Cop killer Ambrose denied parole after “evasive” answers

Richard AmbroseA double cop killer has been denied parole after a hearing in which he was “evasive,” “condescending” and “sarcastic,” a document obtained by Cancrime shows. Richard Ambrose (inset), who murdered two Moncton, New Brunswick police officers – along with accomplice James Hutchison – in 1974, appeared this month before two members of the National Parole Board at a hearing held in Alberta, where he’s serving a life sentence in prison. Ambrose and Hutchison killed Cpl. Aurele Bourgeois and Const. Michael O’Leary in a horrifying slaying that earned them a trip to the gallows. They were spared the death penalty when capital punishment was abolished in Canada in 1976.

Const. Michael O’Leary (left) and Cpl. Aurele Bourgeois, killed in 1974

Ambrose apparently doesn’t like answering questions about the 1974 murders that put him behind bars and the parole board seems to think he may be faking a memory lapse about the killings. Here’s a snip from the written record of his September 16 parole hearing:

Throughout this hearing, you were evasive in replying to the Board’s questions. Whenever possible, you would stray off topic and speak about mistreatment by the Correctional Service of Canada. Through re-directed questioning, you did respond to the Board’s questions. However, your response displayed resentment, as speaking about your offences and your failed release did not appear to be part of your agenda.

Ambrose was granted full parole in 2000. While he was free, he suffered a brain injury and he became violent and threatening. Eventually, his parole was revoked and he was sent back to prison in 2005. Ambrose appears to use the injury to rationalize his inability to remember anything about his crime. The parole board says that his narcissism and his criminalized thinking lead him to “over-exaggerate the symptoms” of his head injury. During his hearing, his answers were often “condescending and sarcastic.”

Ambrose claimed he has no memory of the 1974 murders because of his brain injury and showed no remorse or victim empathy. Yet the board noted that over the course of his imprisonment and previous release, “you recall incidents with great detail and produce documents to challenge the opinions and decisions of authorities in the justice system.” The parole board members “questioned whether you are being truthful or selective in your recall abilities.”

The cop killer has refused to participate in psychological or psychiatric interventions in prison and claims he doesn’t need the help. He refused to undergo a psychological assessment for the parole hearing. Assessments compiled over the years say he exhibits the behaviours of an anti-social personality disorder.

Ambrose, who changed his name to Bergeron after he was locked up, escaped from a maximum-security prison in 1980. He and a fellow convict sawed through the bars of their cells, climbed down to the roof and used a homemade rope to get over the prison wall. He was caught three days later. In prison, he’s demonstrated “intimidating, aggressive and belligerent” behaviour toward staff.

He’s considered  a moderate to high risk to commit new violent crimes.

Here’s the record of Ambrose’s September 2010 parole hearing:


» My detailed account of the 1974 murders
» 1999 parole decision to release Ambrose
» Record of hearings in 2000, 2005, 2006
» 2008 parole hearing record
» Hutchison wins transfer to lesser security