THE `OTHER GUY'

SOME OF CANADA'S MOST FA­MOUS MUR­DER­ERS WHO NEARLY GOT AWAY

Edmonton Journal - - NEWS -

Not ev­ery wrong­fully con­victed mur­derer gets to look the other guy in the eye. Steven Tr­us­cott, 75, for ex­am­ple, does not know who killed his class­mate Lynne Harper in 1959, a mur­der for which he was wrongly sen­tenced to die, and served a decade in prison, be­fore his 2007 ac­quit­tal and apol­ogy from On­tario for the mis­car­riage of jus­tice.

Some do, even­tu­ally. David Mil­gaard spent 23 years in prison for the 1969 mur­der of Gail Miller, and had his con­vic­tion over­turned in 1992, fully seven years be­fore the real killer, Larry Fisher, was con­victed with a DNA match.

Some are never quite sure. Robert Bal­tovich was cleared in the 1990 mur­der of his girl­friend El­iz­a­beth Bain, in part for ev­i­dence sup­port­ing the un­proven de­fence the­ory she was Paul Bernardo’s first mur­der vic­tim.

Guy Paul Morin got his first glimpse of the other guy this week, nearly 30 years af­ter he was wrongly con­victed in the 1984 mur­der of nineyear- old Christine Jes­sop. He got to see a dated mugshot of Calvin Hoover, and learn from po­lice that this real killer was dead. The case was closed by a DNA match, be­tween se­men found in Jes­sop’s un­der­wear and blood taken dur­ing an au­topsy af­ter Hoover’s 2015 death.

This shows, ac­cord­ing to Toronto Po­lice, that it was Hoover, not Morin, who was there at that ru­ral prop­erty 50 kilo­me­tres east of Jes­sop’s home in Queensvill­e, Ont., where her body was dis­cov­ered in a road­side copse of trees, back fac­ing up, legs un­nat­u­rally twisted, naked but for white socks with blue trim, with her cloth­ing strewn around.

The test was the fi­nal re­sult of a ge­nealog­i­cal anal­y­sis by an Amer­i­can lab that used the crime scene DNA to build a pos­si­ble fam­ily tree based on avail­able ge­netic in­for­ma­tion of mil­lions of other peo­ple.

The Toronto Star re­ported that po­lice had a judge ap­prove the test be­fore a fi­nal match was made.

“I am re­lieved for Christine’s mother, Janet, and her fam­ily, and hope this will give them some peace of mind,” Morin said in a state­ment through his lawyer. “I am grate­ful that the Toronto Po­lice stayed on the case and have now fi­nally solved it. When DNA ex­on­er­ated me in Jan­uary, 1995, I was sure that one day DNA would re­veal the real killer and now it has.”

Few peo­ple can truly say any­thing like that.

Some­times, for the wrongly ac­cused, the other guy is ac­tu­ally a wo­man, or even a youth. Some­times his iden­tity is ob­vi­ous. He may even be a co-ac­cused, sit­ting right there in the same court­room.

In the best-known such case, the 1971 killing of 17-year-old Sandy Seale in Nova Sco­tia, Don­ald Mar­shall Jr., a Mi’kmaq 16-yearold, was wrongly ac­cused of stab­bing his friend to death late at night in a Syd­ney park.

He de­scribed the real killer, Roy Eb­sary, to po­lice, only to be dis­be­lieved and wrongly con­victed in a racist le­gal catas­tro­phe that set the prece­dent for gov­ern­ment com­pen­sa­tion. Mar­shall, served 11 years in prison be­fore Eb­sary was con­victed of man­slaugh­ter and served a year. Both men are now dead.

Some­times there is no other guy at all. Wil­liam Mullins- John­son, for ex­am­ple, was con­victed for a mur­der that never took place and spent 11 years in prison. His four-year-old niece, Valin, died in his care, which only be­came a false charge of mur­der through the twisted and false ex­pert tes­ti­mony of Charles Smith, a dis­graced foren­sic pathol­o­gist.

In an­other case spoiled by Smith, Louise Reynolds spent two years in prison for the death of her two-year-old daugh­ter Sharon, whose in­juries from maul­ing by a pit bull were mis­in­ter­preted by Smith as a scis­sors at­tack.

For many wrong­ful con­vic­tions, though, there is some­one else out there, some­one guilty who was wrongly over­looked.

Pat­terns of wrong­ful con­vic­tions re­flect a so­ci­ety’s dom­i­nant ways of think­ing about vic­tims and per­pe­tra­tors, and what sort of per­son is likely to be which. Pub­lic sup­port for pros­e­cu­tions also re­flects think­ing about po­lice, and the like­li­hood that their sus­pect ac­tu­ally did it.

In this way of think­ing, the no­tion that there is some other guy out there is of­ten a pa­per tiger, dis­missed out of hand as the flail­ing ex­cuse of a caught killer, or the strate­gic fic­tion of his de­fence coun­sel. Some­times, though, he be­comes in­evitably real.

The mur­derer of Christine Jes­sop has al­ways ex­isted as an anony­mous pres­ence, an evil lodestar in the life of Guy Paul Morin, and oth­ers like him who did time for some­one else’s mur­der.

For the Cana­dian pub­lic, though, they leap onto the stage as if from nowhere.

That is how Calvin Hoover en­tered the ranks of Canada’s worst child killers in an in­stant on Thurs­day. Po­lice ap­pealed for in­for­ma­tion about him, be­cause hard ex­pe­ri­ence has shown that killers tend to re­peat.

Hoover’s reve­la­tion as the true mur­derer of Christine Jes­sop took two ma­jor DNA dis­cov­er­ies. The first, back in 1995, was neg­a­tive for Guy Paul Morin, and it slapped Canada in the face.

“If Canada had cap­i­tal pu­n­ish­ment, Guy Paul Morin would sim­ply be dead,” wrote the jour­nal­ist Kirk Makin in his 1998 book about the case, Re­drum The In­no­cent.

The sec­ond came just now, with the sick­en­ing re­al­iza­tion that Christine Jes­sop’s mur­derer went un­pun­ished for more than 30 years, and now, for­ever. This time, the other guy got away.

MARK O’NEILL / POSTMEDIA NEWS FILES

Guy Paul Morin, left, shakes hands with Durham Po­lice Chief Trevor Mccagherty, who apol­o­gized to the wronged man on be­half of the force in Au­gust 1997, af­ter Morin was ex­on­er­ated of Christine Jes­sop's mur­der by DNA ev­i­dence.

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