DNA match sinks killer’s “faint hope” bid for earlier parole

Science caught up to Richard Joyce, just as the imprisoned killer was about to go before a jury and plead for earlier freedom. Joyce, who is serving a life sentence for the 1991 murder of a gas bar operator in Kingston, Ontario, is expected to appear in a courtroom Friday morning to formally abandon his faint hope hearing that was scheduled to begin in two weeks, Cancrime has learned. In the afternoon, Kingston Police are expected to announce that they have charged Joyce in a 21-year-old unsolved sexual assault case involving a nine-year-old girl. The child was assaulted the year before Joyce and accomplice Terry Kennedy tortured and murdered Yvonne Rouleau, a 34-year-old mother of three.

A DNA match linked Joyce to the 1990 sex case – Canada has two national DNA databanks that are constantly being cross-referenced. One bank contains samples collected by investigators at crime scenes and from the bodies of victims. The other bank includes the DNA of criminals convicted of serious crimes who are required to surrender samples. Crooks who were locked up before the automatic sampling are systematically being ordered to give up samples.

Joyce is expected to be hustled first this morning to Kingston’s Superior Courthouse where he’ll give up on his faint hope hearing and then he’ll be trucked a few blocks north to appear in a provincial courtroom and make his first appearance on what will likely be eight sex charges. Joyce has already indicated to police and prosecutors that the doesn’t want to drag this out, sources tell me. He’s expected to appear in court again Monday when the case will be concluded in a remarkably swift three days.

The stunning turn of events spares a Kingston man the agony of enduring another faint hope hearing. Paul Rouleau, the husband of murder victim Yvonne, sat through the entire week-long hearing for Kennedy, Joyce’s accomplice. It wrapped up earlier this week (previous post on hearing) with the decision by a jury that Kennedy could not apply for parole until 2016, when he had served 25 years of his sentence. Joyce is eligible to seek full parole on the same date. The pair were caught nine days after Rouleau’s murder in May 1991. They were convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years. They stole a few thousand dollars from the gas bar after torturing Rouleau. She was repeatedly stabbed in the face and neck and her throat was slashed.

Look for more on this story later Friday.

» Faint hope explained

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