Sunday, May 14, 2006

Stoddard Online

Stoddard Online : Continued from part two. . .

It was only fitting that Wilbert would come upon the three stranded American hunters on the morning of June 10, 1853. He was, afterall, noted for being in the right spot to assist someone in a jam. Today would be no different. Wilbert managed to get their truck turned around and off the road, so as to not impede traffic.

After introductions,the elder Eugene Lindsey, served up some eggs as breakfast for Wilbert. Mr. Lindsey then inquired of Wilbert if it would be possible for him to drive his son, Richard Lindsey, into town to secure a new fuel pump for the truck, as it was felt this was the problem. Wilbert readily agreed, and the pair took off in Wilbert's vehicle for the long ride to town.

Some weeks later, Wilbert would report that when they arrived back from town, Eugene Lindsey, and Fred Claar were in the company of two other American hunters who were driving a jeep as a vehicle. Wilbert states that at this time, Eugene Lindsey gave him forty American dollars for the good deed, and the younger Richard Lindsey had given him a small novelty type knife. Wilbert then declared that he was continuing on his way to do some prospecting, however, he promised to check in with them in a couple of days before he left the area.

Wilbert would further declare that upon arriving at the scene of the broken down truck on June 12, 1953, the truck was still parked by the roadside, and there was no sign of the hunters. Wilbert stated that he waited around for a couple of hours, and by this time, he was figuring that the three hunters had teamed up with the other two that he had seen days earlier, and the decision was made by him to leave the area.

Wilbert returned to town and took care of some unfinished business, including the paying of some bills, socializing with friends and family, and later the same night would embark upon a journey to Montreal to visit Marion and his young son. He would also tie this trip with a visit to Val D'or to approach investors with respect to one of his mining claims.

Wilbert Coffin would return to Gaspe' on July 20, 1953. He returned to a much different town than what he had left a month earlier. The town was on edge, rumours were flying. A party of American bear hunters had gone missing in the area, and the remains of one of them had been found. It had been learned that the last person known to have had contact with any of these hunters was Wilbert Coffin. Upon arriving at his parents house, Wilbert soon realized the police were anxious to talk to him as soon as possible, hoping he could perhaps shed some light on the situation. Immediately, Wilbert headed for the police detachment office to seek Sgt. Henri Doyon, the head of police operations for the area.

Wilbert cooperated with Sgt. Doyon, and explained that, yes, in fact he had driven Richard Lindsey to town on June 10, 1953 to secure a new fuel pump, and that they had arrived back in the late afternoon, and discovered two new people driving a jeep visiting the elder Mr. Lindsey and Fred Claar. This duo was referred to by Mr. Lindsey, as people from where he lived in Pennsylvania. Wilbert Coffin also would admit to Sgt. Doyon that prior to leaving the area to return to town, he took from the abandoned vehicle, some personal items belonging to the American hunters. These items included a pair of binoculars, a valise containing a pair of jeans, a portable camp stove, and the uninstalled new fuel pump. Wilbert was adamant however, that the small novelty knife was freely given to him by Richard Lindsey.

At this point the focus of the story will be the detailing of events, including inquests, the arrest, and actual trial of Wilbert Coffin. As one will appreciate later in the story, the investigation process, and supporting documentation is a tangled web of deceit, manipulation, and interference by the provincial government of Quebec. At the conclusion of the story, I shall outline and detail many examples, all the way down from the then premier of Quebec, the late Maurice Duplessis, to the most junior police officer. You will see examples of a planned course of action to nail Wilbert Coffin. You will also see examples of stupidity, and ineptness, by both the police and Wilbert Coffin's lead defense lawyer. This will be the part where you, the reader, will determine in your own mind, whether or not justice was done.

Prior to getting into the story, it is relevant here to introduce you to a man living in the Eastern Townships of Quebec. His name is Alton Price.
Alton spent many years studying this case in the greatest of detail. He visited the area on more than one occasion, he travelled all the routes in question, and he interviewed all the key players that were still alive, and willing to talk. Alton was determined to get to the bottom of the affair, and expose to the public a true chronicle of events. This was only possible with a grass roots approach.
As a conclusion to all his research material, Alton Price wrote a book titled "To Build A Noose." I have read other publications on this matter, however, without doubt, Alton's book is more complete and absolute.
When Alton heard of my planned project to write this story on my web site, he not only wished me well, but he presented me with an autographed copy of his book and extended an invitation for me to use any passages and information that I deemed necessary. For this, I shall be forever grateful. Without doubt, Alton's offer enhances my own research in a big way.

Lew Stoddard
Posted to site May 20, 2006

Next posting is planned for May 23, 2006


Roderick C said...

Lew Stoddard,
Just read your last posting on this story. Do agree that it is complicated, but thank you for taking all the time necessary to put it all together.
This event has haunted many Canadians for a lot of years. When you finish your story, would you be kind enough to let us all know how we can get a copy of this Mr. Price's book that you refer to called To Build a Noose.
Thank you,

Roderick Campbell
North bay, Ontario

Chris Lee said...

I am hoping that Canadians will begin chasing their members of parliament to get off their butts and do something about the Wilbert Coffin event. Steven Harper said he was planning on a new and cleaned up government if he got elected, well Steven, you are elected, so do what you promised and start cleaning. You can start by helping the Coffin family in their sorrow.

Chris Lee
Perth Andover, N B

Dean Clendenning said...

Joining the many others whom I see have extended best wishes to you for your writing of this story.

I simply cannot imagine what this sort of thing does to families, I do know it would hang a veil that would never go away.

My thoughts are certainly with the Truscott family and in this case, the Coffin family considering Wilbert Coffin paid the ultimate price and the family is still paying.

Dean Clendenning
Windsor, Ontario

Debbie said...

As one of Uncle Bill's(known formally, as Wilbert Coffin)nieces, I can testify that his family, my family, was, and is,deeply wounded by his hanging death. We are deeply appreciative of the support of Mr. Stoddard,and his readers,on this site.He was my Mum's brother, and the pain we have all felt ever since he was arrested,and falsely accused of murder, is still intense. I have two brothers, and I cannot imagine how it would feel to have one of them die under those conditions, especially when they were innocent, as Uncle Bill was. My Mum says she has never stopped praying and thinking of him daily,and wondering, what must he have been thinking when he took that last walk, to the gallows, and death, for something he did not do.

Anonymous said...

I think it is about time the TRUTH finally is coming out and my prayers and good wishes go out to the Coffin family members

Beryl Watkins said...

Dear Mr. Stoddard,

My elderly Dad knew one of Wilbert Coffin's brothers. I believe his name was Don. My Dad was raised as a youngster in Matapedia, Quebec.

My Dad always said that event really tore the family apart, and I can understand why.

Until my retirement from the teaching profession approximately six years ago, I always used this case as a topic for discussion whenever we had a debate on capital punishment. Sadly, as time wore on over the years, students were not aware because of the passage of time.

I am so pleased that you are renewing interest in this case across this huge country. Indeed, you have won total support from both my husband and myself.

Beryl Watkins
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

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Galadreil said...

Dear Mr.Stoddard;
I am so very not sure about blogs or blogging and ended up making some site I understand NOT. But to the points that I am so very interested in! Is, from where your notes on this file and sources are from? There seems to be alot of tech stuff that I beleave in this day and time, that we might be able to find out some much needed info and if we can find photo's and analyzing of the crime scene it self if that info has not some how gone without a trace, then, could we not get some more facts? Are those who were involved in this case still alive and in sound mind? Who was it in the States that put the presure on the Canadians? What do you know about the three mens lives prior to this trip? Could we not just inlist the help of first, a very good anthropologist? Let's say someone that works both in Canada and the States? Someone who would not bow down to Gov and who knows people within Law inforcement? I am sorry for my spelling errors and my tears flow in the river that is in each of the remaining family's hearts on both sides.
Linda.( Galadreil)