Montreal Gazette

Former killer-for-hire granted parole after 17 years


A former killer-for-hire, who turned informant to save his own life, will need special permission to call his mother when he soon gets full parole.

Harold Pelletier, 54, was recently granted parole for the first time on the life sentence he received in 1996 after pleading guilty to killing a man — one of 17 underworld slayings he took part in mostly as a member of the notorious Pelletier Clan, a gang run by his brothers.

In October 1994, Pelletier’s younger brother Sylvain, 33, was killed in Repentigny by a bomb rigged inside his Jeep Cherokee. That event is considered by many to have been the start of what came to be known as Quebec’s biker gang war, which ended in 2002.

Sylvain Pelletier, leader of the Pelletier Clan, was opposed to the Hells Angels’ aggressive expansion into drug-traffickin­g turf in eastern Montreal, and had sided with the like-minded Rock Machine gang.

The bombing also set off a chain of events that led Harold Pelletier to where he is now — serving a life sentence for second-degree murder.

One month after his brother was killed, Harold Pelletier took part in a plot to kill Hells Angels leader Maurice (Mom) Boucher in apparent retaliatio­n. The plan involved placing dynamite in a truck parked near a restaurant Boucher was known to frequent. Boucher never showed up and the illegally parked truck was eventually towed away.

Details of the plot were leaked to Boucher who, according to an informant, began compiling a hit list that included Harold Pelletier. After other people involved in the plot began falling like dominoes, Pelletier, realizing his days were likely numbered, turned to the police for help. He admitted to playing a role in 17 murders and gave investigat­ors informatio­n on other crimes, including some that involved his own brothers.

Before Sylvain was killed, the Pelletier Clan controlled drug traffickin­g in parts of Montreal including Hochelaga-Maisonneuv­e and Tétreaultv­ille.

Harold Pelletier admitted to the parole board that he had a reputation as a reliable hit man and earned $20,000 a week when the gang was at its peak.

By Nov. 17, 1995, Pelletier came to an agreement with the Sûreté du Québec and made his first appearance at the Montreal courthouse as a protected witness.

Despite admitting to taking part in 17 killings, Pelletier only faced one murder charge. He was charged with first-degree murder in the 1983 death of Michel Beaulieu, who owed one of the Pelletier brothers money. As part of his deal, he was able to plead guilty to a reduced charge of second-degree murder, with a chance at full parole after serving 10 years behind bars.

Pelletier became a problem for authoritie­s during the first few years of his sentence.

He was turned down for day parole in 2002 after becoming a suspect in a plot to kill another inmate, and after testing positive for cocaine use a month before his hearing before the parole board.

During his more recent hearing on Nov. 20, however, the parole board was advised that much has changed for Pelletier in the last decade.

According to a written summary of the parole board’s decision, Pelletier is now a longtime member of Alcoholics Anonymous, has completed high school and “over the course of recent years your stubborn attitude with authority has worn off and you have progressiv­ely establishe­d a bond of trust with (penitentia­ry staff).”

He was granted full parole with a series of conditions attached, including that he not associate with criminals. The summary also describes how Correction­al Service of Canada (CSC) and the SQ plan to deal with the fact Pelletier may still be a potential target for organized crime figures seeking revenge against the informant.

As part of the conditions of his release, Pelletier is required to live at an undisclose­d location “in collaborat­ion with CSC.”

“An evaluation of the threat and the risk will be conducted with CSC and the Sûreté du Québec. An alarm system will be installed and CSC will be advised, through a cellphone, of the hours it is in use. This form of surveillan­ce allows for a curfew between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., as well as assuring your presence at your home.”

Pelletier’s mother won’t be told where her son is residing and any calls between Pelletier and his mother will be supervised by his SQ controller. And if he wants to see her in person the time and location of the meeting has to be arranged by CSC and the police controller.

 ?? GAZETTE FILES ?? Harold Pelletier participat­ing in 17 slayings while a member of his brothers’ gang.
GAZETTE FILES Harold Pelletier participat­ing in 17 slayings while a member of his brothers’ gang.

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