Sam Fried was a Montreal drug dealer, who died in 1974 at the age of 25 by overdosing on laughing gas and is remembered below in the most savage obituary of all time. Its author, Esmond Choeke, is best known as a stringer for the National Enquirer and an activist-resident who helped save some lovely old buildings on Jeanne Mance below Sherbrooke. In a phone interview last year Choueke stood by his his article, for "telling it like it is." Coolopolis has done considerable independent research on Montreal in 1968 and Fried's name came up often. One friend described Fried as a "cartoon character," including his face, which had exaggerated features. Another told Coolopolis of a photo album Sam liked to show people, jammed with pictures of his many female conquests. In those years sex flowed smoothly to people even like himself Yet another told Coolopolis of an episode where Fried perilously walked atop the barrier handrail ledge of a high-rise balcony in the Milton Park area where he lived. Fried - whose name was shortened from Friedman - shunned all drugs other than nitrous oxide, laughing gas, according to various sources. His killer batch of nitrous oxide was stolen from a West End dentist. Fried opened The Image cafe, in a building on Park that sat on the southwest corner of where La Cite highrise now stands. The place became a magnet for hippies, bikers, drug dealers and American draft dodgers and police would routinely round long-hairs up for no reason. The Image's co-owner was Cliff Gazee, who had dealt drugs with Fried before going straight and becoming a serious professional social worker in Ottawa. Gazee, now retired, told Coolopolis that the two opened the cafe, which had been previously known as The Op, after Gazee was treated to a savage beating by cops who knew of their drug operation but were unable to catch them. The Image only lasted the one year, 1968. Fried rarely showed up to The Image, as Gazee was left to watch over the place.
September 3, 1974
"Arrogant, stubborn and creepy" Wheeler, dealer, Sam died as he lived - hard! by ESMOND CHOEKE for The Gazette Arrogant, stubborn and creepy: These are adjective used by his acquaintances to describe Sam Fried, a faithful patron of the downtown pub scene who died in May at the age of 25. With his straggly beard and emaciated frame, Fried had been one of the mainstays of the Montreal counter culture since the pre-dawn stages of hippydom, since he got kicked out of Baron Byng High school and began scruffing around trying to make it big. His chosen profession was drug dealing and through his work and big talk he had made the acquaintance of a seemingly endless number of people. These are the people who became cutting him down while he was alive and continue doing it now that he's dead. Fried made his first bucks as owner of the now-defunct Image on Park Avenue, selling Reserpine, an animal tranquilizer, by calling it THC (the active ingredient of cannabis). The stakes grew higher over the years as he perfected the technique of "cutting" grass and hash with various spices to double or triple its weight. Believing it was him against the world and he had to be sly to get ahead, Sam never cared much for honesty. Talk about his death still kicks around in the archipelago of pubs winding from Bishop Street to Aylmer Street. There are many who won't believe the facts, who think one of his drug-dealing connections must have finally made good the threat of "blowing him away."
HEART ATTACK But his death was less spectacular than a rubout. he died quietly, at a party, lying on an air mattress that was inflated with nitrous oxide (laughing gas). He was inhaling the gas through a long plastic tube to get high and accidentally took an overdose. His body, weakened from other drugs taken intravenously a day earlier - and for years, for that matter - couldn't take the shock of the overdose and Fried died of a heart attack. Fried had many warnings to be careful, all of which he ignored in his unswerving headstrong way. His health was decrepit, he never had exercise. Yet he'd brag about how much dope he could take, how many times he'd caught venereal disease. When he passed out for the first time on nitrous oxide about a year ago, the scare kept him off drugs for a month or two. Some of Fried's acquaintance told him his karma was running out, he couldn't build up so much evil around him without having to suffer for it sooner or later. He just shrugged off these warnings and continued, as usual, cheating his partners, his runners and his customers. Which is why there is hardly a soul who will claim having been Fried's friend. According to one person who knew him well, "Sam's done the lowest, slimiest things a person could ever do. He'd still his closest friend if it would put an extra dollar in his pocket. He said "the only reason to know a guy was for financial gain, the only reason to know a girl was to screw her.'"
The truth was that Sam wasn't skilled as a dealer and made a lot of mistakes that continually drained his slim savings. He paid and so did those around him. His connections (including female runners) have been jailed in Canada, Israel, England, the U.S. and Amsterdam. He was jailed eight months in Bordeaux after one of his numerous busts. His first claim to glory was to have been the plodding autobiography he wrote in prison. The pedantic collection of his experiences, as he wrote them, ache to establish him as the "Boy Wonder" of Baron Byng, the guy who grappled his way to fame and fortune with courage and aplomb - Sam Fried, The World-Hopping Super Dealer and Jet Setter. This obsession with success through dealing - the only avenue he thought open to him - became his raison d'etre. He could often be seen holding court at a bar over a round of drinks (that he hadn't paid for) recounting tales of Owlsley acid, ingenious hash-importing techniques or for getting the better of police through his expert legal maneuvering. Only his long-time girlfriend knows how much of what he said was true and how much was fabrication to promote his self-made image. One strange angle about Fried that not many people knew about was his urge to become a respectable businessman. He spent half a night last summer outlining a complicated real estate deal to an acquaintance. But he never bought the old apartment building in that scheme. Still, it was one of his dreams. Now that he's gone, night deskmen in Montreal hotels won't be perplexed anymore at seeing this odd willowy guy coming and going at the strangest hours, accompanied by the weirdest people, all with suspicious bulges in their pockets and unwarranted briefcases. The transients he hired each summer to grind spices for his pot-multiplying labs will have to find another source of income. No more will Fried be able to infuriate, entertain and disgust the patrons on the islands of pubs, no longer will he hang out, strutting and knocking around in our world that never seems to tire of social climbers and carpet baggers.
A Montreal journalist wrote an article so bad that he was ordered to spend one year in prison, without any criminal trial or legal conviction. If this seems alarming, that's because it is, as it sets a precedent that any Quebec resident could conceivably be put behind bars simply for displeasing elected provincial authorities. John H. Roberts was born in Wales and moved from England to Montreal in 1907 in the loudest possible way. His plan was to tour Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ceylon (Sri Lanka) and South Africa to battle alcohol but it seemed he largely stayed in Montreal.
On every occasion he offered all-you-can-hear helpings of fiery oratory to small crowds in such places as Dominion Square from 1909, when he was aged about 45 to 50. Roberts, already a veteran anti-alcohol crusader, after founding the National Independent Temperance Party in Yorkshire, England in 1904. The group persuaded judges to set aside sentences to drunks who vow to stop drinking, and the practice caught on across the U.K. In Montreal he railed against alcohol, as a member of the Good Templars, an anti-alcohol group that for a time had a significant foothold in Montreal. (They've disappeared from Canada but maintain a presence abroad). Membership floundered so he jumped to the Dominion Alliance, which did pretty much the same thing. In one instance a gang of thugs attacked him while giving a talk in a vacant lot at Beaubien and Christophe Colombe in June 1913. According to an unsigned editorial in the Calgary Herald in 1923.
When he hit a town he always organized a parade into the saloon district. He spoke best with infuriated bartender hurling kegs of beer at him. He soon made himself, in certain, not quite the most selected, circles, the best hated man in Montreal. When he set out to raid a place he had the Northwest Mounted Police habit of bringing in his man. Twice inside a fortnight he was blackjacked by the gangsters and it took a squad of police to get his inanimate body off the field of combat to the nearest drug store. Once in Sherbrooke he had, if not as rough, at least a wetter passage, for he was ducked in the Magog river. In 1918 he was accused of accepting $300 for illegal protection. His accuser was arrested for perjury and Roberts was vindicated by his temperance activities suddenly and considerably slackened. After a period of comparative inaction he blossomed out into an editor and his present brand of fame.
Roberts took frequent aim at politicians and police, who he claimed turned a blind eye to various illegal bars, gambling dens and whorehouses. When officers asked to see his permit to hold a public meeting on Mount Royal in 1912. He defied them, suggesting they instead take aim at the real miscreants they were turning a blind eye towards. Roberts's wife Martha Kenyon (1865-1963) was also vigilant, as she spoke out against pornographic postcards floating around the city in an address to the Women's Christian Temperance Union. He ran for city council in 1917 but didn't come close to beating his opponent, the well-known Billy Weldon. Roberts rejoiced when the province passed a form of prohibition in May 1919, but the booze ban was partial and was later repealed. Roberts skedaddled for New Zealand, where he fought against the right to drink booze. He returned after three years and launched The Axe newspaper on 13 January 1922 with a sub-headline "lay the axe at the foot of the tree." It supposedly reached had a circulation of 60,000 by 1923. He claimed that he returned to Montreal because he wanted to fight against booze.
(All 33 editions of the huff-and-puff bluster of Roberts' The Axe weekly newspaper are available online at the BANQ site.). Roberts ramped up the outrage in each edition, brazenly pointing fingers, insinuating corruption and malfeasance among police, bank officials and anybody else he could take aim at. Roberts, doubtlessly encouraged and emboldened by support from his co-religionists, but also made many enemies. He took aim at low wages given to female employees at Goodwin's department store with a headline "Girl Slaves at Goodwin's" and decried that two Jewish girls (Eva Gill and Dorothy Gilmore) were fired for taking a Jewish religious holiday off. The edition was a hit. But the next week police detained Roberts on 18 October 1922 in connection with a libel complaint filed by the firm of Logan and Bryan. His troubles were only getting started. The tipping point came a few days later. Roberts published an accusatory article on 27 October 1922 typed with CAPS LOCK entitled "Blanche Garneau's Blood Cries Aloud for vengeance." It would prove problematic. *** So who was Blanche Garneau and why did her blood cry for vengeance? In short, Garneau was a 21-year-old woman in Quebec City who was raped and strangled to death in a Quebec City park. In long, Blanche Garneau was raised, along with her sister, by her uncle, who was not wealthy. On 22 July 1920, she closed the teahouse where she worked on St. Vallier street and walked home with a friend who left her at the Parent Bridge. She continued alone through Victoria Park where she was assaulted and killed near the riverside. Her body was discovered but for reasons unclear, police investigator Laureat Lacasse took a few days to show up to examine the crime scene and left swiftly after arriving.
The park groundskeeper told journalists that her assailants must have come to the spot by boat and news reports soon championed this unlikely notion. Police arrested and charged Raoul Binet and William Palmer but their prosecution fell apart in the fall of 1921, as the Crown was unable to even establish that either were even in Quebec City at the time. Popular frustration at the ineffective police and prosecturorial work fed various conspiracy theories. People started suggesting that high-ranking provincial government officials close to Liberal Premier Louis-Alexandre Taschereau were involved in some sort of cover-up. The rival Conservatives fed this notion while campaigning for a by-election and it wasn't far from anybody's mind when the parliamentary session opened on 24 October 1922. Roberts was brazen in his accusations published in The Axe a few days later. He offered a $5,000 reward to anybody who could turn up the killer.
The names of two members of the provincial legislature are coupled with this sinister crime and one may hear their names openly mentioned and their alleged guilt publicly discussed in the city of Quebec and is freely and frankly said that the cause of the inaction on the part of the authorities in clearing up the mystery and bringing hte guilty justice is because of the fact of these two persons being members of the legislature.
Conservative MNA of Montreal St Georges riding, Ernest Gault laid a complaint about the coverate at the Crown Prosecutor office. Roberts was arrested and taken to Quebec City by the Sergeant at Arms and forced to testify at the assembly on 2 November 1922. Upon counsel of his lawyer, Roberts refused to explain or justify his article. He simply pleaded his goodwill in the effort to solve a terrible crime. The assembly declared Roberts in contempt for refusing to name the two members he claimed were involved in the murder. According to British law, the provincial authorities only had the right to imprison Roberts for the duration of the session but Premier Taschereau considered that far too soft a punishment, so he tabled Bill 31, specifically designed to imprison Roberts for one year. It wasn't the absolute first time they had done such a thing to a journalist. The Quebec government had imprisoned Montreal publisher Oliver Asselin for 24 hours in the legislature in 1907 for having printed what they considered defamatory articles in his paper "Le Nationaliste." The Conservative opposition hesitated to go along with Roberts' punishment, even though they shared Taschereau's distance for him. The bill was passed on 14 November and Taschereau swore that he'd defend it to the highest authorities in London if required. Before becoming law, the bill needed to pass a second reading in the upper chamber and some representatibves, like Narcisse Perodeau applauded it and suggested it should go "even further."
However Thomas Chapais, the well-respected Conserbative, the MNA for the Laurentians, saw the legislation as problematic. Chapais, a 64-year-old veteran with 30 years experience in the Quebec legislature, was a powerful voice. He had served in the top levels of cabinet and edited the Courrier du Canada newspaper. He had once singlehandedly blocked a cornerstone legislation presented by the Liberals in 1897, so ears were open when he spoke about the special law to imprison Roberts. Chapais entitled his speech "requisitoire sur un ton d'un dignite parfait" and argued to put off the legislation, citing unfortunate precedents in the jailing of editors Daniel Tracey of The Vindicator and Ludger Duvernay of La Minerve in 1832, who were forced behind bars for an entire parliamentary session. Chapais expressed doubts that the legislature had the authority to do the same to Roberts. All during this time Roberts was in house custody, being offered hospitality in the form of good food and free cigars. This changed, however, when he was put inside a real prison after the bill became law. The law was entitled "An act to amend the Revised Statues, 1909 and to provide for the imprisonment of John H. Roberts" Roberts began his jail sentence on 30 December 1922. His newspaper continued publishing with him behind bars.
Groups such as the Canadian Labor Party slammed the government for jailing Roberts "before giving him the right to appear before a public court." In December 1922 Arthur Sauve brought forward a motion to repeal the bill condemning Roberts to one year in jail, as he stated that it "violated the privleges of the house." In April 1923 Leslie Roberts petitioned the federal government in Ottawa to have his father freed on the basis that he was "condemned without trial." Soon after his release New York authorities charged him with grand larceny, claiming he had written three cheques to his son Leslie M. Roberts, of an amount totalling $965. Roberts later traveled to New York to fight the charges but it's unclear what became of that affair. Roberts was released after serving 103 days in prison on 12 April 1923. He never apologized for his article. Within a few weeks Roberts spoke to an audience about his "distinction of being the only man in the British Empire and probably in the whole world for whom a special law existed providing for his imprisonment." His paper went broke soon after and its equipment seized for debt. Not much was heard from Roberts after this and indeed no confirmed photo can be found of him and even his date of birth and death are unknown, although he was likely born around 1865 and clearly died anytime before 1963. His son Leslie M. Roberts became a notable Montreal newsman, as did his namesake grandson, who was on radio in Montreal last we listened. Quebec authorities announced in late 1922 that many fellow inmates witnesses had come forward to note that Binet, who had been acquitted of the crime, had later confessed to killing Garneau but nothing came of that and he was not retried for the crime.
Barbara Pitcher, 18, was born into the top of Montreal society and so when she disappeared from downtown Montreal on 21 March 1929, it led to international headlines, airplane searches and a massive reward cash offering. Pitcher lived with her parents on the south side of Queen Mary just west of Roslyn and traveled to class at McGill in a chauffeured vehicle. One uncle, Sir Charles Gordon, founded both Dominion Textile and Dominion Glass while another. A.S. Eve, headed the physics department at McGill, which one day before announced a discovery concerning colors in the helium spectrum. The striking blonde beauty, an art student, disappeared after being dropped off at the downtown McGill Campus at 8:50 am that Thursday morning. At about 9 am she strolled east on Sherbrooke from where she should have been attended classes at McGill that morning. It sparked an international mystery that led to speculative headlines concerning "The Titian Girl's" being swooped up into a white slavery ring or a possible abduction. Her driver J.B. Conley was the first to report her missing. Within days uncle Charles Gordon had alerted news media and issued a $5,000 reward for any tips concerning her whereabouts, in a dispatch that included minute descriptions of her clothing and jewelry. But all reports - including a mysterious phone call that turned out to be irrelevant - came up flat. Pitcher, who stood 5'5" and weighed 150 lbs, had no boyfriend and few girlfriends and spent much time alone, although her mom, an invalid, tended to micromanage her affairs. She was said to be in a gloomy mood according to the last person who spoke to her, a friend who saw her at the McGill campus. The friend asked Pitcher where she was walking off to, but Pitcher failed to reply. Some speculated that she might have moved off to a city in the USA or returned to England, a place Barbara Pitcher was immensely fond of. The mystery was solved - or partially solved - on 7 May 1929 and the search called to a halt after Pitcher's body was found floating in the Back River behind a convent near Papineau and Gouin. Reports indicated that a man's body was also found in the water at the same site but reports did not link the Pitcher and the other body. Nothing else was mentioned of the man's body in connection with hers being found. The family was alerted in Val Morin, where they had taken up residence, and Conley was the first to identify her. Pitcher, it was concluded, likely committed suicide by walking out on the thin ice. The coroner chalked up her death to "asphyxia by submersion." Her body had no marks of violence.
1-Stephen Bronfman After years of rumbling without any solid results, Stephen Bronfman has led a group that finally purchased land for an upcoming baseball stadium downtown. The land, near Wellington and Bridge, is a beaut and is a key to bringing the Expos back, an essential element to keeping Montreal a city of consequence.
2-Genie Bouchard Perseverance. Critics can criticize but Genie is doing something more than just natural talent brings her as she's persevering, which is more important than the athletic accomplishment that once came so easy to her. Oh and she's also Genie Bouchard. She walks in the room and everybody's head turns.
3-Robert Tibbo As a youth I'd shag fly balls with Tibbo, who - I only recently learned - went on to become a top global human rights lawyer, representing Edward Snowden in Hong Kong. Tibbo's father Johnny, a family friend, was a well-known rounder who had problems with the law once or twice but this apple has fallen from the tree. Oft-traveling Robert, who recently was forced from Hong Kong, owns a home in Westmount.
4-David McMillan Owner and operator of Montreal's hottest restaurant and chain has also earned a reputation for brutal honesty in interviews, never sparing himself. It's a good lesson for anybody talking to journalists. Let it all out and good things will happen.
5-Ian Huggins Ian earns his spot on this list posthumously, alas, as the scenester, influencer and cell phone fixit guy succumbed to a heart virus a few months ago, which Coolopolis only learned about after visiting his FB page wondering why he hadn't been in touch with his customary tips and suggestions. Hundreds of people loved the generous, smiling Huggins as attested by his well-attended funeral.
6-Mike Griffin Although unfortunately sometimes known as the brother of a pair of high-profile gangsters, one now dead, another in prison, the owner of Honey Martin's Pub in NDG is now best known as a world-class referee who most recently oversaw the historic Ruiz bout at Madison Square Gardens.
7-Martin Lamontagne If you want to know why you can google and watch the famous "Oui papa" Au Bon Marche TV ad from the 1980s, it's because Lamontagne has been spending his free time scouring fleak markets for old VHS tapes that might have local TV treasures on them. The son of an east end haberdasher has saved much local TV history thanks to his Youtube account.
8-Vladi Guerrero Jr. The Montreal-born son of an Expo great entered the stadium before his first major league game (for a team whose name we will not mention) wearing a Montreal Expos shirt. Now if he could only learn English (and/or French).
9-Paul Jacobs Psychedelic-garage frontman rockstar always flies the flag for his adopted hometown in his many shows all over. Originally from Ontario, Jacobs excels not only as a singer and composer but also whips up some great looking artwork.
10-RWA Montreal's top public high school has graduated hundreds of top flight students since being transferred over from Montreal West High some years ago. For those fortunate enough to get accepted, the school offers the equivalent of a $20,000-a-year education for free.
Photo collage of Marguerite Pitre hanging at Bordeaux Prison
A gallows at Bordeaux Prison, not far from the heart of downtown Montreal, was where many criminals breathed their last breaths between 1913 and 1956, with the affairs frequently overseen by hangman Arthur English. Coolopolis has undertaken to provide some basic details of as many of these hangings as it could unearth. Hopefully this list will make you appreciate your freedom and good fortune.
1734 Black slave Angelique was hanged after setting a fire that spread and destroyed part of the city including Hotel Dieu. 1736 Two were hanged for counterfeiting currency.
1752 Jean Baptiste Goyer dit Belisle killed Jean Favre and his wife Marie Anne Bastien in a robbery inside at a small chapel at what's now Guy and Dorchester. He was executed by 'breaking alive" on a wheel at Customs House Square in Old Montreal. A cross commemorating the event has sat at Guy and Dorchester since 1767. 1829 Three men were hanged in Montreal for theft of an ox. 1839 Rebellions Political rebellions led to the hangings of Joseph-Narcisse Cardinal, (21 Dec. 1838) Joseph Duquet (21 Dec. 1838) François-Marie-Thomas Chevalier de Lorimier (December 27, 1803 – February 15, 1839) François-Marie-Thomas Chevalier de Lorimier, Pierre-Théophile Decoigne (18 January 1839) François-Xavier Hamelin, Joseph-Jacques Robert, Ambroise Sanguinet, Charles Sanguinet, Amable Daunais, Charles Hindenlang (15 February 1839), Ambroise Sanguinet, Pierre-Rémi Narbonne (15 February 1839) and François Nicolas. Amable Daunais on 15 Feb 1839. Hindenlang screamed "Vive la liberte" before dying. Nicolas said he regretted his actions. A colourful newspaper description was reprinted across North America in 1887 relating the purported hanging of a one-handed rebel named Jules Delacroix in the late 1930s but it appears to be apocryphal.
John W. Hawlett 17 Dec. 1858 Got drunk and killed his wife. Judges Lafontaine and Aylwin wept openly when issuing the sentence on 22 Oct 1858. Only one newspaper mention is found of the affair so it's unclear if the execution took place or was commuted.
John Mawn 31 October 1861 A private in 16th British Regiment was hanged for killing Sergeant Edward Quinn, of Ireland, of the same regiment. Mawn had been drinking when he shot the well-liked Quinn inside the barracks.
Joseph Mack 24 Nov 1866 killed a fellow soldier in June 1866. A large crowd watched on as he fell through the trap and died instantly and the crowd swiftly departed.
John Lee 18 Nov. 1871 Lee, a 27-year-old Norwegian sailor was hanged for killing Mrs. Foster on 3 May. The 1870 law ordered that executions take place just before noon but that was changed in 1942 when all provinces agreed that they be held just before midnight.
Hugh Haynen Dec. 9 1881 for murder of William Salter, fellow convict. He was contrite and hanged without any cover over his face. Sir John A. Macdonald declined to issue clemency.
Timothy Milloy 16 April 1883 for killing William Nesbitt, farmer at Longue Pointe.
Joseph Ernest Laplane (aka Laplaine) 13 Dec. 1901 for killing his boarding house mistress Madame Lefebvre on Notre Dame in St. Cunegonde (now St. Henry). He was in love with her. He shot her in the head with the intention of killing himself afterwards. Instead he went to the police station to confess. Many people attended the hanging.
Thosvald Hansen, (aka Thorold, aka Thorval, aka, Thorwald Hansen) June 13, 1902 The Dane was hanged for stabbing, breaking the neck and killing Eric Marotte, 9, of Westmount to get 17 cents the boy was jangling in his hand. Marotte's brother found his brother's body later. Hansen went to a police station and confessed. Tickets were sold to watch the hanging. They cost between 50 cents and $10.
Timothy Candy hanged 18 November 1910 for killing Constsables Fortin and O'Connell. Sheriff Lemieux deemed that it would be a strictly private affair. Candy explained that he carried a gun as part of his duties as night watchman Montreal factory. He was arrested after a disagreement at a store on 6 May 1920 and the two police officers twisted his arm while arresting him. Candy, as a reflex, fired the gun. The judge wept openly as he heard Candy tell the story.
Francisco Creola 26 May 1911 Hanged for killing Giuseppe China in a rooming house on Richmond Ave. in 1910. About 100 police officers oversaw an estimated crowd of 2,000-3,000 onlookers who could see the hanging from neighbouring roofs and windows, with some homeowners charging entry for the event.
Antonio Farduto 13 Dec. 1912 killed stone-cutter Louis Hotte, whose body was found in a lane near Clark street 30 July 1912. Farduto slashed the man's throat with a razor and stole his tools.
Carlo di Battista 20 Dec. 1912 di Battista, 48, killed Salvadore Macaruso on 22 July 1912 in a lovers triangle affair. Hanged in "the local jail yard." He threatened to resist but ultimately complied. He attempted to give a speech but hangman Ellis simply covered his head with a black cap.
William Campbell 24 January 1914, for slicing the throat in Montreal West of his girlfriend Lillie Jackson's ex-boyfriend George Muir in August 1913. Campbell had just gotten out of prison and was jealous that Hibbart was with Muir. Campbell was African-Canadian. This was said to be the first hanging at Bordeaux Prison. According to one report, the general public would no longer be permitted to watch executions after this, although police officer Arthur Lefebvre later said that he would rent a spot in his apartment nearby to allow people to watch the hangings. Giuseppe Nuccera 27 September, 1918 Killed fellow Italian Belliol with an ax during a fight. Left his body in a deserted hut on Raymond Lane.
Exalaphat Pitou Benoit
Antoine Spracuse 12 September, 1919. aka Antonio Sprecago and even Guiseppe Speccaci The Italian reportedly survived several minutes after his hanging after the drop failed to snap his neck. His heart beat for several minutes before a doctor pronounced him dead. He was sentenced for murdering James Robert, a Grand Trunk Railroad foreman in March 1918.
Patrick Delorme,Romeo Lacoste and Allen Murdock 23 January 1920. All three were hanged together for the murder of Alcide Payette, farmer at St Supice Quebec, on 17 August 1917. After the hanging the Lacoste family obtained a court order to have the three wax likeness of the men being hanged removed from the Eden Museum on St. Lawrence in the Monument Nationale.
Wilfrid Saint-Onge 15 June 1923. The 21-year-old was found guilty of killing Nestor Gabrielovitch 1 April 1922. He was declared dead 12 minutes after being dropped with the noose around his neck. Around this time federal MPs argued whether or not the Lord's Prayer should continue to be recited prior to hangings. It was decided that it should not be.
Louis Morel, Tony Frank, Frank Gambino and Giuseppe Serafini 24 October, 1924 The four were hanged together for their part in the shootout with police in the tunnel at Moreau and Ontario following a bank robbery. Serafini the youngest, was found to have a small metal saw blade hidden in his shoe when hanged. Joseph Mauro 19 December 1926 for murdering Donald Carragher, 28, on 22 July 1926 at the Dreamland Club on the Main near Ontario. He ordered customers to line up to be robbed at gunpoint. Carragher was shot as Mauro aimed at Arthur Duffy of Malone, New York who was picking up a chair to attack Mauro. Duffy was hit in the neck but survived.
Georges Merle 5 August, 1927 for killing Andre Marelle in an apartment on City Hall Ave. 21 Dec 1926. Also accused was Ellie Baranes. Housekeeper Cordelia Ranger testified that Merle hit a woman that Marelle was with, named Armandine Reeves, in the parlour, leading to a quarrel that led to Merle shooting his former friend dead. Reeves herself testified that Merle had "sold her" previously for $20 to another man.
Joseph Chabot 8 February 1929 Chabot, a lumberjack, 38, was hanged at Bordeaux. A report stated that it was the "first time in the province that the death sentenced has been carried out without representatives of the press and public being present." Chabot had stabbed a woman in a rooming house dead 15 147 Vitre E. on 2 June. A large knife was found stuck in her throat. He immediately confessed to the murder, saying that she had provoked him by hitting him with a beer bottle. Chabot was descried as being "mentally below normal." Normand Menard and Laurence Menard 20 December 1929 for killing John Earl Dunham of Charcoal Supply on 26 Feb. 1929. The hanged men were described as "Detroit-Windsor gunmen" and ballistics from Ontario provincial police led to the conviction.
Salvatore Laradello 11 July 1930, for murdering Vincenzo Dantoni, who was shot four times on the street outside of his home at 1075 St. Lawrence on 28 July 1929. The had been were old friends from Palermo. Also arrested was Giovanni Monarchia, who was released but rearrested for perjury.
Paul Belisle 19 December 1930. He murdered Montreal police officer Constable Dollard Pelletier on 4 Aug 1930. Bellisle, 31, was a father of a six-month old daughter and had been out of work for some time after driving a taxicab and working at the Montreal Tramways Company. He shot the cop in the abdomen after being caught trying to steal food for his wife and child from a shed behind a grocery store.
Thomas McHugh 28 January 1931 for killing Arthur G. Reid, DeLuxe Taxicab cashier on Jan. 28, 1931 at 4 a.m on Ontario Street near Jeanne Mance. Others charged were Thomas McHugh, who fired the shot, Maurice Clement Poismans, Amy Irish and Carmen Lefebvre. They were arrested seven hours later. Police believed McHugh was an alias for Thoams McCafferty who was wanted for killing a man in Philadelphia.
William Wilkinson 19 February 1932. Killed Marcel Dupre, 21, dead in a restaurant robbery on Amherst. Accomplice Jack Edgett was charged with manslaughter, which irritated Dupre as he figured he too should have been hanged.
Charlie Schwartz 5 May 1933 Schwartz, also called John Herman, was hanged for killing night watchman and war veteran John Jarvis 19 Sept 1931 at 1410 Stanley. "He was the first Hebrew to be hanged in the province of Quebec." His supposed accomplice Joe Bedetti was never caught. Schwartz's black hair turned grey during his time on death row.
Phillias Pelletier 12 January 1934 for killing his cousin Marie-Ange Guerin on 20 July 1933. His case made news across North America after he was convicted on the basis of a button found at the crime scene.
Tomasina Sarao, 46, (nee Teolis), Angelo Donofrio, 19, and Leone Gagliandi, 30, 29 March 1935 Trio hanged for killing Nicolas Sarao at Blue Bonnets for his wife seeking $4,500 insurance cash. Tomasina was decapitated after the hangman blundered in weight calculations. Hangman Ellis was forced into retirement after that blunder and lived a squalid existence until his death three years later in a rooming house on Ontario Street.
Joseph Alisero 3 May, 1935. Killed girlfriend Graziella Viens, 28, around 14 May 1934. She had been his mistress and her dead body was found jammed in the rumble seat of his car, abandoned on St. Dominique near Liege. She had been shot four times in the head. Alierso vigorously claimed his innocence.
Armand Marchand 5 June 1936. Marchand, 30, an unemployed shoemaker, killed his girlfriend Jeanne Lemaire, 35, with a hammer in 27 August 1935. Joe Branchaud, aka, Camille Branchaud likely a pseudonym, performed the execution, as well as others across Canada before he died around November 1972.
Gaetan Choquette 20 August, 1937 A 20-year-old farmhand was charged with strangling Mrs. Henri Brousseau, 31 of Chambly Road Longeuil. His motive was not clear. He had worked at the farm for 18 months. The victim's husband had died two months prior. She had not been robbed.
Exelaphat Benoit 22 April, 1938. He hanged for killing Hyacinthe Cote on July 21, 1937. Cote was a landlord found strangled to death in the city of St. Laurent. Cote was a powerful man whose body was found in a ditch with a handkerchief knotted around his throat and hands tied behind his back. Also charged was Lionel Gauthier, who turned witness.
Georges Dagenais, 6 May, 1938 The 22-year-old shot and killed J. Sylvia Benoit, a wholesale tobacco merchant from the Bonsecours Market on 22 Dec. 1937. Testifying as a witness against Dagenais was his 18-year-old accomplice Maurice Guibord. They had driven from a rooming house at 1212 Berri to the store in a car they had stolen the night prior.
Louis Viau, 20 January 1939 The 42-year-old was found guilty of slaying his wife Marie Louise Fournier with a hammer 29 October 1937, leaving her body on the rain swept street on Charlemagne Ave. just north of Sherbrooke. Homicide inspector Fitzgerald knew that she didn't die from a hit-and-run accident because the soles of her shoes were dry. The couple quarreled often at their place at 1435 Iberville where police arrested Viau in his bathtub within an hour. It was the first execution in Montreal since Arthur Ellis died.
Achille Grondin, 44, 23 February 1940 and his new wife Marie-Louise, 40. They killed her first husband Vilmont Brochu in 1937 in St. Methode Beauce, with arsenic. She said she resented the work her made her do, which ranged from clearing stones from the field to selling his meat and driving his taxi. She pleaded innocence but after found guilty she wrote the justice minister to ask him not to commute her sentence. The two ask the mayor to hold the execution elsewhere, so both were hanged at Bordeaux.
Marie-Louise Cloutier, 40, 23 February 1940, hanged for killing her ex-husband Villemond Brochu with arsenic in Aug, 1937 in St. Joseph de Beauce.
Zenon Paul Limoges, 33, 7 Dec. 1940, Montreal, for stabbing his wife Alphonsine Lecompte, 40, in the heart on the Lower Main when he caught her with new beau Marcel Berthiaume, 23. He claimed he only wanted to hurt her so she'd be taken to hospital where she'd have time to think.
Gordon Smythe 19 September, 1941 for killing his landlord Jean Baptiste Beaudry, 70, on the porch of the home he was kicking him out of at 324 Egan on May 31, 1940.
Arthur Simoneau 23 January 1942 He killed wife Lucienne Boule at their small home at 330 Lagauchetiere E early on 3 June 1941. He was condemned to death on 23 October and was so indifferent to his own fate that he declined to sign paper requesting that his hanging be commuted. Simoneau had been discharged from the Canadian army as medically unfit and by the time of his execution weighed only 104 pounds.
Raymond Gagne 27 March 1942 for killing George E. Roberts, a school caretaker at the English School on St. Antoine Street in Joliette. Roberts' head was found cracked with a crowbar in the basement of the school on 13 Feb. 1939.
Laurent Lamirande 4 June 1943 The 21-year-old was hanged for clubbing to death Paulette Richard and killing her mother by fire at Amos Quebec in October 1942. He stole $200 and set fire to the home. A jury in Val D'Or needed less than an hour to declare him guilty on 8 October 1942. He was hanged in Montreal at Bordeaux.
Roger Beaudoin 20 August 1943 Beaudoin, a 23-year-old soldier on leave, went with his pal Lucien Valiquette, 25, to rob the Guaranteed Pure Milk company on night at 3140 Rouen in the east end. Valiquette got greedy and sought to rob elderly night watchman Francois Mignan, 62, of his $20 weekly pay. They slugged him in the face with a crowbar.
Lucien Valiquette 20 August 1943 Duo killed night watchman Francois Mingan, 62, November prior. They killed the WWI veteran with a crowbar. See above and this writeup as well.
Albini Plouffe 2 March 1945 Part-time lumberjack Plouffe, 22, shot and killed girlfriend Jeanne d'Arc Marion, 21, outside of the home where she worked in Joliette on 9 November 1941. He led police on a 66-hour manhunt in the woods before being captured. He underwent two trials before Dr. Romeo Plouffe, Bordeaux prison medical officer, pronounced Plouffe dead 19 minutes after the trap was sprung at the gallows at Bordeaux.
Roland Chasse, 15 February 1946 for killing little John Benson on snow Mount Royal Park 24 Feb 1945. More here.
Ovilda Samson, 12 July 1946 Samson, 53-year-old carpenter, bludgeoned to death Marie Anne Tougas, 40, and Leone Tougas, 45, (described as "spinsters") at their home in St. Jean on 1 September 1945. "I don't need a lawyer because I am guilty," he initially said. His attempt to retract his confession failed.
Eradicate Montreal's public lawns: that's the bizarre proposal floated by Projet Montreal this week. Beautiful, living blades sprout heroically from the soil each spring, providing vernal joy for urban residents, as all appreciate the pleasure of lush, gorgeous green grass lawns. But hold tight, Montreal's supposedly environment-loving municipal administration Projet Montreal is proposing to replace our beloved grass, citing high mowing costs. The proposal is outrageously obscene, of course, but particularly because Montreal falls far short of supplying the minimum hectare-per-resident municipal standard of public green space. So Projet Montreal has no legitimate excuse for being unable to maintain Montreal's relatively small supply of grass. Anybody who has ventured into a city of Montreal park within the last couple of years has noticed that grass has been tragically neglected, as straggling weeds sprout up where the blades once gloriously rose. Allowing - or even encouraging such neglect - harms everybody, but particularly the poor, or any condo or apartment dweller who does not have access to their own private lawn. Projet Montreal announced this week that city councillor Eric Alan Caldwell has been given the unenviable and futile task of finding a replacement for grass. What on earth could possibly be better than grass? Mud? Weeds? Concrete? And yes that's the same Projet Montreal party which for years has claimed to care deeply about green spaces and the environment. Montrealers still suffer the consequences of the last grass mowing-saving initiative from the 1950s, as asphalt covers linear lawns designed to line sidewalks in many parts of town. Be vigilant in your opposition to this attack on grass, or brace for a similar nightmare. The Projet Montreal needs to enthusiastically tackle its duty to protect and nourish grassy green spaces, no dereliction of that duty should be tolerated.
The land around what's now the western end of The Boulevard hosted the grassy links of The Westmount Golf Club until about 1910. These photos demonstrate that what's now super-expensive real estate was once a place where you'd here "FORE!" and "bird-eeee!!!" on a rambling golf course that sat on a plateau near the top of the hilly neighbourhood. Little was written about the club in newspapers but we are told that members attended an annual winter ball at the Windsor Hotel, as noted in an article from 1901. In July 1905 the Westmount Golf Club beat competitors from the Beaconsfield club, with 22 players on each team battling it out. The circumstances of its disappearance are not spelled out in any available newspaper article but it seems self-evident that people wanted to live in the area more than they wanted to whack balls there. Much of the land that housed the golf course was sold off at an auction in October 1911. Elsewhere in town Montreal West was busy removing the giant horse racing track that occupied a good chunk of its territory. Those with a keen eye for geography speculate about where each of these photos was taken.
Montrealers suffer a drastic shortage of green space much more serious than its urban counterparts elsewhere. We fall woefully below the standard urban minimum of 2k hectares green space per 1k inhabitant. If you subtract Angrignon and Mount Royal parks, our park situation is abysmal indeed. The Projet Montreal administration was swept in with bold environmental promises but have been blind their own contribution to the ongoing erosion of green space. There is a simple solution: ban councilors from sacrificing public green space. City councillors have long reduced Montreal's green space by handing it off to groups that they feel will provide them votes in coming elections. Take the example of St. Raymond's parish in lower NDG (below the tracks on Demaisonneuve and west of Decarie). The area contains only one-tenth the standard urban minimum of green space. That tiny sliver of remaining green space is concentrated in the 270,000-square foot Oxford Park and councillors have been permitted to parcel it off a staggering pace. One third of that precious green space in the park was given away over the last two decades. Firstly, the grass soccer field was fenced off and replaced with plastic, costing 70,000 square feet. Another 10k of green was taken away for a community center. Then an additional 5k square feet claimed for a bocce court. Then another 12k was paved over for an oversized basketball facility. The basketball court was particularly galling, as the self-proclaimed "green" Projet Montreal city councillor Peter McQueen had 12,000 square feet of green space paved over without any discussion with local stakeholders. The outdoor court sits 40 yards from a newly-built public indoor basketball court. To make matters worse, the borough last year graveled over an 1,000 square feet of green park space for an old abandoned shipping container, which will be purportedly used one day to give out crayons to summer camp kids, a function that could have been easily handled by the adjacent community center. So in total the 270,000 square feet of green space has been whittled down by about one-third without any consultation or thought to its impact. In this case - and surely other areas have seen their parks eroded in the same way - the borough overlooked another possible solution that would have prevented the senseless loss of green space. The city owns a nearby 300,000 square foot parking lot and warehouse facility at Madison and St. James. It is fenced off from the public and was once partially used as an environmental recycling dump. The area surrounding that 300,000 city space are getting rapidly developed, so there's little valid argument that a sprawling city truck parking lot fulfills the best-usage criteria for that land. The trucks and storage space on the 300,000 square feet city lot could be relocated to a more suitable nearby industrial area like Ville St. Pierre and this newly-freed up area used to create recreational facilities or green space. So far municipal authorities have been unwilling or unable to make a better use of their sprawling snow truck parking lot but have had no difficulty whittling away the precious green space in the area. If a municipal administration wishes to represent good environmental practices it needs to walk the walk and not just talk the talk. It must threaten with banishment any councillor who gives away a single blade of public green space.
Marie Jeanne-d'Arc Michaud seen in custody in 1952
Ste. Agathe's Marie Jeanne-d'Arc Michaud became North America's hottest front-page criminal in the summer of 1952 when the "tiny, hot tempered" songwriter faced trial for masterminding a $1.5 million burglary in Reno, Nevada. Michaud's criminal adventure began when she left Quebec to marry a doctor in Connecticut. After some time the two agreed to go to Reno for an uncomplicated divorce. Michaud, who grew up in a convent, was enthralled by the big spending, wild-west atmosphere of the fast-growing gambling mecca of Reno, so she opted to stay. In June 1951 Michaud, 35, met LaVere Redfield, 53, an eccentric millionaire who'd seek to save a penny on a cantaloupe on the same day that he lost $35,000 at the casino. Michaud - like many small town Catholic women from her era - knew how to maximize her charm to seduce a man into her web of desire. The long-married Redfield found himself falling in love with his spicy Quebecoise mistress Michaud and the two took covert trips together, with Redfield promising to marry her one day. Redfield lived in a gaudy 14-room mansion but sought to downplay his wealth by dressing like a farmhand in flannel shirt, jeans and work boots.
He had made a fortune from oil and other investments and moved to Reno from Southern California in 1935 along with wife Nell, as he was lured by the state's lack of corporate, state and inheritance taxes. He'd frequently attend Reno city council meetings to squabble with town council over his tax bill. Redfield mistrusted government and banks and had a then-staggering net worth of $70 million at the time of his death, yet he'd often walk a good distance from his mansion to save gas money. Michaud was enjoying intimate time with Redfield one day at his home while his wife was out of town. Visitors dropped by and Michaud dashed to hide in the closet. While sitting in the dark, the tiny divorcee from Ste. Agathe felt something cold, hard and solid. It was a large safe. Michaud later asked Redfern about the safe. He opened it for her and tossed bundles of cash money into the air theatrically, "it's all mine!" he exclaimed joyously. "If you give me the contents of your safe it will make me financially independent," said Jeanne d'Arc Michaud, "that's something you said you wanted for me.". "Let me think about it," said Redfield said, leaning in to smooch her once again. But Michaud backed away. "I will never be yours again unless you give me what I want," she said.
Redfield and Michaud
Within 10 minutes, she said at her trial, Redfield agreed to give her the money in the safe if she made it look like a burglary. She later told a courthouse full of reporters and onlookers - including Redfield's wife Nell: "He was trying to kiss me but I said I will never be yours again unless this is a deal. We sealed a deal. you don't have to do it with pen and pencil. There are other ways." She'd need henchmen to pull of the heist. "But wouldn't they take some of the loot?" Redfield asked. "I would pick honest thieves," Michaud told Redfield with a straight face. Michaud got busy organizing the heist, making copies of floor plans, and assembling a crew of criminals that included Andrew Young, a 44-year-old construction worker, soap salesmen Frank Sorrenti, 35 and John Trilliegi, 37, both of Milwaukee, as well as 230-pound former boxer-turned casino bouncer Louis "Firpo" Gazzigli, 44, and the 65-year-old Benton Robinson, a handyman who lived in the mansion.
One afternoon in early March 1952 when Redfield was out gambling with his wife, the gang entered Redfield's mansion. They took care to give the guard dog a big ham bone to quiet him down. They made off with the safe, which they later cracked open with a sledgehammer.
In it were "bundles of 1920s-era oversized $10 bills, packets of neatly banded $1,00 bills with chubby cheeked Grover Cleveland's glowering beneath his droopy moustache, Mrs. Louise Root's treasured emerald-and-diamond brooch, crisply signed securities issued by the sewer pipe manufacturer Gladd,, McBean and Company of San Francisco; and assorted other valuables almost too plentiful for the five conspirators to comprehend." (description courtesy Jack Harpster's The Curious Life of Nevada's LaVere Refeidl: The Silver Dollar King.) In all, the crew made off with a haul of $1.5 million, making it one of the greatest-ever thefts in America up to that point. They could have absconded with more had they taken another beaten-up suitcase laying around full of cash. Michaud fled to Los Angeles with her cut of the loot, taking the largest share. The two soap salesmen returned to Milwaukee in a Cadillac. The caretaker stayed put, hiding his $37,000 in the cushion of a chair.
Two views of Leona Mae Giordano
But Andrew Young decided to stay in Reno for a few more days, where he met Leona Mae Giordano, a 30-year-old cocktail waitress and mother of two. Giordano accompanied Young to a tailor shop where he sought to be fitted for a new suit. While he was changing, Giordano stole Young's wallet and cash. She was astounded to find that it contained $10,000. Young rapidly realized that his new friend Giordano has robbed him. He sought her frantically around town, without success. Young went to the handyman and browbeat him into giving up part of his share. Giordano, meanwhile, took the cash to a casino and bought chips with a $1,000 bill. Casino staff had been alerted to keep an eye out for serial numbers of bills from the theft. The casino cashier alerted cops and they came and Giordano up. She confessed to robbing Young. Police located Young and he gave up the rest of the gang.
Authorities then learned that Michaud was on a train from Los Angeles to Chicago. They took her off and jailed her in Flagstaff, Arizona. She was carrying $50,000 in cash, 28 pieces of jewelry and 180 share in 57 corporations, all stolen from Redfield's home. She was also carrying a rhyming dictionary that she used in her efforts to compose song lyrics. Michaud attempted suicide in her Arizona jail cell by swallowing a large dosage of barbiturates. "My father's a doctor and from what he has told me, I thought it would take about half an hour for me to bleed to death." She survived and was charged with carrying stolen property cross state lines. Michaud offered a total confession. confessed to a Flagstaff newspaper reporter. "I planned the whole job and made all the arrangements. My parents taught me to be generous and to help needy people. I intended o use the money for good purposes. I made up my mind that as long as I was going to be Lavere Redfield's sweetheart, I was not going to be without the price of a room. The old miser had a couple of million dollar laying around the house."
Redfield wasn't cooperating with the investigation. He said that he was just happy that the dog wasn't hurt. Authorities jailed him to encourage him to cooperate. To everybody's surprised, Redfield refused to pay bail, saying that he'd prefer to be behind bars than face reporters. Redfield told the court that he barely knew Michaud but conceded that he had been friendly with her since meeting her at the roulette tables one year prior. When asked if he gave her permission to take the safe, Redfield repeatedly dodged the query. "The defendant Jeanne Michaud is quite a different personality" .. "I see no reason..." ... "to the best of my memory.. " On 25 June 1952 Michaud was found guilty and sentenced - like every one of the gang - to five years in prison. She was never heard from again and would be about 103 now if still alive.