McDonald’s murderer says he’s “funny,” “boring”

To the naïve or gullible, prisoner Derek Wood (inset) might seem an intriguing Renaissance man, based on a new, aggrandizing self-portrait. Twenty-five years ago, he shot three McDonald’s restaurant workers in the head in a bungled robbery-turned-multiple-murder in Nova Scotia. Wood is 44 and still behind bars in Quebec and now says he loves great Baroque composers of the 17th century. He invokes famed physicist Erwin Schrodinger. Wood insists he’s “funny” and a “bibliophile” with a “fondness for recondite words.” Really, he may simply be a remorseless killer who concocted a more likeable – and less threatening – persona, given his eligibility in September to seek full parole.

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“It’s insanity” to free serial killer who assaulted girl in prison: Ex-detective

A “sadistic sexual psychopath” who raped and murdered two teenage girls and attempted to kill a third – and who was deemed untreatable because of an overpowering urge to kill – has been released from prison on passes three times in the past six years and is seeking greater freedom, despite shocking conduct while behind bars, Cancrime learned. A parole board document (read it after the jump) reveals that serial killer Henry Williams (inset) sexually assaulted a young girl inside a federal penitentiary in Ontario where he is serving three life sentences.

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Kingston Penitentiary already 32 when it became nation’s prison

Kingston PenitentiaryCanadians are celebrating 150 years of nationhood on July 1, marking the birth of the Dominion in 1867. The year also marks an origin point for Kingston Penitentiary, although the institution already was 32 years old at the time of Confederation. Built on the north shore of Lake Ontario in eastern Ontario, on a small bay adjacent to the Village of Portsmouth, the facility was known for the first three decades of its existence as the Provincial Penitentiary at Portsmouth. It received its first prisoners on June 1, 1835. It was renamed Kingston Penitentiary in 1867, becoming the new nation’s first federal prison. Confederation may have stirred joy and national pride, but it was not a happy time for prisoners of the Dominion. A repressive regime of enforced silence, punishment and hard labour persisted at Kingston Pen.

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For a murder victim’s family, perhaps death extinguishes anguish

Ian FraserParents are not supposed to outlive their children, so when a child is murdered, an unnatural order possesses a family. The Fraser family is finally free of it. Thirty-two years ago, Ian Fraser (inset) found his mortally wounded 16-year-old daughter Heather on her hands and knees in a snowy park on a cold January evening in Smiths Falls, a small town in eastern Ontario. Heather had been raped and stabbed. Soaked in blood, she was crawling through snowdrifts, trying to reach a nearby road when Ian Fraser, searching, spotted a shape in the park. When the father held his first-born child, she uttered just one word: “Stabbed.” Hours later, Heather died in hospital. Last month, on May 10, 2017, Ian Fraser died at the age of 88. We must hope that death extinguished the anguish he endured for three decades. His wife Carolyn, Heather’s mother, died in 2014.

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The Mother and the Murderer: Woman confronts son’s killer in prison

Carolyn SolomonThis post includes a podcastCarolyn 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).

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Shafia legal appeals exhausted with top court decision

Hamed ShafiaCanada’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. 

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Rate of prison escapes increases 45% in 3-year span

RazorwireCorrections 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.

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Infamous honour killer father dies in prison

Aqsa ParvezMuhammad 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.

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