army officer standing watch on the front entrance. It’s snowing… he’s cold, he’s bored. Glancing at his watch he calls into his supervisor.

“Hello Chef? It’s Corporal Olivier. Yes, I’m still at Westmount. Chef? Can you call my family and wish them happy new year? And my little ones two, eh… Merci Chef. “

Then out stumbles the rich, english owner of the manor, drunk and dressed in a dishevelled tuxedo. His wife urges him to come back inside, it’s too cold:

“No, no… I want a chat with him”

“With HIM??? Oohhh!”

In very bad french he offers Guimond a nip from his bottle of scotch. Some physical comedy follows, some funny stumbling from getting drunk. The english millionaire asks the french soldier guarding his home where he’s from:

“Saint Henri.”

“Where is it?”

“just en bas. Direct en bas” ( he points down)

“Oh yes, right down there.”

“There’s no light down there…”

At the end of the sketch Mr. English returns to his safe, warm home, and Mr. Quebecois continues his sentry – protecting Mr. English – in the evening cold. Guilmond carries the skit with such a spirit of humanity, never has the Quebecois condition in the 1970s been expressed quite so eloquently.

This is Who Killed Theresa?



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Olivier Guimond

James Cross speaks after two months in captivity:





Robin Spry’s 1973 NFB documentary – Action: The October Crisis of 1970:





Robert Charlebois et Louise Forestier – Lindburg:





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