DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" ""> Who Killed Theresa?: 02/01/2004 - 03/01/2004

Sunday, February 29, 2004

Official - Bernier Trial will move to Montreal

This morning's Montreal Gazette confirms that Hugo Bernier will be tried in a Montreal court.


Saturday, February 28, 2004

Hugo Bernier Trial Delayed - Again

There is word in from Quebec that the judge trying the Hugo Bernier case has decided to move the trial from Sherbrooke to Montreal. Bernier was arrested in September 2002 for the murder of Julie Boisvenu. The twenty-seven-year-old's body was found in a ditch near Bromptonville, six days after she disappeared after leaving a nightclub in downtown Sherbrooke. Bernier was another of those repeat offenders who - surprise, surprise - was mistakenly granted early parole.

The case was originally scheduled to go to trial last fall, but was delayed until the spring of 2004. This current decision will further delay the proceedings for an additional six to eight months.

Julie Boisvenu's father, Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu - a man a greatly admire and consider to be a close ally - is expected to call a news conference next week protesting the delay of justice and calling for greater appreciation for victims' rights.


A momentary diversion courtesy of the blog Quebecois

Because I love Halloween, and because it's sort of a lazy Saturday; here's a bit of fun to get through the morning.


Friday, February 27, 2004

Don't Kill Me!

Seems there was a big Hells Angels bust in Montreal. You'll notice I don't write much about the Quebec biker wars. There are two reasons for this:

  • They are done to death by other writers.

  • I enjoy my life. I don't need my kneecaps taken out by a shotgun blast.

    (thanks to Colby Cosh for the the hitherto unfamiliar "li" tag)

  • |

    Thursday, February 26, 2004

    and i found a place it's dark and it's rotted

    I don't know which is more pathetic; this story, or the fact that I still read the Gazette.

    A "public-security officer" (whatever-the-hell that is) from Mascouche, Quebec was suspended for five days without pay for locking a man in the trunk of his patrol car.

    Where's Joe Pesci with that veal knife when you need him.

    The man - apparently drunk and stinking of urine - was wrapped in plastic and driven home in the trunk. The officer didn't want to anger his boss by stinking up the inside of the patrol car.

    Sounds like a creative solution for me. I don't see the problem. Oh right, the guy could have died. Forgot about that.


    Wednesday, February 25, 2004

    Complicated Game

    - ... How do you think her body got in the cornfield?

    - Who? Sophie Landry?

    - No, my sister.

    - You're asking my opinion?

    - Yes.

    - For me, she was killed in the car, someone stopped by the side of the road, and they carried the body into the field. Do you agree?

    - Yes. I think she was dragged there. For a while I thought someone drove into the field then dumped the body, but now I think they carried the body there. But it's problematic... that's a long way to drag a dead body.

    - Yes, but someone who is determined could do it...

    This is me on my cell phone talking to a police detective in Montreal. It's mid-afternoon, and I'm standing in line at the post office waiting to mail a package. It's one of those old post offices. Sound reverberates like Notre Dame Cathedral on a weekday. People are starring. I don't care. After two years of investigating Theresa's death I've dispensed with any sense of decorum...

    This is the only time today I have a chance to talk to this guy, I'm gonna talk about whatever I like. I'm sorry, am I disrupting you while you mail a letter to your sister? I don't care, my sister's dead.

    And, yes, I do relish in the drama of it all. It's absurd and addictive and I'm getting my jollies.

    I'm beginning to question the pace I've set for my life. With the birth of our third daughter our lives (my wife and mine) have gone into hyper-drive. I friend of mine who also recently added a third child to his family explained it this way,

    "The thought of cramming anything else into my day is an impossibility. At work I feel guilty. I feel for sure someone is going to call me out as a fraud. I'm hanging on by my fingernails, just barely able to focus on my work."

    Yes, that would describe it.

    The other day someone marveled at my energy, "how do you do it?", they asked. I lied. "Well, as long as I keep my family in focus, everything's alright." I think it was Dale Carnegie who said, "there's always two answers to every question; the one you like to hear yourself give, and the truth." The truth? I'm barely hanging on. If I take on one more project my wife gonna' relocate me permanently to the couch.

    I'm trying to put things together. If I let up for a moment, the whole machine atrophies. My hair is stuck together in matted clumps, it looks like a squirrel's nest. I haven't exercised since Christmas. The car's in desperate need of an oil change.

    I call my wife's hairdresser - no more Supercuts, I 'm getting something good. I'm forty, I've got to start looking like it. And get those teeth cleaned; they're starting to seal themselves up. My last appointment is the one I should have made first. I really need to call my doctor.

    Tuesday evening. Pancake Tuesday. I haven't heard that in years. We used to always eat pancakes for dinner on Pancake Tuesday. I think it was one of the rare occasions when my father cooked.

    I pick up my kids and we go home to make pancakes. They're thrilled with the idea.

    Pancakes for dinner? Dad, you're a riot.

    I let them make their own batch. The kitchen is a mess. There's batter all over the counter. It's the way it should be.


    Monday, February 23, 2004

    Croteau Redux

    An interesting piece in yesterday's Gazette about a Longueuil women who thinks guy Croteau might have raped her in 1977.

    Yes, I know Big-Bad-Guy isn't responsible for every sex crime in the '70s and '80s, but indulge me for a moment (my comments in italics):

    Sexual attacker hands pedestrian a life sentence

    The Gazette

    Sunday, February 22, 2004

    She says it was nearly 27 years ago, and so she's had to trade off some details in the recollection of it.

    For example, she can remember the colour of the building where she first saw him standing, looking at her, but she's never been sure if he was wearing a checked lumberjack's jacket or an army fatigue coat.

    "A checked lumberjack's jacket" matches the clothing worn by one of the suspects in the Manon Dube case.

    Jeanette is 53 now, has a husband and works as a teacher and freelance writer, but most of what happened that autumn evening in 1977 remains crystal clear, the details as sharply defined as the shock in the man's eyes when she turned around and defended herself.

    1977: this would put Croteau at approximately 21 years of age. A young serial killer in the making?

    "I was coming back from the Longueuil métro station to where I live," she said. "I decided to walk rather than take the bus. It was about a 15-minute walk."

    It was also a walk that took her from the subway across an overpass that spans Taschereau Blvd. and, as she paced across the bridge in the twilight, Jeanette looked back and noticed what appeared to be the figure of a man standing by a blue glass building. She resumed walking and was about three-quarters across the overpass when she sensed "a very light touch ... like a draft."

    "So I whipped around and this guy had his hand right up the back of my skirt. ... I was just enraged to see him. I started showering abuse on him ... and then bashing him. I had a very heavy purse and I swung at his head.

    "After I yelled at him, the strangest thing is he looked as if he was going to cry. ... He turned around and began to run. I began to chase him."

    She chased him?

    "I don't know. I was just so mad."

    A woman reported to me a similar encounter with a man on the streets of Sherbrooke, Quebec in 1980. The man confronted her, she challenged him, he looked like he might cry, then she chased him.

    Jeanette says he looked like someone who had just walked out of the woods - a beard, fairly long hair. "But it was his eyes that stood out the most. He had the most spectacular eyes."

    Her assailant got away and Jeanette went home and filed a police report. She was visited by two officers who kept looking around her apartment, asked if she was single, if she lived alone, why she was walking alone at night. They left her feeling as if she was somehow responsible for the attack. It was the '70s.

    It was the '70s? Oh come-on, James, do you think women are treated with any greater respect today?

    The police said they'd come back with mug shots. They never did, Jeanette says.

    This is an often described scenerio. I can't tell you the number of women who have contacted me about sexual assaults from 1977 - 1980. In almost every case the police very quickly dismissed their cause

    Jeanette put the incident behind her for eight years, even though she'd shake when she talked about it, until an 18-year-old girl was found raped and killed in a ditch that runs parallel to the overpass.

    Nathalie Boucher's body was found less than 300 metres from her Longueuil home. As of yesterday, her killing remained unsolved. "I always felt it was the same guy who did it," Jeanette says. "That he decided to get it right this time."

    Nathalie Boucher is a new one on me. Yes, there are many people who could be responsible for her death. But one thing to keep in mind; Guy Croteau is the only "serial killer" I know of who to date is responsible for only one murder. He will serve a life sentence for the death of Sophie Landry: this is good. But who else did he kill? Remember, this is not stuff from my imagination; it is the Surete du Quebec who have publically labeled Croteau as a multiple murderer.

    Ok, SQ, we're waiting for the other murders. It was dumb luck that you were able to link Croteau to Landry. Now it's time to go to work and solve some crimes.

    And then, two years ago, she was in a coffee shop when she saw a newspaper front page covered with a series of photographs under a headline that read: "The Many Faces of a Serial Rapist." It was story about Guy Croteau, a school janitor who had been arrested for a murder and a string of sexual assaults on the South Shore.

    The police published the 10, startlingly different photos after Croteau, then 45, was charged with nine sexual assaults that occurred between 1995 and 2000 and the 1987 murder of a 16-year-old girl who had been raped and stabbed 173 times.

    Jeanette recognized the eyes.

    She called the Sûreté du Québec's toll-free number and told them about the incident on the overpass. They took the information and never called back.

    Oh boy! Like I'm not familiar with this story!

    Jeanette, I called the same toll-free number, and guess what? They didn't call me back either. For a police force relying on the public to solve crimes, they sure weren't eager to put any effort into it. In short, it took embarrassing the SQ in the newspapers before they would even consider looking at my sister's murder in relation to Croteau.

    FYI: Croteau had ties to the Eastern Townships.

    Now, at this point it has to be said that the greater Montreal area has more than enough murderers and rapists to go around, and the area around the Longueuil métro, the place where Nathalie Boucher was murdered, where Croteau's 16-year-old victim was last seen alive, has known its share of crime scenes.

    Ya, ya , ya... so this is an excuse not to look into these things?

    Ask Jeanette what she'd do if the cops told her tomorrow that they knew for an absolute fact the man who tried to attack her wasn't Guy Croteau and she pauses for the longest time.

    They can't say that. They don't know that.

    "It's possible. ... It's possible I've talked myself into this." But Jeanette feels that even if it wasn't Croteau, "the guy who came up behind me (27 years ago) meant business."

    And that's when you know that in the end, it really doesn't matter who it was who stood by a blue glass building on an autumn night in 1977, whether he wore a checked jacket or a drab olive coat, whether he's going to sit in a cell for the next quarter century or whether he's still out there.

    We tell ourselves that justice has been done, that a school janitor convicted for the rape and murder of a teenage girl in 1987 has been given a life sentence for his crime. Even if he's convicted of anything else, society cannot do more to Guy Croteau than it already has.

    So society should close the chapter on Croteau? Nathalie Boucher's murder remains unsolved. The Surete du Quebec has stated publicly that Guy Croteau is a serial killer - though inexplicably they can only tab him for one murder.

    Doesn’t the SQ have an obligation to society to determine what other murders Croteau committed? In doing that, we just might learn from past mistakes. And I don't think it was women who made the mistake of walking where they shouldn't late at night.

    But everything - including justice - is relative. Because a 27-year-old woman one autumn night decided to do nothing more sinister than walk home from the métro, a 53-year-old woman still wonders a quarter of a century after the fact whether she defended herself against a murderer in the making.

    And that, some might argue, is a life sentence in itself.

    I will leave the last word to another victim, Marc Lapierre who so eloquently stated:

    "Life Sentence - it's the victims that receive it."


    Saturday, February 21, 2004

    The Cost of Death

    TalkLeft has an interesting post about the economics of the death penalty vs. life in prison.


    Friday, February 20, 2004

    Judge him according to your law

    Oh boy. What to do with the case of Tomas Gallo, the 28 year old Houstonian sentenced to death for biting, raping and fatally beating his girlfriend's daughter on her third birthday.

    After reading this story it took me about a minute to drag my jaw off the floor. My 6-year-old daughter caught me drifting off into space,

    "Daddy, what's wrong?"

    What's wrong? Everything. This is a crime so grotesque it makes you laugh in disbelief. I was giggling with fear and revulsion. Then of course I immediately felt guilty for laughing.

    You can't win. This one's beyond comprehension.

    By the way, I wasn't the only one laughing. Gallo laughed at the jury and the victim's father as his sentence was read.

    I could throw-up.

    Oh it gets weirder. This is like bad vaudeville. Defence attorney, Gerald Bourque compared his client to Jesus Christ. Bourque exclaimed,

    "Y'all made a mistake. I brought you the truth, and you ignored it,"

    Gallo covered the three year old's body with bruises and bite marks before raping and killing her at her while her mother was at work. He then cleaned up a blood-spattered bathroom, dressed her in clean clothes and called her mother to say the girl was not breathing.

    Bourque's truth?

    He tried to argue that the girl's mother was responsible for the crime.

    Completing the biblical metaphor, Bourque stated,

    "The blood is on my hands, too... and I can no more wash it off than Pontius Pilate."

    In light of Mel Gibson's recent revisionist take on the Roman governor, perhaps Bourque was shooting for sympathy.



    Thursday, February 19, 2004

    Attorney, Daniel Petrocelli big proof that his Enron client, Jeffrey Skilling is innocent? Skilling past a lie detector test.

    To which I say...

    So did Gary Ridgway!


    Don't Ask, Don't Tell

    Recently, I've been involved in a little side project to determine safety measures implemented at Canadian universities. In part this was started when I discovered that no agency in Canada tracks information on how the many different colleges in Canada provide safety to students on campus. Last month a Campus Security Survey was sent out to women's centers, security units, student newspapers and sexual harassment advisors at 35 of Canada's most prominent universities. The response to date has been deafeningly silent.

    Yes, yes, there some surveys came back, but mostly from schools that already have an established reputation for providing excellent security service. The University of British Columbia was one of the first to respond, and I would think they would be given that the school has an RCMP detachment maning their victim services unit on campus - the only one of its kind in Canada. The University of Calgary sent in their survey- why shouldn't they? U of C has a security alert protocol program, security cameras in secluded locations such as parking lots and a 24-hr-a-day safewalk service; they are often cited as a model for campus safety.

    There isn't anything particularly objectionable in the survey. Most of the questions are pretty boiler plate, "where might we obtain a copy of your sexual harassment policy?", "Does the school have a women's centre?".

    So it's the schools that don't respond that give cause for worry. Or the ones that give poor excuses for not answering the questions:

    I've passed this on to our security department. There are concerns about what
    this information is being collected for, who will have access to it, whether
    or not it is being collected so solicit business, etc.

    Yeah, well, even if I was in the business of selling a better security camera, this concern is irrelevant. It's public information; universities don't have the right to withhold it.

    Some of the replies have been down right scary. Witness the following answer from a student volunteer at a women's centre located at a major western university:

    I'm just answering this one question because I'm really mad about what

    6. Does the school have a notification protocol? That is, if an assault occurs
    on campus, does notification go out to the campus community in a timely fashion?

    NO!! I had to find out on the news AFTER THEY CAUGHT HIM that a student had Raped SEVERAL WOMEN right on campus, and I'm disgusted by the fact that campus security didn't believe this to be something every woman on campus should have been warned about.

    This seems to pinpoint the crux of the problem. In essence, there always seem to be two depictions of violence on campus; the impressions of the students versus that of administration, and the security forces that act on their behalf. Students often see violence on campus as being a much greater problem than do campus security. In part, this can be attributed to the problem that, in some cases, students don't wish to file official reports with campus security. They will tell their friends, but are reluctant to "officially" disclose the information. So these "stories" become innuendo and hearsay, compared with the hard-line facts provided to security units.

    Some campuses, such as the University of British Columbia, have began to explore the option of 3rd party reporting. That is, involving an outside agency to compile the information, rather than student run centres or administration run security services, both of which have a perceived bias.

    Meanwhile the work of collecting information on campus security goes on. It is my desire that if enough Universities participate, there can be an apples-to-apples comparison of all universities and their safety programs. Only then might suggestions be made for a best practices system for security at all Canadian university campuses.

    Stay tuned.


    Tuesday, February 17, 2004

    Sophie Landry

    This site experienced a surge of visits yesterday. Checking my Site Meter, I found out why. In the wake of Guy Croteau's murder conviction, people were looking for more information on the case. But they weren't coming here for me, they weren't searching for Croteau. The words people kept Googling over and over were "Sophie Landry".

    We've been accustomed to thinking that the offender holds all the interest and fascination. It is heartening, in this instance at least, that people want to learn more about the victim. I can't tell you anything about Sophie Landry. I didn't know her. But it's nice to know people are still thinking about her, that they care about her.


    Monday, February 16, 2004

    Croteau Attempts Suicide

    the judge said five to ten
    but I say double that again...

    Moments after being convicted of the murder of Sophie Landry, Guy Croteau tries to slit his wrists in front of crowded courtroom.



    Croteau gets 25 year life sentence with no chance of parole.


    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...


    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.


    Saturday, February 14, 2004


    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:

    click here

    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.

    Dear Quebec,

    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!


    Wednesday, February 11, 2004


    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.


    Tuesday, February 10, 2004


    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.


    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.


    Sunday, February 08, 2004

    Une Photo Vaut Mille Mots


    Saturday, February 07, 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.


    Monday, February 02, 2004

    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?