By Mika Rekai - Tuesday, December 11, 2012 - 0 Comments
The week’s wackiest crime stories from across the country
British Columbia: A manager at the Red Lion Inn in Saanich faces five charges of aggravated assault after allegedly stabbing five employees with a pair of closed scissors at the hotel’s Jade Fountain Restaurant. Police say the manager, 52-year-old Zhi Wei Meng, who goes by the name Wally, then locked himself in an office, where they arrested him. There were no fatalities.
Alberta: A 32-year-old truck driver from Stettler was driving with a loaded rifle leaning against the passenger seat with the muzzle pointed at the roof. While making a U-turn, the rifle tipped over and went off. The bullet passed through the man’s stomach and out the door. He is in stable condition, but faces charges for reckless use of a firearm.
Saskatchewan: In late November police in northern Saskatchewan were called to investigate reports of a man driving a snowmobile while impaired, but the man went off-road and eluded them. The next day a 43-year-old snowmobiler, who police believe was the same man they were searching for, was found dead by his brother after his snowmobile crashed through the ice at Deschambault Lake.
Ontario: A Mississauga man who self-publishes a Spanish-language newspaper has been charged with fraud after a woman accused him of falsely posing as a spiritual healer and bilking her out of $14,000 for various spells. Gustavo Valencia Gomez, 40, a self-described warlock, allegedly convinced the 56-year-old woman her family was cursed and needed his services.
Newfoundland: The Mounties always get their man . . . eventually. An off-duty RCMP officer from Corner Brook was driving near Deer Lake when he picked up a hitchhiker. When the hitchhiker introduced himself as Ken Colson, the officer realized the man was a fraud suspect he had been pursuing for six years. The officer, Const. Des Burridge, quietly pulled over, identified himself and arrested Colson.
By macleans.ca - Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at 6:40 AM - 0 Comments
An exclusive poll reveals who Canadians consider the country’s worst criminals
Fame may be fleeting, but infamy endures. Karla Homolka recently came back into public view when journalist Paula Todd tracked her down in the Caribbean, revealing that the killer is now a mother of three. Around the same time, a controversial eight-month-long inquiry into the case of serial killer Robert Pickton wrapped up, with the families of the murdered women now waiting on the final report. In these ways and others, cases that grabbed headlines and shook the nation so many years ago never really go away.
Maclean’s has delved into its 107-year archive to refocus on some of the most intriguing and disturbing crime stories from our country’s history. As part of that special project, we asked Canadians to tell us who they consider to be the country’s worst criminals. It’s a short list of unspeakable horrors and unimaginable depravity, and in the end, the only difference is by degrees. Paul Bernardo and Homolka, convicted of abducting and killing two Ontario schoolgirls in the early 1990s, still loom large in the public imagination with 73 per cent of respondents to an exclusive Maclean’s/Angus Reid Public Opinion survey offering up their names. Pickton, the B.C. pig farmer found guilty in 2007 of the murders of six women, who once confessed to killing 43 more, was cited by 61 per cent. And Clifford Olson, who died in prison in 2011 while serving life sentences for the rapes and murders of 11 young people at the beginning of the 1980s, was identified by 44 per cent. Continue…
By Michael Friscolanti - Tuesday, November 20, 2012 at 11:29 AM - 0 Comments
Ottawa’s plan to make it easier to kick criminals out of the country sounds simple, but some fear it goes too far
Ron Berry spent nine days in a coma. His wounds were so severe—bleeding in the brain, lacerated spleen, a contusion near the lungs—that doctors weren’t certain he would survive. When Berry’s own family first saw him lying in that hospital bed, swollen and unconscious, they didn’t even recognize him. “Words cannot describe what I saw,” his sister told a judge, months later. “His head looked like a rotted pumpkin on top of a body.”
The man who inﬂicted the beating was Dylan Lee Morgenrood, a landed immigrant from South Africa. Drunk and belligerent outside a Trenton, Ont., bar, the 23-year-old ambushed Berry from behind and stomped on his face and chest, over and over, until witnesses finally pulled him away. The attack was so violent and bloody, one veteran bouncer testified, that he still has “nightmares about it.”
Morgenrood pleaded guilty to aggravated assault in July 2009 and was sentenced to 3½ years in prison. The real punishment came next: a deportation order. Like thousands of other non-citizens convicted of a crime, Morgenrood was no longer welcome here.
His removal should have been swift. According to long-standing law, any non-citizen sentenced to more than two years in prison has no right to challenge his deportation at the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB). But Morgenrood did have one option left, a backdoor strategy that many other foreign-born offenders have exploited: he returned to court and appealed his sentence, hoping to be allowed to stay. Continue…
By Blog of Lists - Tuesday, August 28, 2012 at 4:54 PM - 0 Comments
The Canadian West of the 19th and early 20th centuries was as teeming with villains as its American counterpart. Indeed, many outlaws north of the 49th parallel were fugitive Yanks.
1. Boone Helm: A Kentucky-born marauder lured out west by the California Gold Rush, then forced into British Columbia in the early 1860s after a string of murders from Oregon to Utah, Helm was said to enjoy eating those he killed. He was arrested in Victoria in October 1862 for being of bad character and spent a month on a chain gang repairing streets. The next year he was arrested at Fort Yale on the Fraser River and sent back to Montana where he was hanged in 1864, after complaining that the executioner was taking too long in carrying out his sentence.
2. Brothers Allan, Charles and Archie McLean: The McLean Gang terrorized Kamloops, B.C., in the late 1870s, stealing everything from horses and liquor to ammunition. When the law came after them, the McLeans shot their way through, eventually killing two men, including a police constable. Eventually caught and convicted—the jury took 20 minutes to reach a verdict—they were hanged together in New Westminster in 1881.
3. James Gaddy and Moise Racette: After meeting in a Saskatchewan saloon in the 1880s, they decided to partner together in the horse-thieving business. To seal the deal they got their photograph taken; it would later become their wanted poster. When the Mounties went after the duo, a shootout ensued and a North West Mounted Police constable was killed. Gaddy and Racette were later convicted of murder and sent to the gallows in Regina in 1888.
4. Ernest Cashel: He was from the American Midwest but turned up in Alberta in 1902, a young man noted for his charm. Arrested in Calgary for forgery, he managed to escape, making his way to Lacombe and stealing a horse. Later, a rancher he worked for disappeared, and Cashel, caught after a two-month manhunt, was found wearing the rancher’s clothes. After the man’s body was discovered with a bullet hole in his chest, Cashel was convicted of murder. He escaped after his brother slipped him guns but was soon caught again and hanged in 1904.
5. Bill Miner: Originally from Kentucky and known as the Gentleman Bandit, Miner was reportedly the ﬁrst holdup artist to use the phrase “hands up.” He committed one of Canada’s ﬁrst train robberies in 1904 near Mission, B.C., at the age of 60, then struck a second train outside Kamloops in 1905. When the law closed in on him, Miner tried to shoot his way free but was caught and jailed. He later escaped the penitentiary in New Westminster, ﬂeeing back to the U.S., where stories of his end are varied.
6. Harry Wagner: Named the Flying Dutchman after the famed ghost ship, he was a member of the ruthless Cassidy Gang in Wyoming before travelling northwest in a small ship, darting through the inlets of British Columbia. In March 1913, while robbing a store at Union Bay, Wagner was happened upon by police. One ofﬁcer died in the gunﬁght that ensued, and Wagner escaped, only to be captured later and brought to trial in Nanaimo, B.C. He was hanged on Aug. 28, 1913.
7. Albert Johnson: Better known as the Mad Trapper of Rat River, he triggered a massive manhunt and captured the public’s imagination during the Great Depression after shooting a Mountie in the Yukon. He remained on the run for 48 days, travelling almost 300 km across the frigid Far North, before dying in a shootout in February 1932. His true identity has never been established.
Have you ever wondered which cities have the most bars, smokers, absentee workers and people searching for love? What about how Canada compares to the world in terms of the size of its military, the size of our houses and the number of cars we own? The answers to all those questions, and many more, can be found in the first ever Maclean’s Book of Lists.
Buy your copy of the Maclean’s Book of Lists at the newsstand or order online now.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, May 30, 2011 at 1:18 PM - 36 Comments
Alex Himelfarb considers the revolution in crime policy that is about to pass the House.
Our greater openness to these “tough on criminals” policies and the reluctance of the opposition to take them on may reflect a more profound debasing of our politics, what the American critic Benjamin DeMott has called “Junk Politics”. In his articles and books, DeMott is not calling for more civility, politer politics; he doesn’t mind a good fight, it seems. His concern with contemporary politics is bigger than that; it resides in its refusal to lead citizens to higher ground, to challenge us, to inspire us to find our better selves. Instead, he says, it panders to our worst sentiments. personalises everything, derides experts and evidence, tells us that we are great as we are, that we have every right to feel morally superior. It divides the world up into good and bad, black and white. Nuance kills. This world, to paraphrase sociologist Orrin Klapp, is destructively divided up into heroes – “hard-working, law-abiding tax payers” ; villains – criminals, terrorists and would-be terrorists; and fools – all the elites and so-called experts who are soft on crime and soft on terror. This view gives not much space to idea of redemption or, for that matter, to compassion and brooks no debate on what the evidence might tell us or about the costs of punishment.