Carolyn Solomon, a mother of two from Sudbury, Ontario, travelled 1,500 kilometres, past razor-wire topped steel fences and gun-toting watchtower guards, into the bowels of a federal penitentiary, to confront the man who murdered her son. Why did she do it? What did the killer say when Solomon looked into his eyes and demanded to know why he shot her son? Solomon explains in The Mother and the Murderer, Episode 8 of the Cancrime podcast (after the jump).
Canada’s top court has mercifully put an end to the Shafia family charade of innocence claims and birthdate uncertainty. The Supreme Court of Canada announced today (April 13, 2017) that it will not hear the appeal of Hamed Shafia (inset), who claimed he wasn’t 18 years old at the time he and his father and mother murdered four other family members, including three of Hamed’s five sisters. In essence, the court declared that the Shafias are mass murderers and liars, and that’s the end of it. They no longer have any legal recourse. The decision follows the unanimous rejection by Ontario’s top court of appeals by the trio.
Corrections Canada doesn’t seem concerned by a 45-per-cent increase in the rate of escapes from penitentiaries over the past three years. The rate in the 2015-16 fiscal year was 1.23 escapes per 1,000 inmates, up from 0.85 three years earlier, according to a departmental plan for 2017-18 recently tabled in parliament (read it in full after the jump). The prison service says that “in spite of the increase in the rate of escapes during the last three years, the results are still meeting CSC’s target.” It demonstrates that, if you set your expectations suitably low, any achievement is acceptable. This isn’t the only non-success at the $2.5 billion a year penitentiary service. In this three-year period, the rate of “non-natural and undetermined offender deaths in custody” rose by 60 per cent.
Muhammad Parvez, who strangled his 16-year-old daughter Aqsa (inset) to death because of his distorted belief that she had tarnished his family honour, has died in prison. His death comes nearly a decade after the murder that became a flashpoint for a national debate about cultural traditions imported to Canada by newcomers. “I killed my daughter. . . with my hands,” Parvez said, in a 911 call placed minutes after the murder in the Parvez home in Mississauga, Ontario in December 2007. The Parvez case sparked a sustained and furious national debate about the spread of misogynistic and patriarchal practices that put women and girls at risk of violence and death, though there had been many such murders dating back decades before Aqsa’s death. The debate intensified two years after Aqsa’s death, when four members of the Shafia family were murdered in June 2009 in Kingston, Ontario in a mass honour killing – the case that is the focus of my true crime book, Without Honour: The True Story of the Shafia Family and the Kingston Canal Murders.
A Calgary murder case has established a significant Canadian precedent. For the first time, a multiple murderer has been sentenced to 75 years in prison without parole eligibility in a case in which the bodies of the victims were not found. A judge imposed the crushing penitentiary term – three consecutive life sentences – on Douglas Garland (inset) in February 2017, after he was convicted of three counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of five-year-old Nathan O’Brien and his grandparents, Alvin Liknes, 66, and Kathy Liknes, 53. Only a handful of Canadian killers have been sentenced to prison terms longer than 25 years, under changes to criminal law that came into force in 2011.
The parole board has recommended the laying of a criminal charge against a serial sex offender living in Vancouver because he breached conditions designed to protect the community. The board also imposed new conditions on him as it struggles to control the psychopath with a 30-year record of crimes including sexual assault and accessory to murder. Donald Gazley (inset), who is living at a halfway house in Vancouver, already is subject to an onerous 10-year supervision order, a rarely used form of close observation imposed on the most dangerous criminals. Gazley, 56, was diagnosed in prison as a “classic psychopath” and is considered a high risk to commit new sex offences. His last federal penitentiary sentence expired in December 2015 and he was released to a halfway house. His 10-year supervision period began at that time. In the roughly 13 months that he has been free from prison, Gazley has been repeatedly caught engaging in worrisome behaviour that appears designed to test the boundaries of his legal leash and put him in a position to procure new victims.
More than 40 years after Richard Ambrose (inset) was sentenced to hang for murdering two New Brunswick police officers, he is continuing to deny that he shot the victims. At a hearing in British Columbia this month, Ambrose, 68, told the parole board that he was only hired to “bury something” – he just didn’t know ‘something’ was the bodies of two policemen, Const. Michael O’Leary and Cpl. Aurele Bourgeois of the Moncton police department. At a hearing February 1 (read parole document, after the jump), the board refused Ambrose’s bid for full parole, noting that in the past year he has becoming increasingly hostile with prison staff and he was charged twice with breaking prison rules. Ambrose, who has changed his name to Bergeron, was ordered to remain behind bars in B.C.
Seven years ago, one of Canada’s most notorious imprisoned child killers, Saul Betesh (inset), began pursuing penpals on a U.S.-based website for lonely inmates. Betesh is now into his fourth decade behind bars and he’s still hunting friendship by letter. The reviled sex murderer has posted another online ad soliciting penpals, this time on a Canadian-based site. Betesh’s ad (screenshot after the jump) reveals that he’s no longer in Ontario – he was at medium-security Warkworth Institution near Campbellford, Ontario when he posted his 2010 ad – but he’s now at Pacific Institution, about 80 kilometres east of Vancouver. Six years ago, Betesh slyly concealed the horror of his crime. His ad described his offence only as “assault.” Now, he’s shown the temerity to confess he’s serving time for first-degree murder and acknowledges that “my crime was bad.”
There’s a growing clamour for creation of a sex offender registry in Malaysia, with the return to that country of serial rapist Selva Subbiah (inset), according to media reports from Malaysia. Subbiah, a remorseless and unrepentant predator who may be Canada’s most prolific rapist, was deported after completing a 24-year prison sentence for 75 crimes, including 26 sexual assaults against more than 30 victims. His sentence expired on January 29, 2017. Investigators believe he may have assaulted more than 1,000 women. He was flown to Malaysia on Monday, February 6, under guard.
Canada’s worst rapist, a serial predator who may have assaulted more than 1,000 women, is free from prison and one of the investigators who caught him is certain he’ll strike again. But Selva Subbiah, 56, (inset) should not pose a threat in Canada. He’s being deported to his native Malaysia. Subbiah was caught more than 25 years ago because of the dogged work of police investigators who amassed a mountain of evidence that sent him to prison for nearly a quarter century. His penitentiary sentence in Canada expired January 29, 2017. Subbiah is an unrepentant manipulator and liar who insists that he presents “zero risk” to reoffend. Experts who have examined him conclude that he poses a high risk to commit more, violent sex crimes, despite treatment he’s undergone while behind bars. He was repeatedly denied parole because of the undiminished danger he poses. Subbiah was caught in 1991 by Brian Thomson and Peter Duggan, investigators in the Toronto police department. In the podcast (after the jump), Thomson recounts in detail how he and his partner ensnared Subbiah with an undercover operation and located a trove of evidence that was key to Subbiah’s conviction and lengthy sentence.
(UPDATE – Feb. 1, 2017: As expected, Subbiah was ordered deported after an immigration and refugee board hearing.)
(SECOND UPDATE – Feb. 7, 2017: As I tweeted yesterday, Subbiah was flown to Malaysia, under guard, on Feb. 6)