Just before Christmas, 2001, when no one was paying attention, the infamous videotapes depicting sex killer Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka's vicious rape and torture of schoolgirls Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy were incinerated by court order. Future historians will have to speculate about just how demented Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka really were. An exercise kind of like speculating on how awful Auschwitz was. Except to holocaust deniers like Ernst Zundel, we can point to the evidence. Bernardo dad: Karla got away with murder
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MORE NATIVE STORIES: This is an aggregate of a theme in the site centred around the injustices towards the indigenous people of North America in Canada such as shootings, beatings, killings, rapes, and of course the famous "Midnight Tours". These individual stories rarely make it to the top 20 but as an aggregate theme they rank here. This is Canada's equivalent to Black Lives Matter.
Peter Reilly found his mother's severely battered body on the floor of their cottage. Police immediately found his demeanor odd and whisked him away. A failed polygraph examination solidified investigators' belief that he attacked his mother, and used the findings as a hammer during an 8-hour interrogation. A jury convicted him of first-degree manslaughter in 1974. He was exonerated after it was disclosed prosecutors improperly withheld an auxiliary trooper's statement which placed him far from the crime scene at about the time of the murder. A judge concluded "a grave injustice" had been committed and vacated the conviction with prejudice, meaning Reilly could never be retried for the still unsolved crime.
Ronald Dalton: Brenda Dalton, 29, dies of asphyxiation in Gander, Newfoundland. In 1989 Ron Dalton, her husband, is convicted of strangling her and is imprisoned and spends more than eight year in prison. He eventually wins a new trial at which he is acquitted after forensic pathologists testify that Brenda Dalton simply choked to death on Harvest Crunch cereal.
Brenton Butler: "Murder on a Sunday Morning", the winner for Best Documentary at the 2002 Academy Award ceremony, premiered on HBO. It recounts the trial of a 15-year-old Jacksonville resident who had been falsely accused of murdering a white tourist during a robbery. He had no gunshot residue on his hands. His fingerprints were not on the woman's purse which was stolen during the shooting. The $91 he had on him was from honest work at Burger King. Butler testified that police detectives beat a confession out of him. Settled for $775K.
Jaime Wheeler, 20, was murdered in her basement suite on March 12, 2000, stabbed and slashed 56 times. Dominic McCullock, 23, was convicted in 2004 of second-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison with no eligibility for parole for 15 years. He has maintained his innocence and is appealing his conviction. The trial heard that DNA found in blood on Wheeler's jacket and apartment door handles matched McCullock's, and a pubic hair stuck in dried blood on Wheeler's arm matched his.
Shannon Murrin: Mindy Tran disappeared on August 17, 1994. A lead RCMP investigator had Shannon Murrin brutally beaten up by thugs in 1995. He was charged with her rape and murder in January 1997 and acquitted by a jury in January 2000. A juror, later Murrin's girlfriend, wrote a story of what "really happened" and accused the media and RCMP of having him convicted before the trial began. The Mindy Tran website writes: "Her's is a well crafted tale transforming Murrin from a monstrous child killer into the lovable falsely accused rogue".
Ron and Linda Sterling were the key figures in the Martensville case, the most infamous sexual abuse trial ever held in Saskatchewan. They were found not guilty of 32 crimes against children. "We're going to be tainted as the most vile child molesters for the rest of our lives" says Ron. "No matter that I've been found not guilty. Our life can never be normal. We've lost two years of our lives. I used to have great faith in the justice system."
Rick Tabish - Sandy Murphy: Acquitted of murder. Allegations of corruption by Sheriff Lieseke who was left an estate of $250,000. A former deputy gave a television interview saying the sheriff was lying on the stand and also that after Sheriff Lieseke met with the Estate lawyers he told the two deputies what to write in their reports.
David Milgaard: The partly clad body of nursing aide Gail Miller, 20, is found in a Saskatoon snowbank. 1970: Milgaard is sentenced to life in prison for murder. 1992: The Supreme Court of Canada recommends a new trial after hearing evidence of a series of rapes committed in Saskatoon by RCMP snitch Larry Fisher who had already been convicted of four rapes and one attempted rape. Fisher was convicted in 1999 and sentenced to life in prison. David Milgaard was set free in 1992 and exonerated in 1997 following DNA tests. Gets $10M
Fallon Aubee né Jean Paul made Canadian history by being the first male inmate to be transfered to a women's prison after being declared a transgender. Aubee, of Maple Ridge, was charged with killing 19-years-old witness Gordon Spears gangland style in 1992. Spears was scheduled to testify at a murder trial in relation to the 1990 killing of 20-year-old Kin Wai Lee, member of the Lotus Gang. Aubee is serving a life sentence since 2003.
Michael Brier: was accused, in 2003, with the first-degree murder of 10-year-old Holly Jones. Briere, 35, a software developer originally from Montreal, was arrested at his apartment, just steps from the spot where Holly Jones was last seen. Her dismembered body was found in Lake Ontario hours after she was abducted from her west-end Toronto neighbourhood. 'Forty days of investigative work: That's what did it'
Yvonne Johnson: Under the influence of alcohol, a fight broke out between several people in her home at Wetaskiwin, Alberta. A man who her cousin accused of being a child molester, ended up dead. Johnson was very protective of her young children and was originally trying to protect them. At the trial, court transcripts show the prosecutor's own chief medical witness proved that had she committed the act she was alleged to have done, death could not have happened. The only role she had in the fight was placing a phone cord around the victim's neck for a few seconds, then released. 25 years.
[Dimitry] Matti Baranovski, 15 was kicked to death in 1999. 19-year-old Israeli soldier, Daniel Weiz, was arrested and charged with second-degree murder. A jury found him not guilty. He left for his native Israel two weeks after he was exonerated. In 2004 he came back to clear his name and launched a $9M lawsuit against the two investigating detectives -- alleging "Tunnel Vision" and that he was wrongly charged. "I'm not that killer they read about"
Scott Hornoff, ex Rhode Island cop, experienced both sides of the fence. If Rhode Island had the death penalty he would have been on it. Instead he was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Victoria Cushman. After six years, four months and eighteen days (on November 6, 2002) he was freed when the one responsible, filled with remorse and hauntings, came forward and confessed. "If it could happen to me - a white, upper-middle class, 40-year-old cop, it can happen to you". He now speaks out about judicial system.
Guy-Paul Morin: The body of Christine Jessop, 9, is found in a farmer's field. 1985-92: Morin is arrested, tried, acquitted, tried again and convicted of murder by a prosecutor now a judge. 1995: He is cleared and offered $1.25M compensation after DNA testing excludes him as the source of semen found on the child's underwear. An inquiry slams the investigation. The final report says mistakes by forensic scientists, police, and prosecutors all combined to send an innocent man to jail. He is the best known wrongly convicted exonerated person in Canada.
Percy Schmeiser: challenges Monsanto when their genetically modified (GMO) canola is discovered in the 70-year-old farmer's crops. As he speaks out against the Monsanto's business practices, he realises he is representing thousands of other disenfranchised farmers around the world fighting the same battle. Suddenly, he becomes an unsuspecting folk hero in a desperate war to protect farmers' rights and the world's food supply against what they see as corporate greed.
See the movie trailer Percy vs Goliath.
Clayton Johnson: Janice Johnson, 36, is found with fatal head injuries at the bottom of the basement stairs in her Shelburne, N.S. home. 1993-2001: Clayton Johnson, her husband, is convicted of bludgeoning her to death. A Texas pathologist who reviewed the original findings determined the woman died accidentally when she fell down the stairs backwards and struck her head. The federal justice minister refered this case to the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal which ordered a new murder trial for Clayton Johnson. Gets $2.5M
Dennis Perry: Unfair trial in Camden County, GA. Lost evidence key in slaying defense. Descriptions vary of 1985 shooting. A Georgia special agent says "didn't do it, plain and simple, and that's why we cleared him". Key was a pair of eyeglasses and Perry had 20/20 vision. The prime suspect the year of the murders was given immunity in exchange for his testimony.
* some are an aggregate across the site and/or a theme
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