Since posting recently about the 40-year-old unsolved murder of Christine Ziomkiewicz, I’ve learned that investigators approached a family member in the past few years and discussed leads that were being tracked. Bernie Ziomkiewicz, a younger brother of the missing Kingston, Ontario woman, says he met with a Kingston Police officer. He also revealed that he provided DNA samples to police.
The middle child of working class, immigrant parents, Christine Ziomkiewicz built a comfortable and promising life by the time she reached her mid 20s. She had a bachelor of science degree, a good job at a lab at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario and a loving and close family. On Father’s Day weekend in 1978, she baked a cake for her dad, Stefan. The following Friday, June 23, Christine bought groceries after work, chatted with a neighbour as she arrived home at her apartment and went inside. No one has seen her since. Police say she was murdered, though they have not found her body or a crime scene.
The three convicted Shafia family killers want new trials and Hamed Shafia, the youngest of the trio, wants to be retried or, at least, re-sentenced, as a youth. A panel of judges of Ontario’s top court is grappling with these demands following a two-day hearing this week in Toronto at the Court of Appeal for Ontario. The judges reserved judgment. There’s no timetable for a decision from the court. I think it’s unlikely the Shafias will be successful, on any of their grounds, because, as with some of their outlandish claims during their murder trial, they just can’t be believed.
John Gallienne (inset), a pedophile who exploited his trusted position as choirmaster and organist at Anglican churches across Canada to prey on young boys sexually, has been charged again with abuse committed decades ago. Now 71, Gallienne is charged with three counts of indecent assault on a boy in Kingston, Ontario between 1975 and 1978, when the victim was 10 to 12 years old, according to this story by reporter Sue Yanagisawa. It’s not surprising that another victim has come forward now, years later, and more charges have been filed. Gallienne has been affiliated with at least four churches across Canada, including Ottawa and Victoria, B.C. Past convictions have established that he was an insatiable predator with many victims. It is possible that there remain hundreds of victims who have never reported the abuse to police. Several of his Ontario victims committed suicide. There is no statute of limitations in Canada for reporting sexual assault and national surveys suggest most abuse is never reported to police.
Hamed Shafia (inset), the Montreal man convicted, along with his father and mother, of murdering four family members in what the trial judge called a “heinous” and “despicable” mass honour killing, is poised to present a new claim to Ontario’s top court in the appeal of his conviction. The youngest Shafia killer maintains that he was not 18 years old at the time of the murders on June 30, 2009, and he has documents newly obtained from Afghanistan, his birthplace, that purport to prove it, Cancrime learned.
The federal agency entrusted to keep 15,000 criminals safely locked behind bars in more than 50 penitentiaries across Canada apparently can’t safeguard one of its key administrative buildings from simple burglars. The facility in Kingston, Ontario – a site that, according to my sources, houses dozens of high-powered weapons and thousands of rounds of ammunition – was burgled recently by a thief who made off with keys to a prison service vehicle. The bandit got away largely because, remarkably, the Correctional Service of Canada regional staff college does not have a security officer on duty at the site overnight because of cost cutting.
There’s a perplexing – perhaps alarming – statistic in new national crime figures released today by Statistics Canada. The numbers show that Kingston, in eastern Ontario, now has the highest sexual assault rate of the 33 biggest Canadian urban centres in StatsCan’s crime survey. The sexual assault rate in Kingston (the number of crimes reported to police, factored for population) skyrocketed by 34 per cent from 2011 to 2012. The rate in Kingston for 2012 is 97. Winnipeg, now the most violent city in Canada overall, based on the latest violent crime severity index, is second to Kingston in sexual assault rate at 91.
(UPDATED JUNE 2013: Moore was convicted of second-degree murder after a jury trial – full story from the Kingston Whig-Standard appended at bottom of this post.) A killer who served 10 years in prison for gunning down a man in broad daylight on a street in Kingston, Ontario, is one of two people charged in a savage home-invasion murder. Kingston Police announced today that they charged ex-convict Phillip Melville Moore, 32, and Charles Nathan Thomas, 29, with murder. Moore was freed from prison not long before the killing. On October 25, 2010, masked intruders burst into the north-end Kingston apartment of James Clifford Richards, 32. Witnesses told me at the time that they believed Richards was stabbed and his throat was slashed. The witnesses said they believed there were three attackers.