Guy The Knife Could Walk
In a move I can only describe as, well… stupid… jurors in the Guy Croteau murder trial have asked to review the tapes of the closing arguments for each lawyer.
Recall that Croteau (irony of ironies: did I mention that “croteau” means “cut” in French) is charged with the 1987 death of 16-year-old Sophie Landry who was stabbed 173 times.
Hey jury! Let me make it easy for you…
SHE WAS STABBED 173 TIMES!!!!
So what could be holding up the jury? That’s easy: utter confusion courtesy of the Judge. It turns out that – thanks to Superior Court Justice James Brunton – jurors are unaware that Croteau is awaiting trial on multiple charges of sexual assault, forcible confinement and robbery involving 10 other females age 10 to 18.
Brunton deemed this information prejudicial to the defendant.
Oy vey! With judges like this, who needs criminals!
Also, Justice Brunton disallowed testimony from profiler, Marc Lepine (No, not that Marc Lepine, in another irony, the Surete profiler shares the name of one of Quebec’s most prolific murderers).
So what does the jury have to go on? Not much. That a girl was found stabbed to death with the defendant’s sperm inside her. Defending attorney, Marc Labelle, has argued that Croteau might have raped her, but it doesn’t mean he killed her. This might make sense except for the fact that in the matter of the other assaults:
– All of the victims were teenagers.
– All of the victims were assaulted on the South Shore of Montreal
– They were all found in isolated areas
– A knife was used in each incident.
Also, Croteau’s m.o. is well established: he works alone; his pick-up line is usually of the, “hey, kid, can you help me find my lost puppy?” ilk. If Croteau raped Landry, then he most likely killed her too; there wouldn’t have been a buddy around to blame.
Despite these points, Justice Brunton ruled there was not enough proof of a connection between the Landry murder and the sexual assaults.
Justice Brunton: that’s French for knucklehead.
A REAL LIVE VICTIM
A couple of weeks ago I wrote about Conrad Brossard; a repeat offender on the joyride of Canada’s revolving door parole system (for a recap, click here .) Brossard had been convicted of numerous crimes and multiple murders. Each time he was sent away – for what the public considered was certainly the last time – Brossard would manage to be paroled again, and would kill again.
Brossard’s violence is lethal; there has only been one survivor to his attacks, a 22-year-old Montreal man who was highjacked at gunpoint by Brossard, shot in the liver and stabbed 17 times in the back. The victim managed to survive by pretending to be dead (and what else would you do after being stabbed 17 times?)
Victims often remain faceless and nameless. Frequently their stories go untold, it is the offender that garners most of the attention. In the very rare instance that a victim survives a murder they are usually very reluctant to come forward and tell their stories.
So imagine my surprize last week when I received the following message on my voicemail:
“Mr. Allore, my name is Marc Lapierre, I am the only surviving victim of Conrad Brossard, who you wrote about, I would very much like to talk to you.”
In so many ways, Marc Lapierre is a remarkable man. For twenty-four years he has watched Conrad Brossard dance in and out of prison, continuing to destroy people’s lives.
“I can’t understand how . . . Conrad Brossard can be constantly let out on parole… In 25 years, he will be out again, Brossard will be eighty and I will be in my sixties, I don’t want to be going out for coffee with this guy.”
Before the attack, Lapierre had a promising career in banking. After the attack Lapierre was never been able to work again. For twenty-four years he has had nightmares. Everytime he tries to leave the past behind (Lapierre no longer lives in Quebec), up pops Brossard again, newly sprung from prison, committing another murderous offence, in effect rubbing Lapierre’s nose in the horror of his past – now for ever his present and future. As Lapierre so aptly puts it, “Life Sentence – it’s the victims that receive it.”
Marc Lapierre has constructed a website to document his tragedy. On it he describes in excruciating and minute detail the events of his attack. Though much of the site is in French, Lapierre courageously has posted photos of the wounds on his body that speak a universal language.
The following link will take you to these photos. WARNING: THESE PICTURES ARE NOT FOR THE SQUEAMISH. Lapierre has had himself photographed from the waist up showing the multiple attack wounds on his back and sides. The sight is a sobering reminder of the everlasting devastation wrought by violence.
I ask you to view these photos because this is what violence looks like. Not the tarted up version we see on television, but the real horror of violence. And so, to see Marc Lapierre’s photographs:
The sight is profound. They leave me speechless.
Quebec gets Punk’d by Conan’s Triumph
Canadians – who seem to wear their very soul on their sleeve, let alone their hearts – are in a tissy again, this time about comments made by Conan O’brien’s Triumph the Insult Dog concerning French Canadians.
O’brien, who has been hosting his late night show this week from Toronto, has the bacon-nation up in arms over remarks made by Triumph – a hand puppet ( a hand puppet!) at the expense of unsuspecting Quebec pedestrians at their annual winter carnival.
Consider it a privilege and an honor to be targeted by Triumph. If you were caught like a moose in the headlights, you’re in good company: witness Eminem’s dazed response at last year’s MTV music awards. Sure the hip-hop phenom wanted to pummel the pup! But hey! It’s Triumph! It is useless to attempt to fight his barbs. He’s a hand puppet – get it? Just sit back and enjoy the ride. Just think how insulted you would have been if Triumph passed you over and went straight to Newfie jokes.
Quebec – you’ve been Punk’d, man! Laugh a little!
Two recent news items have got me chewing bile.
The first concerns my hometown newspaper. The Chapel Hill News, never affraid to address the tough issues (who can forget the three year saga of what is to become of the Orange County Animal Protection Society), has hit us again with another barn-burner:
The first annual Rock Paper Scissors Tournament took place over the weekend at the Cave in Chapel Hill. In case you missed the excitment, The CHN has devoted 31 paragraphs and front page status to the inaugural event.
On Monday evening two women were the victims of sexual assaults at two Carrboro apartment complexes. In both incidents men broke into the victims homes. In one of the assaults, the victim was molested at knife point; in the other, the women – who struggled -was tied up and raped. Currently both suspects (or one?) are at-large.
So where is the Chapel Hill News’ voice on this matter? Umm, it’s muffled, buried in a foot-note in the “In Brief” section of the paper, (I seem to be the only one of my friends who bothers to read this section) – Summarized in five brief paragraphs (I can’t even find the story on the on-line edition of the paper).
Dear Chapel Hill News: In the matter of violence against women, the key to prevention is awareness. As a newspaper you have a great responsibility here. Do not take it lightly.
The second item comes to me via Eric Muller over at Is That Legal?
In a blurb about a Washington Post story about the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show , in which the author describes the dogs as “row after row of four-legged JonBenets in cages, petted, prodded and photographed.”, Muller ponders,
“Is it just me, or is this line more than a bit disrespectful to the memory of a child murder victim?”
Yes, Eric, you’re right, it is impossibly disrespectful. And it makes my blood boil.
In an interesting strategy, defence attorney Marc Labelle surprized everybody today when he failed to defend Guy Croteau for the 1987 murder of Sophie Landry. The judge was left scratching his head as Labelle declined to call a single witness nor to provide any evidence in the case. The case now goes to the jury.
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.
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 09, 2004
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.