You might expect that a self-confessed hitman who carried out at least three mob-ordered executions, many beatings and robberies might spend the rest of his life locked up. But Kenneth Murdock served just 11 years of his third penitentiary sentence behind bars, after confessing to three murders and cutting a sweet plea bargain in which he agreed to testify against former mob bosses. He was sentenced to life in prison, with parole eligibility after a mercifully short 13 years. Murdock has been turned loose, again, after convincing authorities that threats he made online did not portend more violence by a man with a long history of it (read the latest decision by the parole board, after the jump, and read 12 other decisions in his case, 61 pages spanning eight years).
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.
Killer James Giff convinced the parole board he’s not a threat to reoffend if given the least restrictive form of freedom from prison but, in an unusual step, the board barred the murderer from accessing social media such as Facebook and Instagram. Giff, who raped and stabbed a 16-year-old girl, then left her to die in a snowbank, was granted full parole, a form of early release from penitentiary that permits him to live on his own, without direct daily supervision. It’s a big step for a criminal once classified as a sadist, and who spent most of the past 30 years behind bars. The parole board decided, after a hearing July 7, that Giff won’t present an “undue risk to society” but it imposed several special conditions on his full parole (read them all in the parole document, after the jump). Giff has been living and working in Montreal.
A psychopathic sex offender has been set free again in British Columbia, after being briefly detained, despite the revelation that he was “harassing a vulnerable female” near the halfway house where he’s under supervision and other troubling discoveries. Authorities expressed “significant concern” after learning that Donald Gazley (inset) secretly struck up a pen-pal relationship with a female sex offender in a U.S. prison – a woman who helped a man abuse her daughters. Gazley has a three-decades long criminal record that includes sex crimes against children and vulnerable adults and a conviction for involvement in a murder. He appears to be a rare and particularly dangerous offender – a sexual psychopath who preys on children and adults, male and female. Most offenders like him resist treatment and never stop committing crimes.
Is a witness to evil, who does not intervene, culpable or guilty only of cowardice? Annette Rogers has been to this precipice. Her scarred conscience reflects her failure. She did not do the difficult thing, the right thing. If Rogers had, 16-year-old Heather Fraser (inset) might have survived her encounter with a killer. Fraser was raped and stabbed by James Harold Giff on a cold Monday evening, January 28, 1985, in Smiths Falls, a small town in eastern Ontario on the historic Rideau waterway. Rogers was Giff’s girlfriend at the time. For nearly 25 years, she kept a terrible secret about the murder, until she spoke to me in 2009 (the podcast, after the jump, features her interview). Rogers revealed that she was taken by Giff on the night of the murder – in an act that would forever bind her to that night’s horror – to the snowy park where he had left his victim after raping her and stabbing her twice. Heather wasn’t dead. Bleeding profusely, she was crawling on her hands and knees through nearly two foot deep snow toward a nearby street. Rogers says she heard – but could not see in the dark – Heather’s faint cries for help. Rogers did not do the right thing. She did not run to Heather’s aid, or call police or for an ambulance. She agreed with Giff’s demand for silence, and assistance. She became, for a time, an accomplice. Heather was found hours after she was attacked and was rushed to hospital where she later died. Rogers says her inaction stemmed from fear that Giff would kill her. He had threatened her many times in their abusive relationship, she says. After Giff was jailed for Heather’s murder, Giff warned Rogers that he would hunt her down after release and kill her. This lingering threat has driven Rogers, in an act of self flagellation, to attend every one of Giff’s parole hearings, to listen over and over again to the sordid details of his crimes, and to plead with authorities not to free him. Giff was granted day parole to a halfway house in Montreal in January 2015, but nine months later, his release was suspended, then reinstated. Corrections Canada, which was responsible for supervising Giff’s freedom, refused, at the time, to disclose why Giff’s parole was suspended. Recently, the Parole Board of Canada released documents (read them after the jump) that reveal Giff had a “change of attitude” that sparked concern.
NOTE: This is an updated version of a story first published in 2009. It includes new information, new documents and a new podcast that includes portions of my recorded interview with Annette Rogers not previously released.
The Federal Court of Canada has thrown out the claim of an imprisoned double cop killer that he’s been defrauded by Corrections Canada and has ordered him to pay $150 to cover CSC’s legal costs. Protonothary Roger Lafrenière cited “radical deficiencies” in Richard Ambrose’s two-paragraph statement of claim and noted that it contained only “bald allegations of fraud and legal conclusions.” Ambrose filed it in January 2016, alleging that Corrections Canada improperly withheld money from him each month for room and board, beginning in October 2010, while he was confined in prisons in Alberta and B.C. Ambrose, who changed his name to Bergeron after his imprisonment for the cold-blooded murders of two Moncton, N.B. police officers in 1974, is well known to prison workers and parole authorities as a bitter, confrontational and sometimes aggressive complainer.
Former radio star Jian Ghomeshi (inset) is not guilty of four sexual assaults and one charge of choking, a judge in Toronto ruled today, citing the “deceptive and manipulative” evidence of his accusers. The charges were laid against the former CBC personality after allegations that he assaulted three women between 2002 and 2003. The judge in the sensational case, William Horkins, made it clear in his ruling (read complete decision after the jump) that a finding of “not guilty” doesn’t mean the incidents didn’t happen. Horkins wrote that his finding “is not the same as deciding in any positive way that these events never happened.” But Horkins had harsh criticism for the accusers, saying he found it impossible to have “sufficient faith in the reliability or sincerity of these complainants.”
We may never know exactly how many times Melissa Ann Shephard (inset) has killed. In a criminal career that spans five decades, Shephard has sown confusion, obfuscated with layers of lies and masqueraded as a victim. The criminal justice system, unable to affix the damning labels she may deserve – serial killer, psychopath – continues to turn her loose to kill again and struggles to contain her. She has learned from her criminal mistakes and profited from her predation. Infamous as the ‘Internet Black Widow,’ Shephard was released Friday (March 18, 2016) from a women’s prison in Nova Scotia – amid a police warning – after her latest stint behind bars, a three-and-a-half year sentence. It was imposed in 2013 after she admitting spiking drinks of her newlywed fifth husband, 74-year-old Fred Weeks, with potent tranquilizers. An attempted murder charge was dropped when Shephard pleaded guilty to lesser charges. Two of Shephard’s four husbands who preceded Weeks ended up dead and another mysteriously fell ill immediately after meeting Shephard. Recent prison assessments (read what experts say, in internal documents after the jump) warn that Shephard scores high for some psychopathic traits, she is resistant to treatment and indifferent to the suffering of her victims. The only thing that has contained her lethal greed in the past 40+ years has been time behind bars and yet, the system has refused to apply the brand that could keep her locked up.