Father time is completing the sentence the hangman could not. James Hutchison (inset), the imprisoned 83-year-old who murdered two Moncton police officers in 1974, could die within weeks, a parole board panel was told Friday during a hearing (I was the only reporter at the hearing) inside maximum-security Kingston Penitentiary in Kingston, Ontario. Because of a sudden, dramatic decline in the prisoner’s health, the parole board members made the surprise decision to adjourn the hearing, suggesting that Hutchison quickly submit a new application for a “compassionate, end-of-life” release.
The death of a Toronto police officer today, Sgt. Ryan Russell, 35, who was apparently run down by a crazed driver in a stolen snowplow, is a shocking, but relatively rare event. Statistics Canada figures (docs after the jump) on the deaths of police officers in the line of duty show that only a few are killed on the job, 125 in a 40-year span, and roughly nine out of every 10 police officers killed while on duty died at the hands of an assailant with a gun. Taxi driving is the most dangerous occupation in Canada, in terms of the risk of being murdered on the job.
Outrage erupted after the decision in March this year to grant imprisoned cop killer Craig Munro (inset) unescorted passes to leave prison. Munro nearly lost his freedom because of the publicity the decision attracted, Cancrime learned. The halfway house that agreed to accept the notorious killer backed out, citing “considerable media coverage,” a parole document (available after the jump) reveals. Another halfway house agreed to accept him. The parole board recently reviewed its initial decision to release Munro because of the change of plans.
A 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.
A judge has ordered Corrections Canada to move an ailing, geriatric double cop killer to a minimum-security Ontario prison with no fences and no armed guards so he can be closer to his sister. James Hutchison (inset), 82, went to court because Corrections denied his transfer to Beaver Creek Institution, near Gravenhurst. Hutchison is currently behind bars at Bath Institution, a medium-security prison just west of Kingston, Ontario. Hutchison suffered a “deprivation of liberty,” when Corrections blocked the transfer in July last year, Ontario Superior Court Justice Stanley Kershman ruled, in a recent judgment (full judgment here). “There was no new evidentiary basis being put forward to increase the applicant’s escape risk from low to moderate,” the judge wrote.
Imprisoned cop killer Laurie Ann Bell (inset), who was caught consorting with a male prison guard the last time she was free on early release from prison, is getting another shot at freedom. This time, not surprisingly, she’s being ordered to report all “intimate relationships and friendships” to her parole supervisor, with whom she has to make contact at least four times a month. An internal parole document (available after the jump) sets out all the conditions, including the requirement that she stay at a halfway house.
Imprisoned geriatric double cop killer James Hutchison (inset in 1974) is staying put in higher security. The ruthless murderer, who is serving a life sentence at medium-security Bath Institution, a federal prison just west of Kingston, Ontario, has not been moved to a minimum-security prison as scheduled because he’s undergoing treatment for cancer, sources have told me.
James Hutchison (jumpsuit) and Richard Ambrose (hat) are led into court in Moncton, New Brunswick, on Dec. 16, 1974. All photos courtesy, Moncton Times and Transcript
Thirty-five years ago, Canadians were stunned by a ruthless murder in Moncton. The picturesque east coast city was rocked by the slayings of two city police officers, Cpl. Aurele Bourgeois and Const. Michael O’Leary, who were pushed into shallow graves by a pair of kidnappers, then shot in the head. The killers were condemned to hang, but their sentences were commuted to life in prison when Canada abolished the death penalty in 1976. One of the killers, Richard Ambrose, has been free on parole, but is back behind bars. The other man, James Hutchison, who was fingered by investigators as the mastermind behind the kidnapping and the killings, is behind bars in Ontario but is working his way toward freedom, for the second time. After the jump, the parole records of both killers, the memories of an RCMP officer who caught the murderers, and the exclusive story of Hutchison’s pending transfer to a prison with no fences.