To the naïve or gullible, prisoner Derek Wood 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.
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.
Parents 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.
Carolyn 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).
Canada’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, 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.
Muhammad 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.
More than 40 years after Richard Ambrose was sentenced to hang for murdering two New Brunswick police officers, he is continuing to deny that he shot the victims. At a hearing in British Columbia this month, Ambrose, 68, told the parole board that he was only hired to “bury something” – he just didn’t know ‘something’ was the bodies of two policemen, Const. Michael O’Leary and Cpl. Aurele Bourgeois of the Moncton police department. At a hearing February 1 (read parole document, after the jump), the board refused Ambrose’s bid for full parole, noting that in the past year he has becoming increasingly hostile with prison staff and he was charged twice with breaking prison rules. Ambrose, who has changed his name to Bergeron, was ordered to remain behind bars in B.C.
Seven years ago, one of Canada’s most notorious imprisoned child killers, Saul Betesh (inset), began pursuing penpals on a U.S.-based website for lonely inmates. Betesh is now into his fourth decade behind bars and he’s still hunting friendship by letter. The reviled sex murderer has posted another online ad soliciting penpals, this time on a Canadian-based site. Betesh’s ad (screenshot after the jump) reveals that he’s no longer in Ontario – he was at medium-security Warkworth Institution near Campbellford, Ontario when he posted his 2010 ad – but he’s now at Pacific Institution, about 80 kilometres east of Vancouver. Six years ago, Betesh slyly concealed the horror of his crime. His ad described his offence only as “assault.” Now, he’s shown the temerity to confess he’s serving time for first-degree murder and acknowledges that “my crime was bad.”