The Lennoxville massacre, or Lennoxville purge, was a mass murder which took place at the Hells Angels clubhouse in Lennoxville, Quebec on March 24, 1985. Five members of the Hells Angels North Chapter, were shot dead. This event divided rival outlaw motorcycle gangs in Quebec, leading to the formation of the Rock Machine club in 1986, a rival to the Hells in the 1990s.
In the 1960s-70s, one of Montreal’s more prominent biker gangs were the Popeyes, who were led by Yves Buteau. In the 1970s, the Popeyes had successfully fought against the Devil’s Disciples and Satan’s Choice biker gangs, and as a journalist at the time noted, “The violence that ensued cemented Quebec’s reputation as one of the most dangerous places for organized crime to do business in North America.” The journalist James Dubro wrote that: “There’s always has been more violence in Quebec. In the biker world it’s known as the Red Zone. I remember an Outlaws hit man telling me he was scared of going to Montreal.” The Hells Angels, who had been looking to expand into Canada, decided that the Popeyes were the best gang to take into their organization. On 5 December 1977, the Popeyes “patched over” to become the first Hells Angel chapter in Canada.
As the Hells Angels continued to grow, in September 1979 the Montreal chapter was divided into two, with the Montreal North chapter based in Laval and the Montreal South chapter somewhat confusingly based in Sorel. The North chapter consisted mostly of former Popeyes members, and still retained Popeye attitudes, in contrast to the South chapter headed by Réjean “Zig Zig” Lessard, who were more disciplined.
The head of the North chapter, Yves “le Boss” Buteau was gunned down in September 1983. In contrast to Buteau, the man who succeeded him, Laurent “L’Anglais” Viau, had a more tolerant attitude towards violence and drug use. The Laval chapter, which had often chaffed at and had broken Buteau’s rules about not using drugs, swung out of control under Viau’s leadership as Viau himself was addicted to cocaine, alcohol and prostitutes. The rest of the chapter followed his example.
Other Hells Angels felt that the North Chapter bikers were too wild and uncontrollable. They often used drugs they were supposed to sell and were suspected of skimming drug profits that were meant for other Hells Angels chapters. The North chapter had taken at least $60,000 dollars that were meant for the other chapters for themselves, while their lazy aggression frequently led them to being arrested for minor offenses, which put the entire Hells Angels operations in Quebec at risk. Noted one local reporter. “At that moment [in 1985], the Hells Angels were doing a cleanup to become a real criminal organization. Before that, they were disorganized and unruly. They were like a street gang…The [Laval] guys weren’t following the steps the others were taking. They fit the traditional image of bikers…It was going against the new philosophy of the Hells Angels. The other Hells Angels wanted to be businessmen.” The other organized crime groups that the Hells Angels did business with such as the Mafia and the West End Gang had been pressuring the Angels to bring the Montreal North chapter under control. The Hells Angels assassin Yves “Apache” Trudeau later disclosed that relations between the Montreal North and Montreal South chapters of the Hell’s Angels were “ice cold” by the beginning of 1985.
In March 1985, at a secret meeting in Sorel, the Montreal North chapter were declared to be in “bad standing” with the Hells Angels and were to be liquidated. The plan called for two members of the Laval chapter to be forced into retirement, another two members to be given a chance to join the South chapter and the rest to be all killed. A party was announced at the clubhouse of the Sherbrooke chapter in March of 1985. It was attended by the Sorel, Laval, Halifax and Sherbrooke chapters, which were all of the Angels’ chapters in eastern Canada at the time. The four Hells Angels chapters in British Columbia did not attend the party.
At the Lennoxville “bunker” the Angels planned to ambush the Laval chapter as they entered the clubhouse, but the plan failed when most of the targets failed to show up. The party was now extended for a second day, and participation was mandatory. Most of the North chapter now showed up with the notable exceptions of Yves Trudeau, who was in rehab being treated for his cocaine addiction, and Michel “Jinx” Genest, who was in the hospital recovering from a failed assassination attempt by another biker gang. The founding member of Hells Angels Canada and president of the North Chapter, Laurent “L’Anglais” Viau, and four of its members: Jean-Guy “Brutus” Geoffrion, Jean-Pierre “Matt le Crosseur” Mathieu, Michel “Willie” Mayrand, and Guy-Louis “Chop” Adam attended. When the five North Chapter members arrived, they were forced into the center of a room in the clubhouse, where they were all shot dead.
Three members of the Laval chapter who attended the party; Gilles “Le Nez” Lachance, Richard “Bert” Mayrand, and Yvon “Le Pere” Bilodeau were ordered to remove the bodies and wash away the blood. Mayrand and Bilodeau were given the option to retire from organized crime or be killed. Lachance was offered membership in the South chapter, which he accepted. Together with Jacques “Le Pelle” Pelletier and Robert “Snake” Tremblay of the South chapter, Lachance went to see Genest to inform him that he could either join the Sorel chapter or be killed; he chose the former.
Over the next few days, the Laval clubhouse was looted of all the money and drugs stored in it along with the six Harley-Davidson motorcycles. Despite the original plan to kill Trudeau at the Sherbrooke clubhouse, he was contacted at the clinic he was staying at in Oka and told he was expelled from the Angels. Trudeau could rejoin if he killed three people whom the Hells wanted dead.
Pierre de Champlain, a former RCMP officer and a specialist on biker crime stated, “The police noticed that the Laval chapter’s garage that served as their bunker was closed. The girlfriends of the guys who’d disappeared were approached and asked, ‘Have you seen your boyfriend lately?’ and things like that. Then they realized that these people had disappeared, but they didn’t know they were dead.”
In June 1985, a fisherman on the St. Lawrence caught part of the decomposing body of one of the dead bikers. At the bottom of the St. Lawrence River, police divers located the 5 victims wrapped in sleeping bags and tied to weightlifting plates. Also found was the skeleton of Berthe Desjardins, who had been missing since February 1980. Desjardins was the wife of a Hells Angel liquidated by Trudeau as a possible police informer, and while he was at it, Trudeau killed her to ensure her silence.
The name that the media gave to the massacre, the Lennoxville massacre, is a misnomer; the killings took place in Sherbrooke, and the misconception that the killings took place in Lennoxville arouse from the fact the victims stayed and partied at a motel in Lennoxville before going to the Sherbrooke clubhouse.
Turning Crown’s evidence
Gilles Lachance, who was profoundly troubled by the massacre he had witnessed, contacted the Sûreté du Québec to state his willingness to work as an informer and to wear a wire. One of the participants in the killings, Gerry “La Chat” Coulombe, a prospect with the South chapter, was so troubled by the massacre that he also turned informer and wore a wire for the Sûreté du Québec. Yves “Apache” Trudeau, the Hells Angels from the Montreal North chapter who did not attend the Lennoxville meeting, while in prison, realized that he would probably be killed by the Angels, so he cut a deal with the Crown. For testifying against the Hell’s Angels, the Crown treated the 43 murders Trudeau committed between 1970-1985 as manslaughter. He served 7 years for his crimes. As result of Trudeau’s testimony, 90 murders were solved and 19 Hell’s Angels were convicted. Given that Trudeau committed 43 murders first as a Popeye and then as a Hell’s Angel, his lenient sentence attracted much controversy.
Several members of the Hells Angels were present and played a role in the slaughter, but only four – Jacques Pelletier, Luc “Sam” Michaud, Réjean “Zig-Zag” Lessard and later Robert “Snake” Tremblay – were convicted of first-degree murder.
Pelletier, Michaud, Lessard and Tremblay were given life sentences for the murders with no chance of parole before 25 years. They were all granted parole nonetheless on the faint hope clause and ended up serving between 17 and 22 years each. Of the men convicted of the massacre:
- Robert “Snake” Tremblay was granted full parole on the 30 August 2004 and is living in Montreal. Tremblay told the parole board: “I sincerely deplore having taken the life of another person. I am very aware that I have to watch out for who I associate with and that I have everything to lose if I return to the criminal world.”
- Luc “Sam” Michaud was granted full parole on 6 May 2005, denying killing anyone, but stated he regretted his involvement with a crime that put him in prison for 20 years. Michaud, described as a zealous Hells Angel at the time of his conviction, returned to Roman Catholicism while in prison and was expelled from the Angels in 1993. He is living in Montreal at present.
- Réjean “Zig Zag” Lessard, the leader of the plot behind the massacre converted to Buddhism while in prison and left the Angels in 1989. Lessard was granted day parole on 3 February 2006, telling the National Parole Board that he had become a vegetarian, a pacifist and a Buddhist, saying: “You can’t be a Buddhist and be in that milieu.” Lessard was granted full parole on 11 August 2010 and is living in Montreal.
- Jacques Pelletier was granted full parole on 6 May 2013, but he was sent back to prison in 2014 after he violated the terms of his parole by associating with Hells Angels.
CODA: May 1980
I’m not really interested in The Hells Angels, and the Lennoxville Massacre, that’s not my turf.
I would like to know how Robert “Snake” Tremblay who is quoted as saying “I sincerely deplore having taken the life of another person. I am very aware that I have to watch out for who I associate with and that I have everything to lose if I return to the criminal world.” in 1980 apparently got away with the murder of Sylvie Michaud:
The 1977 suspicious deaths of gogo dancers Francine Loiselle and Suzanne Delorme Morrow. A revisit of the Jocelyne Houle case also from 1977.
Gogo Dancers: Suspicious Deaths
La Presse / September 28, 1977
The Surete du Quebec have revealed the identities of two young women whose bodies were found in the woods of Saint-Calixte north of Montreal.
They are Francine Loiselle, 21 years old with no known address, and Suzanne Morrow, 18 years old from Laval. The two victims earned their living as gogo dancers when they were reported missing.
Acording to the police, the bodies, where they were found, were there since the month of June, 1977.
Autopsies performed at the medical legal laboratory of Quebec on rue Parthenais in Montreal, were not able to determine the exact cause of death, due to the advanced state of decomposition of the bodies. Other tests will be performed at the laboratory.
Un Troisieme Cadavre est retrouve a Rawdon
La Presse / September 29, 1977
The Surete du Quebec were trying to solve the enigma surrounding the death of two teenage girls, now they must also solve a murder, the victim being a 45-year-old man whose body was found on Tuesday morning, next to Route 125 in the Township Rawdon.
According to information obtained, the victim, we cannot at this instant disclose his identity, but he is known to the police. He was shot before being abandoned dead in the ditch. This was probably a settling of accounts.
The police in this affair know the associates and hangouts of the victim in the hours before his death. Yesterday, they had not yet recovered the vehicle that the victim was seen in before his death.
As for the death of teenage girls whose bodies were found in a forest in the region last weekend, SQ investigators concluded a suicide pact.
The two victims in this affair were identified as Francine Loiselle, 21 years old, and Suzanne Morrow, 18 years old, who both worked as dancers for some time in the Saint Jerome region.
Due to the advanced state of decomposition of the bodies of the two young women, pathologists at the medical legal institute are still not able to determine the exact cause of death. What is known for certain, however, they were not shot, and they had been there for several months.
In any case, the identification of the two victims dispelled the doubts of several citizens who believed that one of the victims could be one of the many young girls who had been missing for a few months in Laval and in the region.”
Other information: They were found in the woods bordering “Rang 4ieme in Saint Calixte”. The bodies were found in “un etate squelettique” = Skeletal state, “cote a cote”, 600 to 800 feet from the road.
Francine lived on rue Duroches in Parc Extension, Montreal. Francine Loiselle’s parents lived in an apartment at 1560 Labelle in Longueuil.
Suzanne Morrow lived with her parents at 175 De Galais, Laval des Rapides. This runs parallel to Route 15.
24-year-old Jocelyn Houle was a nursing student from Chicoutimi, Quebec. The 5’2″, 100 lbs young woman traveled to Montreal with a group of fellow students to study respiratory therapy for three weeks at The Institute of Cardiology in the city’s Rosemont district.
During her stay Houle was living at a boarding house, The Jeanne Mance Institute at 6675 44e avenue. Wednesday evening, April 13th Houle decides to join seven of her fellow students for a night on the town. They have dinner at The Barnsider which was at 2250 rue Guy:
After dinner they decide to go to the Old Munich at Saint Denis and Dorchester (now boule Rene Levesque). They arrive at 11:30 pm. They drink, they dance, they stay until closing.
They leave the club together around 1:30 am with the intention of moving the party up the street to La Caleche du Sexe at328 Saint Catherine East, just west of Saint Denis. Jocelyne Houle, who was walking apart from the group with two men, never arrives with her friends.
When they arrive at La Caleche the friends discover Houle isn’t there. They go back to the The Old Munich, but Jocelyne isn’t there either. They then decide that Houle must have gone back to the boarding house. Later when they get home, Houle isn’t at the boarding house. Houle is absent from her classes at the Institute of Cardiology on Thursday and Friday April 14 and 15th. She doesn’t return to her parent’s home in Chicoutimi at the end of the week.
On Sunday, April 17th Houle’s body is discovered about an hour north of Montreal near Saint Calixte. She is found off a gravel road, Rang 5 about 8 feet in from the road lying face down in a few inches of water. Houle is found half-naked and badly beaten about the face and head. Her purse is lying next to her.
The body is taken to Montreal and the autopsy to performed by Andre Lauzon at the SQ Parthenais headquarters. The autopsy confirms that Houle was beaten to death. She had a fractured jaw, and many facial injuries caused by “kicks or punches”. Houle had been raped, possibly my several persons. Houle was still wearing some of her clothing, including her bra, which was torn. Investigators conclude that Houle was not killed at the Saint Calixte location, only dumped there.
The murder of his sister 40 years ago has sent John Allore on a relentless mission to probe unsolved murders
BY KRISTIAN GRAVENOR – POLICE ADVOCATES JOURNAL OF CANADA
Durham, North Carolina is known for its sprawling tobacco fields and shady walnut trees, but the town also bears the unusual claim of being home to one of the best-known analysts of Quebec homicides.
For almost two decades, accountant John Allore has tirelessly probed unsolved murders in his ultimate quest to uncover the fate of his sister Theresa, found dead in the province’s Eastern Townships region in 1979.
Allore generates an incessant stream of podcasts, tweets, Facebook updates and blog posts – and soon a book from a major publisher – while fully understanding that his sister’s mysterious death will likely never be solved.
But the light Allore shines on Quebec’s murder investigations from the past have exposed an often-shocking pattern of carelessness and indifference.
And although a stern critic of Quebec investigation squads, Allore remains in regular touch with Quebec provincial police officers, who dutifully remain cordial and civil in their dealings. Yet the relationship remains fraught with frustration for Allore, who grew up in Pierrefonds, a city located in the western fringes of the island of Montreal.
“The relationship will always be — must always be — one-sided,” says Allore. “Information goes into that big black box and it can never come out. I can share things with them but they can’t share things with me. But there’s no choice, they’re the only ones who can solve the investigation.”
Becoming a first-time father in 2001 provided Allore with a sudden and intense compulsion to examine the mysterious circumstances surrounding his older sister’s demise.
Theresa Alllore, 19, disappeared outside her dorm room in Compton, Quebec, several kilometres from her school at Champlain College in Compton in the Eastern Townships in early November 1978.
A dorm shortage forced many students like Theresa Allore to commute on a shuttle bus. Missing that bus meant taking a costly taxi or hitchhiking, something Theresa was known to do.
The street outside the dorms was dark and many students feared walking home, according to reports from the school paper. As well, a chronic lack of supervision added much mayhem to the student dorms.
“There are no restrictions, no curfews and especially no parents. They go wild,” read one school article from the period.
Theresa Allore was found dead clad only in a bra and panties in woods about one kilometre away from the dorms on April 13, 1979.
Five months in the snow made it difficult to determine a cause of death.
Theresa Allore had not been sexually assaulted, her clothes were not torn and there was no sign of a struggle, according to police, who suggested that her death might have been caused by a drug overdose.
John, then only 14, recalls how his family was shattered by the ordeal that was worsened when police and school administrators speculated on possible lesbian orgies and LSD parties, none of which jibed with their knowledge of Theresa.
The Allores hired a private investi- gator who concluded that the death was either by a sexual predator or she was dumped off by students after a drug overdose.
Police came to no conclusions and little was done to solve the mystery.
Once fired up with the mission of solving his sister’s tragic death, Allore traveled to Sherbrooke in 2003 to consult the Sûreté du Québec’s homicide file but was disappointed to learn that much of the information was kept out of his hands, including a list of possible suspects, which could not be shown due to Canada’s privacy laws.
DNA evidence and other possible clues, police ruefully confessed, had been tossed out five years after his sister’s death, due to lack of storage.
Police acknowledged that they were not actively trying to solve the mystery due to time constraints.
One criminal investigation expert familiar with the case considers the SQ’s approach a casebook example in a botched investigation.
“The way her body was found showed that the obvious conclusion was homicide but police didn’t handle it that way,” says Kim Rossmo, a longtime police investigator-turned criminology professor and author.
“John took years to come to the conclusion that something wasn’t right and he has had success getting government to acknowledge it a homicide but finding the killer will be difficult,” says Rossmo.
“There’s a high probability that it will never be solved, so he should not set himself up for feelings of failure when he’s got an impossible task ahead.”
Allore’s initially-humble initiative led him to question whether Theresa’s death might have been the work of a serial killer who might have gotten away with many more such killings.
His research grew to a point where he can now recite the chapter and verse of dozens of women killed throughout Quebec over several decades. One police official recently expressed surprise to learn that Allore also has a full-time day job.
From a home office jammed with boxes full of newspaper clippings and coroners’ files, Allore has painstakingly researched and recorded over 60 podcasts that mostly focus on the minutiae of women killed in Quebec In the 1970s.
Each episode features timepiece music as well as painfully vivid details of victims pointlessly massacred as well as the justice system that all-too-often proved inadequate to deal with the heartlessness.
Allore’s Who Killed Theresa? podcast is fueled by information harvested from old crime press articles, corners’ reports sent down from the BANQ library archives and frequently recount stories of such villains as Levis, Quebec-based child-killing pedophile Guy Field, an inveterate offender with an IQ of 58. Fields was known to eat his own feces and routinely molest any vulnerable person in his presence, but in spite of the ample warning signs, authorities set Fields free only to have him murder a child near Quebec City in 1977.
Allore’s meticulous accounts of such heartbreaking and infuriating tales have attracted a worldwide listenership, from London to New York, to Australia, but Allore remains unhappy that his
productions haven’t resonated more in Quebec where attention is most valuable.
“It’s creating an awareness but it’s not meeting the audience it needs to solve murders,” he says.
In one recent podcast Allore recounts the shocking handling of Diane Thibault’s murder near Montreal’s Red Light district in 1975.
Thibault was found dead with a burning stick in her vagina near Red Light, a hideous modus operandi that was similar with another unsolved murder from the time, that of Debbie Buck.
So Allore ordered the coroner’s report on Thibault that was far more costly and extensive than others. He had no idea that the file would reveal a labyrinth of botched justice.
Following a tip from an acquaintance, police arrested Edmond Turcotte.
Turcotte had a motive and provided details of his misdeed in a confession he made to a group of Montreal police investigators.
But a judge later set Turcotte free because he considered the suspect’s IQ to be too low to make a valid confession. The judge also cited possible irregularities in police questioning by a team that included officer Jacques Duchesneau, who later rose to head the Montreal police force.
Allore’s podcast episode on the case led Montreal’s La Presse newspaper to probe the shocking case further. The suspect Turcotte, alas, could not be located and it remains unclear whether he’s still alive.
From the earliest moments of his quest Allore has forged ties with others who have lost family members, starting with Pierre Boisvenu, whose daughter Julie was murdered after disappearing from Sherbrooke in 2002. The two pushed for more victims’ rights but Boisvenu put his efforts aside after being named to the Canadian Senate.
With such new allies in tow Allore was able to pressure the province to create a cold case squad to probe what has now risen to over 700 unsolved murders – two thirds of which are difficult-to-solve underworld slayings — dating back from the 1960s. In In January, 2018, the cold case squad expanded from four full-time investigators to 30.
The initiative, though noble, has solved only three old murders, all within the early years of the squad and Allore is impatient for results.
“They’ve done nothing in the last decade. They have to be held accountable. They haven’t moved the needle,” says Allore.
One tool that police investigators are misusing, Allore argues, is the hold-back. Police routinely withhold or even release slightly incorrect details of a crime in order to weed out false confessions or other distracting dead-ends.
False convictions based on those confessions can prove to be a massive headache and a costly embarrassment for justice systems, as evidenced in the case of Simon Marshall, a mentally handicapped man who was imprisoned for five years and recently compensated $2.3 million following a confession mishap in Quebec City.
Allore argues that there needs to be a statute of limitations on holdbacks, after 25 years, for example, even though it can taint an investigation.
“I admit it’s problematic but you live with the trade offs.”
But perhaps the greatest challenge is the issue of lost or discarded evidence, which has caused many investigations to become virtually impossible to solve.
Other homicides have proven the use of saving all evidence indefinitely. For example San Francisco police preserved DNA from 1969, which recently helped identify a murder victim as Reet Jurvetson, a Montrealer killed near the ranch that housed the Charles Manson cult.
Allore suspects that Montreal police have misplaced evidence as recently as 1994, as he speculates that there is no other explanation
that police couldn’t crack what appears to be the perfectly solvable murder of Melanie Cabay, 19, in the city’s Ahuntsic district.
Allore not only criticizes Quebec homicide sleuthing past and present but even has a take on its future. One recent proposal has it that municipal squads would pass their unsolved cases onto the larger and better- equipped provincial police after a period of time to be determined.
“If they go through with that plan, agencies will simply run out the clock, they’ll do nothing and toss it over the wall to the SQ. How nobody has caught onto this is beyond me.”
If Allore seems a little intense, don’t blame grief, as he insists that his reservoir of motivation does not stem from a refusal to accept the death of his sister.
“Closure and grief are not what drives me,” he says. “It’s the incom- petence and possible criminal negligence of the Sûreté de Québec. They have left me angry and bitter due to the insensitivity towards myself and other families.”
He is also moved by the thrill of hunting down killers, with little eurekas offering payoffs.
“You become a little addicted to risk and adrenaline. Making those little discoveries about cases and information lost and found again becomes a rush.”
The effort, he notes, has come at a cost. After putting up with his obsession for a couple of years Allore’s wife Elizabeth confronted him to ask how long he planned to keep his quest going.
“When does it end?” she asked.
“I told her that if I put an end to this I will be letting Theresa die, just like she died in 1978.”
“That was the trigger. I had clearly chosen. I didn’t choose advocacy and investigation over my children but I chose it over my marriage.” Within three years the couple had split.
Allore’s work ethic might be the result of a lofty academic pedigree launched when he followed a girlfriend to attend Trinity College, one of the seven colleges of the University of Toronto.
Allore’s graduating class included Malcolm Gladwell, Andrew Coyne and Nigel Wright. But Allore, who interviewed Gladwell on a recent podcast, remains humble about his role in the golden generation of the school. “I was just along for the ride and had no idea that I’d be alongside Canada’s establishment.”
He has since buttressed his education with a Masters in Criminal Justice that has better equipped him with his endless research.
The course made Allore a big admirer of the FBI’s Uniform Statistics on Crime, a resource that offers information on every unsolved murder between 1974 and 2016. A similar StatsCan initiative missed its chance at duplicating its efficacy, he rues, by failing to classify crimes by race and gender.
Allore is not holding his breath for Quebec’s new justice minister to suddenly take interest in his plea to launch a public inquiry into the unsolved murders, with specific emphasis on how and why precious evidence was discarded.
And he sees little cause for optimism in the efforts of Marc Bellemare, a Quebec City lawyer who served briefly as Justice Minister in the Jean Charest Liberal government before becoming a leader in the quest for victims’ rights. “He’s always there when the cameras are rolling but he hasn’t advanced a single initiative.”
Quebec’s justice establishment might have given Allore the cold shoulder but he still has one card left up his sleeve. Early in 2018,
Allore, along with longtime National Post journalist – and close friend — Patricia Pearson inked a deal to pen a book about his quest.
Allore’s inaugural authorial effort is finally forcing him to slow down his content – and even remove items from his site — as his publishers have asked him not to expose information that would otherwise seem fresh for his book, due in late 2020.
Allore, however, seems unable to resist giving away the ending. “The bad guy is the investigating force.”
“What I see is a complete lack of consistency and urgency to solve these crimes in what would be an acceptable timeline.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: On January 19, Montreal Police Director Sylvain Caron held a press conference to announce a major restructuring of resources within his department, adding that a special team of investigators will be created in conjunction with the provincial police to resolve some 800 unsolved murders. He credited John Allore and his tireless work for pushing the department to create the new task force.
— Kristian Gravenor is a longtime Montreal journalist, historian and author of Montreal 375 Tales of Eating, Drinking, Living and Loving. He has written extensively on Canadian crime on his site Coolopolis.blogspot.com
Again A Gogo Dancer A Victim Of Murder
Allo Police – May 26, 1974
“Police investigators with the Surete du Quebec de Montreal’s crimmes contre le personne have finally identified the body of a young woman found in the woods in the Sainte-Anne-des-Plaines neighborhood in Montreal.
The victim is Miss Suzanne Charbonneau, a young gogo dancer, 24-years of age who lived at 5158 de Lanaudiere in the East-end of Montreal.
The body of the young girl was found around 8:15 in the morning, Saturday, May 11th by three hunters who with dogs were tracking rabbits in the woods near Sainte-Anne_des-Plaines.
The investigation is being lead by caporal Raymond Piche, assisted by agent C. Tremblay of the crimes contre le personne unit of the SQ de Montreal who revealed that the young woman has not been seen since November 20th, 1973.
Not hearing any news of their child, her parents reported her disappearance to the Montreal police on November 27, 1973.
An autopsy was performed last weekend by Dr. Jean Latourelle of the medico-legal institute of Montreal, to determine the exact cause of death of the young dancer, but the results are not yet known.
A fact remains obvious to the police investigators: Suzanne Charbonneau was a victim of an assassin, and important developments are expected shortly relative to this murder.”
Cette semaine, la police de Montréal / SPVM ont annoncé la création d’une unité de traitement des cas non résolus composée d’un lieutenant-détective et de six enquêteurs dont le seul travail consistera à traiter les homicides et les disparitions non résolus de la ville. Depuis 1980, environ 800 cas de ce type ont eu lieu, dont 558 homicides.
Les félicitations vont de soi, c’est un progrès. C’est bien mieux que le système dans lequel fonctionnait la police de Montréal: les détectives en service ne se penchaient que sur les cas non résolus quand ils ne menaient pas d’enquêtes actives (traduction = jamais), les détectives partant à la retraite et les cas non résolus.
Mais avant d’être trop énervés, voyons ce que cela signifie et ce que cela ne signifie pas.
Radio Canada – qui lisaient clairement les points de discussion des médias du SPVM – ont rapidement expliqué comment les détectives pouvaient désormais adopter une «nouvelle approche» à l’aide de «techniques avancées» en technologie de l’ADN. Cela n’est vrai que si vous prenez la peine de préserver les preuves. À l’instar de nombreuses forces armées au Québec, le SPVM n’a guère fait preuve en matière de préservation des preuves. Sur les quatre cas de rhume que j’ai principalement couverts dans les années 70 et au début des années 80 sous la juridiction du SPVM (Lison Blais, Katherine Hawkes, Nicole Gaudreault et Tammy Leakey), la moitié de ces familles a reçu une notification officielle du SPVM indiquant que les preuves ADN avaient été détruites.
La nouvelle équipe – qui ne sera pas composée de nouveaux détectives, mais des bureaux actuels redéployés d’autres unités – serait bien inspirée de tirer des enseignements de l’expérience de la Surete du Quebec.
Créée en 2004, la SQ a débuté avec environ 3 détectives et un arriéré d’environ 600 homicides non résolus. Au début de 2018, ils ont ajouté 25 nouveaux officiers supplémentaires à l’unité. Depuis 2004, ils ont réglé 10 homicides cold-case. Il convient de noter que pendant plus de 10 ans, 3 cas ont été résolus; ce n’est que très récemment qu’ils ont annoncé la résolution des 7 cas supplémentaires. C’est 10 cas en 14 ans. Les «experts» vous diront que c’est un très bon dossier de dédouanement. Ce n’est pas assez pour moi.
Il convient de rappeler à tous que, dans le rapport de 2005 de Statistique Canada intitulé «L’homicide au Canada», la police de Montréal affichait le pire taux de classement absolu parmi toutes les grandes villes canadiennes de 1976 à 2005:
Le total estimatif non réglé de tous les cas de cold case au Québec est d’environ 1700.
Comment est-ce arrivé?
Pour en savoir plus, revenons à cet article de 1966 publié dans The Gazette, intitulé «Assassinats non résolus au sein du quartier général de la police». C’est court donc je vais citer le tout:
«Les polices montréalaise et québécoise sont confrontées à un total de 62 meurtres non résolus remontant à 1953. Ils en ont résolu 63 au cours de la même période.
Sur le nombre total de meurtres non résolus, 43 ont été commis à Montréal et les 19 autres ont eu lieu dans divers centres de la province.
Parmi les victimes figuraient 24 personnages du monde souterrain, tandis que 27 autres étaient des hommes d’affaires, des marchands, des femmes au foyer et des retraités âgés tués lors d’un vol qualifié. Les autres meurtres ont été classés comme des crimes passionnels impliquant des homosexuels et des prostituées.
Les enquêtes se poursuivent – d’une manière ou d’une autre – sur tous les meurtres non résolus. Aucun des cas non résolus n’a été fermé.
Ces chiffres ne comprennent pas la série de meurtres découverts il y a plusieurs mois lors d’une enquête intensive sur des faillites frauduleuses et des incendies criminels à but lucratif dans la province. Alors que plusieurs suspects sont en lien avec les meurtres à la chaux, aucun n’a encore été jugé pour meurtre.
Le meurtre d’une femme âgée de 35 ans, Mme Lysanne Lauzière, dont le corps a été retrouvé il y a quelques semaines dans une fosse peu profonde dans un champ à 60 milles au nord de Montréal, n’est pas non plus incluse. Deux hommes ont été officiellement inculpés du meurtre mais n’ont pas encore été jugés. »
En ignorant les catégorisations misogynes et homophobes qui n’ont rien d’étonnant pour 1966, quoi d’autre se démarque?
Il n’y a pas d’homicides par des étrangers.
Ils ne commenceront à émerger que dans les années 1970, lorsque Allo Police commencera à reconnaître cet horrible phénomène qui atteindra son apogée en 1977.
Pourquoi le Québec a-t-il le pire taux de classement des homicides au Canada? Répondant à cela prendrait beaucoup de temps, lisez mon prochain livre. Je vais vous donner un indice: toute agence aussi centrée sur elle-même, soucieuse de préserver son image, cherche trop à se tourner vers l’intérieur pour même commencer à résoudre des problèmes majeurs de la société.
Il suffit de regarder la réponse du Syndicat des policiers de Montréal après l’annonce par Sylvain Caron, directeur du SPVM, des changements majeurs apportés au déploiement des officiers:
Chers confrères, chères consoeurs,
La Presse rapportait ce matin une restructuration du SPVM.
La voie par laquelle l’information s’est d’abord rendue aux membres concernés souffrait d’un certain déficit de respect, ce que nous avons dénoncé à la direction.
La Fraternité rappelle au Service qu’une attention particulière doit être portée aux relations de travail dans un contexte où les policiers et policières, il n’y a pas si longtemps encore, ont grandement été éprouvés par les nombreuses dysfonctions d’une direction problématique.
Il faut également rappeler que pendant ce temps et malgré une adversité hors norme, les policiers et policières ont su assurer une qualité de service impeccable.
Ceci étant dit, le passé appartenant au passé, nos préoccupations actuelles vont bien au-delà du fait que “personne ne se retrouvera au chômage demain matin” comme on pouvait le lire dans La Presse.
En effet, les changements décidés par la direction comporteront des effets directs et indirects pour plusieurs d’entre vous.
Par conséquent, la Fraternité s’assurera que les modalités de ces changements soient conformes aux droits qui vous sont impartis par la convention collective et au respect qui vous est dû.
À cette fin, nous avons convoqué les représentants syndicaux des unités concernées à une conférence téléphonique qui aura lieu dès aujourd’hui. Dans le contexte d’une transition à laquelle la Fraternité apposera sa vigilance, les suivis seront par la suite dirigés vers les personnes touchées.
Recherche et communications
La réponse de Mario Lanoie se résume à un grand “fuck you” à toute tentative d’adaptation et de changement, en disant essentiellement aux les officiers “vous ne faites rien de différent tant que nous ne vous disons pas de faire autrement”.
This week the Montreal police / SPVM announced the creation of a cold case unit consisting of one lieutenant-detective and six investigators whose only job will be to address the city’s unsolved homicides and disappearances — since 1980, there have been about 800 such cases, including 558 homicides.
Congratulations are definitely in order, this is progress. It’s a hell of a lot better than the system the Montreal police were previously operating under: on duty detectives looking at cold cases only when they weren’t pursuing active investigations (translation = never), detectives retiring and cold cases never looked at again.
But before we get too giddy let’s consider what this means, and what it does not.
Pundits on the Radio Canada morning shows – clearly reading directly from the SPVM’s media talking points – were quick to observe how detectives could now take a “fresh approach” with the help of “advanced techniques” in DNA technology. This is only true if you bother to preserve case evidence. Like many forces in Quebec, the SPVM has a poor track record of preserving evidence. Of the four cold cases I have predominantly covered from the 1970s / early 80s under SPVM jurisdiction (Lison Blais, Katherine Hawkes, Nicole Gaudreault and Tammy Leakey) half of those families have received official notice from the SPVM that the DNA evidence has been destroyed.
The new squad – which will consist not of new detectives, but current offices redeployed from other units – would do well to learn some lessons from the Surete du Quebec’s cold case experience.
Created in 2004, the SQ started with approximately 3 detectives and a backlog of approximately 600 uncleared homicides. In early 2018 they added an additional 25 new officers to the unit. Since 2004 they have cleared 10 cold case homicides. It should be noted for over a decade the number was 3 cold cases cleared; it’s only very recently that they announced solving the additional 7 cases. That’s 10 case in 14 years. “Experts” will tell you that’s pretty good clearance record. It’s not good enough for me.
It’s worth reminding everyone that in the 2005 Statistics Canada report “Homicide in Canada” The Montreal police had the absolute worst clearance rate for all major Canadian cities from 1976 through 2005:
The estimated uncleared total of all Quebec cold cases is approximately 1,700.
How did this come to be?
For some insight, let’s go back to this 1966 article from The Gazette, “Unsolved Murders Piling Up in Police HQ”. It’s short so I’ll quote the whole thing:
“Montreal and Quebec Provincial Police face a combined total of 62 unsolved murders dating back to 1953. They solved 63 in that same period.
Of the total number of unsolved murders, 43 were committed in Montreal while the other 19 were carried out in various centers across the province.
The victims included 24 underworld characters while 27 others were businessmen, merchants, housewives, and old age pensioners killed during robberies. The other killings have been classified as crimes of passion involving homosexuals and prostitutes.
The investigations are continuing – in one way or another – on all the unsolved murders. None of the unsolved cases has been closed.
Not included in these figures are the series of murders uncovered several months ago during an intensive investigation of fraudulent bankruptcies and arson-for-profit cases in the province. While several suspects are being held in connection with the lime-pit murders, none has undergone trial on murder charges as of yet.
Also not included is the murder of a 35-year-old woman, Mrs. Lysanne Lauziere, whose body was unearthed a few weeks ago from a shallow grave in a field 60 miles north of Montreal. Two men have formally been charged with the murder but have yet to stand trial on the charge.”
Ignoring the misogynistic , homophobic categorizations which are not surprising for 1966, anything else stand out for you?
There are no stranger homicides. T
They won’t emerge until the 1970s when Allo Police begins to recognize this horrifying phenomenon that will reach its apex in 1977.
Why does Quebec have the worst homicide clearance rate in Canada? Answering that would take quite a long time, read my upcoming book. I will give you a clue: any agency that is so focused on itself, on preserving its image, is too inward looking to even begin solving major problems of society.
Just look at the response from the Montreal Police Union after SPVM Director Sylvain Caron announced the major changes to the deployment of officers:
Dear brothers and sisters,
La Presse reported this morning a restructurin`g of the SPVM.
The way in which the information first went to the concerned members suffered from a certain lack of respect, which we denounced to the management.
The Brotherhood reminds the Service that special attention must be paid to labor relations in a context where police officers, not so long ago, have been greatly affected by the many dysfunctions of a problematic management.
It should also be remembered that during this time and despite extraordinary adversity, the police officers were able to ensure an impeccable quality of service.
That being said, with the past in the past, our current concerns go far beyond the fact that “no one will be unemployed tomorrow morning” as we read in La Presse.
Indeed, the changes decided by the management will have direct and indirect effects for many of you.
Therefore, the Brotherhood will ensure that the terms and conditions of these changes are in accordance with the rights that are granted to you by the collective agreement and the respect due to you.
To this end, we have convened the union representatives of the affected units to a conference call that will take place today.
In the context of a transition to which the fraternity will put its vigilance, follow-ups will subsequently be directed to the people affected.
Research and Communications
Mario Lanoie’s response boils down to a grand “fuck you” to any attempts to adapt and change, essentially telling rank and file officers that “you don’t do anything different until we tell you to do different.”
The director of the SPVM, Sylvain Caron, will announce and outline the restructuring plan to the 120 or so executives of the police organization this morning during a meeting in Montreal.
In order to allocate resources to “where the need is most felt,” the director of the Police Department of the City of Montreal (SPVM), Sylvain Caron, will today announce to his 4000 police officers a major redeployment of ‘workforce,.
This restructuring, called “Strategic Operational Repositioning”, includes the creation of a full team of investigators devoted exclusively to resolving unresolved murders, a significant addition to the sexual assault division and fight against sexual exploitation, and the return of drug investigation sections under the auspices of the Organized Crime Division.
“Crime is changing and we want to put resources where they will be optimal,” a police source told La Presse.
The director of the SPVM, Sylvain Caron, flanked by his assistant directors, will announce and outline its plan to the 120 or so executives of the police organization this morning during a meeting in Montreal. They will then meet their troops to explain what the redeployment is.
This announcement is in line with the changes initiated by the previous acting director of the Montreal Police, Martin Prud’homme, before returning to the head of the Sûreté du Québec at the end of last year.
During a media tour that followed his appointment as director last December, Mr. Caron began to unveil the deployment and the eventual addition of manpower, where the need was greatest, including sexual assault.
According to our information, this section, and that of the fight against sexual exploitation, should accommodate at least fifteen additional investigators, in particular to ensure better coordination with the national sex offender registry, meet the growing demand found in the stride of the #moiaussi movement and the Rozon and Salvail cases, and provide better service to members of Aboriginal communities who are victims of sexual exploitation.
There are currently about 800 unresolved murders in the files of investigators of the SPVM, accumulated for decades.
Until a few years ago, a handful of investigators were still assigned exclusively to cold cases, but they retired. Currently, homicide investigators also handle unresolved murders.
The SPVM leadership is thus imitating the Sûreté du Québec – which has several investigators assigned to unresolved murders – and is creating a new, complete team of six investigators and a detective lieutenant to tackle these cases.
This announcement responds to a growing need and comes just days after the brother of a murdered woman whose murder has still not been resolved, John Allore, lamented to La Presse that cold cases were virtually unpublicized on the SPVM website. It should also be noted that constant technological breakthroughs can, in some cases, increase the chances of resolution.
The return of the “Stups”
While the SPVM did away a few years ago the sections assigned to “narcotics” to merge into a section renamed Violence Crimes in the four regions of the island of Montreal, La Presse learned that the squads fighting against the drugs will be resuscitated and placed under the auspices of the Organized Crime Division (OCD), which will now include several teams consisting of five detective lieutenants and more than 60 detective sergeants and investigating officers. However, physically, the offices of the drug investigators will remain in the operational centers of the four regions.
Finally, according to what we have been able to learn, the remaining sections in the four SPVM regions could be merged and staff would be moved to the neighborhood stations, so as to have more resources
These changes, which should come into force in the coming weeks, could lead to the disappearance of some positions, commanders among others.
“One thing is certain, nobody will be unemployed tomorrow morning,” said our source.
Le directeur du SPVM, Sylvain Caron, annoncera et exposera les grandes lignes de son plan de restructuration aux quelque 120 cadres de l’organisation policière, ce matin, lors d’une rencontre à MontréalDaniel Renaud
Dans le but d’affecter les ressources là « où le besoin se fait le plus sentir », le directeur du Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM), Sylvain Caron, annoncera aujourd’hui à ses 4000 policiers un important redéploiement d’effectifs, a appris La Presse.
Cette restructuration, appelée « Repositionnement stratégique opérationnel », prévoit entre autres la création d’une équipe complète d’enquêteurs se consacrant exclusivement à la résolution des meurtres non résolus, un ajout sensible d’effectifs à la division des agressions sexuelles et au module de lutte contre l’exploitation sexuelle, et le retour des sections d’enquête sur les stupéfiants sous l’égide de la Division du crime organisé.
« La criminalité évolue et nous voulons mettre des ressources là où elles seront optimales », a résumé une source policière à La Presse.
Le directeur du SPVM, Sylvain Caron, flanqué de ses directeurs adjoints, annoncera et exposera les grandes lignes de son plan aux quelque 120 cadres de l’organisation policière, ce matin, lors d’une rencontre à Montréal. Ces derniers devront par la suite rencontrer leurs troupes pour leur expliquer en quoi consiste le redéploiement.
Cette annonce est dans le droit fil des changements amorcés par le précédent directeur intérimaire de la police de Montréal, Martin Prud’homme, avant de retourner à la tête de la Sûreté du Québec à la fin de l’année dernière.
Lors d’une tournée médiatique qui a suivi sa nomination en tant que directeur en décembre dernier, M. Caron avait commencé à lever le voile sur ce déploiement et sur l’ajout à terme d’effectifs, où les besoins étaient les plus criants, notamment aux agressions sexuelles.
Selon nos informations, cette section, et celle de la lutte contre l’exploitation sexuelle, devraient accueillir au moins une quinzaine d’enquêteurs supplémentaires, notamment pour assurer une meilleure coordination avec le registre national des délinquants sexuels, répondre à la demande croissante constatée dans la foulée du mouvement #moiaussi et des affaires Rozon et Salvail, et offrir un meilleur service aux membres des communautés autochtones victimes d’exploitation sexuelle.
Meurtres non résolus
Il y aurait actuellement près de 800 meurtres non résolus dans les cartons des enquêteurs du SPVM, accumulés depuis des décennies.
Jusqu’à il y a quelques années, une poignée d’enquêteurs étaient encore affectés exclusivement aux meurtres non résolus (cold cases), mais ils ont pris leur retraite. Actuellement, ce sont les enquêteurs des homicides qui traitent également les meurtres non résolus.
La direction du SPVM imite donc la Sûreté du Québec – qui compte plusieurs enquêteurs affectés aux meurtres non résolus – et crée une nouvelle équipe complète de six enquêteurs et d’un lieutenant-détective pour s’attaquer à ces dossiers.
Cette annonce répond à un besoin de plus en plus croissant et intervient quelques jours à peine après que le frère d’une femme assassinée dont le meurtre n’a toujours pas été résolu, John Allore, eut déploré sur nos écrans que les cold cases n’étaient à peu près pas médiatisés sur le site internet du SPVM. Il faut préciser également que les constantes percées technologiques peuvent, dans certains cas, augmenter les chances de résolution.
Le retour des « Stups »
Alors que le SPVM a fait disparaître il y a quelques années les sections affectées aux « stupéfiants » pour les fusionner en une section rebaptisée Crimes de violence dans les quatre régions de l’île de Montréal, La Presse a appris que les escouades de lutte contre les drogues seront ressuscitées et placées sous l’égide de la Division du crime organisé (DCO), qui comptera désormais plusieurs équipes composées de cinq lieutenants-détectives et de plus de 60 sergents-détectives et agents enquêteurs. Toutefois, physiquement, les bureaux des enquêteurs des stupéfiants demeureront dans les centres opérationnels des quatre régions.
Enfin, selon ce que nous avons pu apprendre, les sections restantes dans les quatre régions du SPVM pourraient être fusionnées et des effectifs seraient déplacés dans les postes de quartier, de façon à avoir plus de ressources.
Ces changements, qui devraient entrer en vigueur dans les prochaines semaines, pourraient entraîner la disparition de certains postes, de commandants entre autres.
« Une chose est certaine, personne ne se retrouvera au chômage demain matin », a assuré notre source.
Danseuse A GoGo Victime De Son Metier?
La police la retrouve nue et assassinee!
par Michel LeCompte / Photo Police 30 Octobre 1971
Working as a gogo dancer in the clubs and cabarets, is probably very interesting, financially speaking, for a student who wants money for a little luxury. All the more if you dance topless! Nineteen year old Lucie Beaudoin opted for this lifestyle to earn her living. Very pretty, a good figure, she turned the eyes of patrons at the Motel Saint-Hubert on the South Shore of Montreal. Too much? Peut-etre!
It’s an open secret that “topless” dancers often take advances from clients whether they are wanted or not, equally true that on occasion they might encounter undesirable men.
A Double Life
Lucie Beaudoin was not like other dancers, by day she was a CEGEP student in Old Montreal. She operated in two very different worlds. In the clubs she was vulnerable to encounter exploiters or powerful sexual maniacs. We don’t have to tell anyone that “topless” dancers are very provocative by the nature of their dances and their nudity. Was Lucie a victim of her seductiveness? This theory is under consideration, that she was murdered by a sexual maniac who desired her.
A little after the discovery of the body of the young girl, investigators prepared to interrogate several of Lucie’s friends. Fellow students, it is not impossible that the person responsible for her death was also a student. If that is not true, it also appears she was quite connected with a biker who has also been interrogated.
Her booking agent Paul Calcer would find her appointments. Police want to know if the heads of this office had come to know the young girl in question and done business with her regularly, but they claim to not know much about it. She had recently gone to them for new photos, but the photographer has not had the time to take new photographs of her, as he does regularly for all the “artistes” that work for the establishment.
Lucie’s double life has made the work for investigators doubly difficult.
Lucie Beaudoin was not the sort of girl who would leave her parent’s home (her father is deceased) without a good reason, even if her work was providing an attractive income. This is why she still lived with her mother at 5590 boulevard St. Laurent in Montreal. It was on October 5th that she was reported missing when she did not come home since leaving the house 11 hours earlier in the morning. Her photo was given to the media, along with a complete description. It was for another eleven days, the 16th until the police were put on the case.
That day, some children were playing around the Leo Roy quarry, next to 5675 Boule Lapiniere in Brossard. They reported to police the first piece of evidence, a purse that they found at the place. The police determined that it belonged to Lucie. Divers were brought in to explore the nearby water. They discovered floating on the water a big open and inverted trunk containing a sheet. Sticking out was a black leather boot belonging to Lucie. At six o’clock, last Friday, Assistant Director Paul-Emile Blain of the Brossard police, and detective Richard Arpin finally made the macabre discovery: The body of Lucie floating completely naked on the surface of the quarry lake.
From the beginning of the investigation all signs pointed to a murder. Mainly that the body was curled up, the neck was bent back, and the legs were also curled. It’s believed that she was placed in the trunk (which would explain the positioning of the body) and then thrown into the lake. The autopsy that was performed at the beginning of the week confirmed what police had suspected, that Lucie’s neck was broken. “We also know that Lucie was sexually assaulted before being killed, and that she was not shot or stabbed.”
Lucie Beaudoin paid dearly, but why? For being attractive, and revealing her body in public? For having relations with students that were a little shady?
What Happened Next?
The Surete du Quebec would come to assist the Brossard police in the investigation. In December 1971 Henri Vincent was arrested for the October 5th strangulation murder of Lucie Beaudoin. He appeared in court on December 17th. Vincent was a 22 year old biker, also known as “Le Saint ” and “Les Bras”. Vincent had been on the run for several weeks before police apprehended him in Thunder Bay.
Vincent was accused of the non premeditated murder of Lucie Beaudoin. Police stated that Beaudoin was strangled in an apartment in the East End of Montreal at 6525 Papineau, not far from where she lived with her mother.
Police also charged 21 year old Rene Gilles Vinette as an accomplice after the fact.
In the Spring of 1972 Judge Claude Bisson sentenced Henri Vincent to nine years in prison for the murder of Lucie Beaudoin.
It Didn’t End There
47 years later, the victim’s sister, Louise Beaudoin, was plunged back into the matter because of a blunder caused by the Surete du Quebec
In March 2018, Louise Beaudoin was contacted by an investigator from the Sûreté du Québec to announce that the murder of her sister was treated as an unresolved case.
“Since that time, every second, every gesture, every minute, it comes back to me… I’ve been crying a lot every day since March 23,” she says.
Police even made her sign a form to allow them to broadcast the photo of Lucie, and a reminder of the case in the unsolved crimes section of the SQ website.
Although she said that she had informed the police that a suspect had been convicted in this case, the police refused to listen.
Louise Beaudoin says she “doubted her memories” even though she attended court proceedings in 1971.
On May 30, the SQ removed the notice concerning Lucie Beaudoin from their website.
The police admit the mistake and say that in the future, things will be different. It seems that before meeting Lucie Beaudoin’s sister, the police only did summary checks.
Nevertheless, until today, no one has apologized for this blunder. Ms. Beaudoin says she is “shocked”, plunged back into the painful memories for four months.