Imprisoned child sex killer Saul Betesh says he’s prepared to bring on kidney failure by refusing to take insulin if federal prison authorities don’t acede to his demands, Cancrime has learned. Betesh has been in prison for more than 30 years, since he and two other men abducted, tortured, raped and murdered Toronto shoeshine boy Emanuel Jaques (inset) in 1977. The crime sparked national outrage and led to a massive cleanup of the sex trade in Canada’s biggest city.
Betesh wants out of medium-security Warkworth Institution, the federal prison near Campbellford, Ontario, where he’s serving his life-25 sentence for first-degree murder and he claims he’s willing to use desperate measures to get what he wants. I gained access to a confidential Corrections Canada memo written by a senior official at Warkworth, explaining Betesh’s demands and his actions. The March 3, 2011 memo says:
Offender Betesch (sic) wants a transfer to the East Coast (Dorchester) or Bath Institution, but out of Warkworth. Please be advised already has request for transfer in for Dorchester. Betesch can not go to Bath but knows this. Offender claims he is refusing his meals and now his insulin and will do so until next week. He says will then begin eating his normal rations but will refuse his insulin and thus will bring on kidney failure. Once that happens the offender advised that it will cost CSC $2000 per day to treat him and they will feel the pain and suffering they have caused him.
Betesh has been a thorn in the side of prison officials since he was sent to prison. In 2002, he sent me a letter, explaining that he was on a hunger strike because of the refusal of Corrections to allow him to practise his religion, Wicca. He also was demanding a transfer to a prison in western Canada and he wanted CSC to recognize that another male inmate is his same-sex partner. It was just one of a number of hunger strikes by Betesh, a once svelte man who ballooned to over 200 pounds while behind bars.
Betesh was eligible for a parole hearing in 2002, but he waived the right and has continued to do so every two years, likely because he knows that he’ll never be released.
Betesh was convicted in 1978, along with Robert Kribs and Josef Woods, of the sexual torture and murder of 12-year-old Emanuel Jaques, a boy that Betesh plucked off the street. Betesh offered him $25 to help carry camera equipment. Instead he took Emanuel to a flophouse above a seedy body rub parlour on Yonge Street, where he was forced into vile sex acts. Betesh confessed the details to investigators and even agreed to return to the apartment and re-enact the murder. He explained that he and his cohorts were gay predators who regularly snatched boys off the street and forced them into sex acts. Betesh said he and Kribs, Stretcher as he was known on the street, took turns violating the boy for about two hours.
After they had raped Emanuel, they fed him sleeping pills. They planned to release the drugged boy in a park, but Betesh said, in his confession that was read in court, that the pills didn’t work, so he tried to strangle him with a cord.
I went in and I put the stretch cord, stretch plastic to hold suitcases onto a car, around his neck and I started to choke him and it lasted about two or three minutes and I just couldn’t finish the job. I came out and by that time Joe suggested trying to put a pillow over his head so that I couldn’t see him and so be able to finish the job. Stretch and I went back in and we decided to drown him so we did it that way.
Betesh drowned Emanuel in a sink. They wrapped his body in two plastic garbage bags and a plastic curtain and hit it behind a pile of lumber on the roof of the building. The conspirators were caught within a few days. A fourth man, Werner Gruener, was charged but was acquitted of first-degree murder at trial.
Woods died behind bars in 2003. Kribs was denied parole in 2002.
Corrections Canada no longer comments publicly on hunger strikes by prisoners, though it was common practice in decades past to talk about them.