I Don’t Get It

The trial of Guy Croteau begins with more questions than answers

After languishing in a Quebec jail cell for nearly two years, Guy Croteau has finally gone to trial for the 1987 murder of Sophie Landry.

The arrest of Croteau is a text book example of the Surete du Quebec’s ability to do good police work – when they are motivated to do so. Laundry’s semi-nude body was found face up in a cornfield near St. Roch L’Achigan, about 25 km North of Montreal. She had been stabbed 173 times.

Let me say that again,

She had been stabbed one hundred and seventy-three times.

As if that wasn’t overkill, her assailant apparently drove over her body repeatedly with an automobile.

Someone had some issues.

The 16-year-old Landry had also been raped. Sperm samples were taken from her body during her autopsy.

Now here’s the good police work part; unlike some Surete investigators who have a preponderance for disposing of evidence (see Allore or Dube), detectives assigned to the Landry case remarkably kept the samples of sperm for 14 years.

Forteen-years later police picked up Guy Croteau for a series of abductions and sexual assaults in the Longueuil area of Montreal. From his m.o. Croteau appeared to be nothing more than a serial rapists with a remote possiblilty of developing into a more violent criminal. Nevertherless, when investigators ran Croteau’s DNA through a check with samples on file for past crimes, Croteau came up as a match on the unsolved Landry case. He was subsequently arrested on February 13th 2002 for 14-year-old murder.

Now for the troubling part.

Croteau stands accused of just one murder. After the Landry trial he will go to court for the series of Longueuil rapes. That’s it. No more murders.

I have a hard time believing Croteau committed only one murder: he stabbed someone 173 times, it is unusually for someone to begin to kill at such an heightened level of violence. At the same time, what’s to explain Croteau’s behaviour after the Landry murder? His actions would suggests that after committing such an excessive crime he settled into the life of a rather ho-hum serial rapist. I don’t get it?

Apparently neither do the police. In a 2002 article in the Journal de Montreal about the Surete du Quebec’s profiling unit, investigators referred to Guy Croteau as a bona fide serial killer, comparing him to the likes of William Fyfe and Angelo Colalillo. Now looks are deceiving, but the 47-year-old Croteau’s appearance is down right spooky. Take a look at these 10 photos from the Surete du Quebec’s website; the guy has that Bundy-esque shape-shiftiness down cold.

There is little doubt the Surete du Qubec believe Croteau is responsible for other murders; the post on their website is an out-and-out call for victims to come forward and start pointing fingers. But in the nearly two years Croteau was sitting in prison apparenty investigators couldn’t make anything stick.

So there you have it: Guy Croteau – the serial killer without any series. Stay tuned, I’m sure we’ll be hearing more from this one.

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MONDAY, FEBRUARY 09, 2004

I Don’t Get It

The trial of Guy Croteau begins with more questions than answers

After languishing in a Quebec jail cell for nearly two years, Guy Croteau has finally gone to trial for the 1987 murder of Sophie Landry.

The arrest of Croteau is a text book example of the Surete du Quebec’s ability to do good police work – when they are motivated to do so. Laundry’s semi-nude body was found face up in a cornfield near St. Roch L’Achigan, about 25 km North of Montreal. She had been stabbed 173 times.

Let me say that again,

She had been stabbed one hundred and seventy-three times.

As if that wasn’t overkill, her assailant apparently drove over her body repeatedly with an automobile.

Someone had some issues.

The 16-year-old Landry had also been raped. Sperm samples were taken from her body during her autopsy. 

Now here’s the good police work part; unlike some Surete investigators who have a preponderance for disposing of evidence (see Allore or Dube), detectives assigned to the Landry case remarkably kept the samples of sperm for 14 years.

Forteen-years later police picked up Guy Croteau for a series of abductions and sexual assaults in the Longueuil area of Montreal. From his m.o. Croteau appeared to be nothing more than a serial rapists with a remote possiblilty of developing into a more violent criminal. Nevertherless, when investigators ran Croteau’s DNA through a check with samples on file for past crimes, Croteau came up as a match on the unsolved Landry case. He was subsequently arrested on February 13th 2002 for 14-year-old murder.

Now for the troubling part.

Croteau stands accused of just one murder. After the Landry trial he will go to court for the series of Longueuil rapes. That’s it. No more murders.

I have a hard time believing Croteau committed only one murder: he stabbed someone 173 times, it is unusually for someone to begin to kill at such an heightened level of violence. At the same time, what’s to explain Croteau’s behaviour after the Landry murder? His actions would suggests that after committing such an excessive crime he settled into the life of a rather ho-hum serial rapist. I don’t get it?

Apparently neither do the police. In a 2002 article in the Journal de Montreal about the Surete du Quebec’s profiling unit, investigators referred to Guy Croteau as a bona fide serial killer, comparing him to the likes of William Fyfe and Angelo Colalillo. Now looks are deceiving, but the 47-year-old Croteau’s appearance is down right spooky. Take a look at these 10 photos from the Surete du Quebec’s website; the guy has that Bundy-esque shape-shiftiness down cold.

There is little doubt the Surete du Qubec believe Croteau is responsible for other murders; the post on their website is an out-and-out call for victims to come forward and start pointing fingers. But in the nearly two years Croteau was sitting in prison apparenty investigators couldn’t make anything stick. 

So there you have it: Guy Croteau – the serial killer without any series. Stay tuned, I’m sure we’ll be hearing more from this one.

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ROBERT PICKTON

The following is courtesy of Fox News. I am loath to admit it, but Fox has a valid point:

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — The more Canadian police dig underneath a pig farm east of Vancouver, British Columbia (search), the more death they unearth.

Over the past two years, police have discovered the partial remains of 31 women, making it the country’s worst serial killer case.

“This is supposedly the good and peaceable kingdom … Canada,” said criminologist/sociologist Bob Ratner. “It’s getting increasingly difficult to think of Canada as some kind of sanctuary from those crimes.”

Farm owner Robert Willy Pickton (search) faces 22 counts of murder so far. His alleged victims are all prostitutes from downtown Vancouver’s east side.

The details of the murders are unbelievably gruesome. Police found human body parts in freezers used to store unsold meat. They also discovered remains in a wood chipper (search) — the victims’ bodies turned into pig feed. But most Canadians don’t know any of this horrifying evidence because the country’s media has been barred from reporting it.

“Canadians are trying to protect the integrity of the criminal justice system, protect people’s reputation against encroachment, against jury taint,” said Mary Lynn Young, an assistant journalism professor at the University of British Columbia (search).

But experts warn that Canada’s coverage ban has a dangerous flip side — shielding the public from the details of the case also protects the police from critical scrutiny and has the public wondering why it took so long for the women to be found.

Pickton is scheduled to appear in court in June and a trial date may be set at that time.

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UNIVERSITY OF SASKATCHEWAN

A victory and some notes of caution

News that the University of Saskatchewan administration had agreed to conduct an independent audit of that school’s campus security was seen as a great victory by the victims and supporters who worked so hard to initiate this change. Students have a right to feel proud and I hope that marked improvements to security on campus are forthcoming.

Nevertheless, at heart I am a pessimist; that’s my folly, I’ve been burned too many times, and my experience is to never trust any bureaucrat at their word: the proof is ultimately in their actions. For this reason, I must offer some troubling indications that all is not well at U of S and students have a long road to tread before they can relax their newly developed activism.

Last week at a public forum on campus security, School administration was conspiciously absent from the debate. Instead, university officials sent along a public relations rep. – one who had already ruffled the feathers of many of the assault victims and their families (FYI: the official tally of incidents on the U of S campus in the past six months stands at two rapes and six sexual assaults according to the University womens’ centre). Meanwhile, University President Peter MacKinnon sent his regrets, saying he had a prior committment with a council meeting and could not attend the forum. Later, MacKinnon was spotted having drinks at a nearby bar just moments after the public forum ended!

Dude, you are so busted!

If students wish to make progress on problems with campus safety they will need to force officials at the top to recognized that there is indeed a problem at the university; administration needs to focus their attention and committment to this issue.

But then again maybe two rapes in six months isn’t such a big deal afterall. That’s not my opinion but one of a Canadian journalist who recently contacted me about the situation at the University of Saskatchewan. I had been trying to draw attention to the problems at U of S, stating that the mainstream media wasn’t devoting enough press to these sexual assaults. That’s when said journalist informed me that there are over 25,000 rapes committed in Canada each year; why should anyone care about two of them?

So I decided to check his facts and figures, and sure enough I found a statistic showing that in 2000, 24,049 rapes were committed in Canada (so he was off by 1,000). What’s disturbing here is that this places Canada third on a list of nations with the most rapes in the world, right behind the United States and South Africa (Ah, South Africa, where raping children is an acceptable pastime.)

But looky-here! Canada ranks dead last on a chart of sentence length. On average, Canadian offenders spend about one year in prison, compared to 29 years for offenders in the States. And last, but not least, Canada has one of the highest percentage of crime victims – higher than even the U.S. – than any nation in the world.

So I ask you, which is it: two rapes are not a big deal, or we just don’t give enough of a shit about violence against women in Canada?

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Canada’s Parole System: A Midway Carousel

More fear and loathing from La Belle Province.

Francois Despres was given 15 years for stabbing a man 50 times and beating him with a cricket bat.

Then Corrections let him out.

Less than sixty days later he crossed paths with 65-year-old Denyse Abel and proceeded to stab her 32 times – but Abel survived and is now suing the attorney-general and Corrections Canada for $1.2 million.

Right on Granny!

The National Parole Board denied Despres early release in 1993, ’95, ’96, and ’97. Then in 2000, Corrections Canada decided that Despres would benefit from a change of scenery, so they let him out; never bothering to consult with the NPB who had denied him parole those four times.

Now I’m not sure what the official release date is for Despres’ current sentence, but you and I both know it’ll likely be before the next Olympics.

As for Denyse Abel, I hope she gets every nickle of that $1.2 million. Better yet, put her on a province wide tour to demonstrate to taxpayers that the constant retrialing of offenders and subsequent civil suits caused by a soft parole system is milking the country to its financial capacity.

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Violence and Canadian Universities – More Problems

The University of Saskatchewan has a problem with campus safety. In the past six months there have been two rapes on campus and a number of incidents of sexual assault. Fed up with a slack campus security force and a school administration crippled with inertia, students and parents have taken matters into their own hands circulating a petition that now has close to 1,000 signatures calling on the University to conduct an independent safety audit.

I have been sitting on the fence with this one, in part naively believing that the mainstream press would pick up this story. In frustration I wrote an article on the subject and sent it to the op-ed pages of the National Post and the Globe and Mail – Canada’s two national newspapers. I was disappointed, but not surprized when the pieces were rejected; left fuming when I learned the reason for the rejection. An editor with the Globe and Mail explained to me that since the story hadn’t appeared in their paper yet, the time wasn’t right for commentary on the subject – in effect this was like saying the rapes didn’t take place until the Globe and Mail said they took place.

So how long do we have to wait for the mainstream media to pick up on this story? Apart from some pieces by CBC Saskatchewan, there has been nothing. More to the point, when will the national media wake-up and realize that violence on college campuses is a subject that parents and students take very seriously in both Canada and the United States?

At the University of Saskatchewan, the biggest obstacle students and parents are running uo against is the university itself. Never mind that the two incidents of rape are well documented – I myself have communicated with the families of both victims; they both appear very real to me – and that they occured over a span of six months; the University of Saskatchewan is still referring to these rapes as “alleged assaults”. It is bad enough to be violated in the manner these women have suffered; even more degrading to be in effect called a liar by those persons you thought were supposed to be working for your best interest.

Still, though the parents and families are shocked at this callous reaction from the School, I am not surprised. The murder of my sister, Theresa Allore while a student on the campus of Champlain college / Bishop’s University in Quebec in 1978 was the culmination of events that were unfolding for a full year prior to her death. Before Theresa died there had been a total of 10 sexual assaults reported on campus; all of them decried by students in the college paper, while being ignored and pooh-poohed by school administration. twenty-five years later we have a similar situation unfolding in Saskatchewan: Canadian university administrations must get it through there thick-headed skulls that violence on campus is their problem, and they must take ownership in finding a solution.

U of S is not alone here. In a recent discussion with victims advocates from accross the country problems with campus security were pointed out to me at the Universities of New Brunswick, Manitoba and Calgary. That pretty much covers the country coast to coast. If there are signs of progress, they’re not coming from the Schools. The University of Saskatchewan’s women’s center recently secured a government grant to employ a part time victim’s advocate to act as an arbiter for the students. It should be noted that the head of the School’s women’s center is a student who took on the grant-writing task in addition to her full school work load.

Also, in two days the University of Saskatchewan is hosting a forum to discuss the recent problems on campus. While students and families seem well prepared for the event, the School has made the very bad decision of sending campus security to act as its envoy – in effect sending a parking enforcement officer to a summit on campus violence.- School administration should be at the table themselves.

Still, there are some signs of progress. Just yesterday the University administration finally agreed to have an independent safety audit conducted for the entire campus (past audits were conducted “inhouse” by campus security). Hopefully, parents and students will be able to convince the administration, some way, that campus safety is a full time responsibility, equally important as test scores, endowments, and competitive rankings. As one student wrote on the U of S petition, ” I think that the university needs to recognize the needs of students, and stop focusing on their academic ranking on the Maclean’s university list”. Hum… now there’s a thought.

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WES CLARK & MICHAEL MOORE

Ya! That’s the Ticket!

Now I admit the Democratic race is not my oeuvre, but allow me to weigh in on the subject of Wesley Clark (Warning: I will spin this around to an argument about Canada and violence).

It’s bad enough that everytime he smiles Clark looks like a ventriloquist’s dummy… and draping himself in girth of America’s number one Canadian ass-kisser is a sure way not to capture the White House. Yes, I’m talking about Michael Moore – whose idea was it in the Clark camp to latch on to this guy?

I am no lover of guns or the Conservative party, but Michael Moore and his distortions of Canadian society must be addressed; if only to keep Canadians in line. The last thing we need is Canada feeling self-satisfied. Yes, Bowling For Columbine is old news now, but I’ve been chewing on this one for a while and I’d like to have my say.

I have no problem with Moore asserting that Canada has less gun violence than the U.S., but when he conveniently drops the gun part and makes the broader statement that Canada is a less voilent society than the States, I’ve got to take issue:

Clifford Olson, William Fyfe, Robert Pickton. No the names aren’t as well known as their American counterparts, but these three men committed crimes to equal or surpass the likes of Gary Ridgeway and Ted Bundy.

And what’s this business about Toronto being safe? Tell that to the parents of Cecilia Zhang or Holly Jones. Jones was found, in pieces along the shows of Lake Ontario. Anyone want to go boating?

No guns? I’ve felt safer in Watts then I would ever be strolling the Jane / Finch corridor. Toronto subsidized housing is idealic? Come to my home town of Saint John, New Brunswick. I’ll show you some projects. They don’t call it “the Rifle Range” for nothing.

What was I talking about? Oh ya, the Democratic Primaries… well anyway, Wes Clark’s a wooden puppet, and Michael Moore’s still a weenie – my fair and balanced analysis of the situation.

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What was I just saying about parole?

Recent conversation with an American friend:

– So you’re from Canada, right?

– Yes, but I immigrated to the States.

– Do they have the death penalty in Canada?

– No, we believe it’s too barbaric.

– Well what about life imprisonment?

– Oh yes, we have that. Well, sort of.

– How sort of?

– Well in Canada mandatory life sentence is 25 years.

– 25 years?

– That’s for the worst of the worst. But in some cases they could be paroled after serving 2/3rds of their sentence.

– So in Canada life in prison means 16 1/2 years?

– Pretty much. Life = 16.5.

Oh there’s a doozy in this week’s Ottawa Citizen. A board of investigations for the National Parole Board has slapped Corrections Canada on the wrists for failing to adequately assess the risk potential of “psychopath” (their usage), Conrad Brossard.

Brossard was imprisoned for violent offences beginning in 1966. Then he was released. Then he was convicted of murder in 1970. But he was released again. Then he was convicted of attempted murder in 1980, but he escaped. Then he was convicted of attempted murder in 1987 while on… (that’s right) parole!

How many is that? I’ve lost count. Wait, I’m not done yet.

Then Brossard was again granted parole in early 2002.

The 55-year-old was granted permission to work in a nursing home where he proceeded to abduct a senior citizen and stab her to death with a pair of sissors.

Apparently, when Brossard was up for the 2002 parole, there was no chronology of his past offences in his file so the parole board let him go. Corrections Canada was also chastized for the use of freelance psychologists in Quebec (did I mention this all took place in Quebec?); who are high on value but none too bright:

“Using freelance psychologists is a management choice that has the benefit of saving a great deal of money for the Quebec region, although it has the disadvantage of lacking quality control,”

So what’s the upshot of all of this? Nothing. The board of investigation, appointed by both Corrections Canada and the National Parole Board, absolved the parole board of any blame, saying it acted properly on the information laid before it.

What information??? There was nothing in the guys file!!!! Shouldn’t somebody swing for that!!!!

But wait… I haven’t got to the punch line. Are you ready for it? It’s real good… here it comes…

Brossard will be eligable for parole in 2029.

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