Sunday, October 29, 2006

Stoddard Online

Stoddard Online The Defense Of Wilbert Coffin, That Should Have Been. . .

In defense of any criminal litigation, it is paramount that the case be assembled piece by piece. It is very wrong to simply put together some elements of defense, and state this the case for the defense. This would be a sure recipe for disaster. Any criminal lawyer would agree, in order for a case to have merit, it's construction must reflect planning, diligence, and chronology of events laid out in indestructible fashion. Otherwise, the case is going to flounder.

In the Wilbert Coffin case, it is important that we stop
periodically and update the known facts. In other words, build it strong and stalwart as the case progresses. This is what we have to offer at this stage in the defense planning, that is reflective of the actual crime scene. More importantly, this case is being constructed without reference to what has been written of the case over time. This case as it builds here, would have been the result of my investigation had I been the lead defense lawyer for Wilbert Coffin at the onset in 1953.

Firstly, we have the remains of three hunters who met their demise in the forests of Gaspe'. All three met their death in a particularly brutal and barbaric fashion, obviously at the hands of an outside force. The actual physical aspects of the crime scene presented an abhorrent picture. Skeletons were not intact and bones were spread over a considerable area of the forest floor, as a result of ravaging by forest creatures, namely black bears. Each of the three skeletons would represent a separate crime scene, due to the fact that they were not together in the same location of the forest.

In order to establish a central case, it is necessary to s
tudy each crime scene independently. What are the similiarities? What are the differences? Why are the crime scenes spaced apart from each other? A particularly important question to answer would be, were all three deaths attributable to one person or more than one?

This is the point where the investigation takes on depth, involving painstaking detective work.
Let us first deal with the death of Eugene Lindsey, who's remains were located furtherest from the others. His crime scene dictates that his death was violent in nature, however, it may have involved very little physical contact from the killer, and on the other hand, it is possible that Eugene Lindsey vigoursly defended himself. The telescoptic sight on his rifle bore physical evidence of what was reported to be bits of his hair and scalp. This would indicate that the rifle had been used as a club to bring him down. Did this kill Eugene Lindsey? The answer to that question is not known, as his head and torso were never recovered, thus masking the complete details of his death. The remaining sketetal evidence was somewhat intact, however, as with the others to be discovered later, his bones had been spread by the bears. There was no flesh remaining, again, the results of hungry bears foraging for food after a long winter of hibernation. Clothing, other than shreds was none existent. Bear droppings in the area depicted shreds of clothing, and buttons.

Two and a half miles down the road, on the same side of the River St. John, the crime scene of Richard Lindsey housed it's secrets. His skeleton, though nearly complete, would also be found to be spread over an area of the forest floor thanks to the bears. Now that we see a similiarity between Richard Lindsey's skeleton and that of his father, it is important here to note something different. In Richard Lindsey's case many items of clothing remained, indicating that perhaps the clothing had been removed by human intervention. For what reason? It can be concluded that the clothing was possibly removed as a means of speeding up the process with the bears to erode any possible physical evidence more quickly. It must be noted as well, some of the pockets on young Lindsey's jeans were turned inside out. There is a question here. Were the pockets turned out to suggest robbery as a motive? As well, the skeleton of Richard Lindsey was found some two hundred feet from his rifle. The rifle, a 30/06 calibre Winchester, was located on the ground with the safety still in the engaged position, indicating that he never had the opportunity to defend himself with it. The muzzle was plugged with mud and debris. Why was that? I will explain in a few moments.

On the opposite side of the River St. John, lay the disturbed skeleton of Fred Claar. Again, items of clothing were found intact, with the skeleton having fallen prey to the bears. Many of the smaller bones of the skeleton were missing. The position of the remains indcated trauma before death. The similiarities of the crime scenes of both Richard Lindsey, and Fred Claar indicated they had met their demise at the hands of the same person.
Doctor Marie Charles Roussell permormed autipsies on all three remains. Though Eugene Lindsey's cause of death was not established, the findings by Dr. Roussell officially declared that Richard Lindsey and Fred Claar died of gunshot wounds, possibly from the same weapon, or at least, the same calibre. Calibre of the firearm was not established, although the diameter of the circular perforations, indicating bullet holes, was consistent in both cases.

The diameters were 7/16 inch to 1/2 inch diameter.
It was these diameters that troubled me. These bullet holes were simply too large. I knew of no bullet that would come close to these diameters. During the past summer while convalescing from a medical condition, I had the opportunity to devote much time to this situation. I cannot begin to count the number of times that I sat at a picnic table on the banks of The Fraser River in British Columbia pondering the situation.

I decided to seek professional ballistics information. I contacted Mr. Harry Cottle, a former sales manager for CIL (Canadian Industries Ltd.) and Mr. Frank Moore, also a former national sales manager with Winchester Canada. Both these gentlemen ended up living in the same apartment building in the Vancouver region. I asked both these gentlemen the same question. The question was, could you please tell me what calibre of ammunition in Canada would have a diameter of 7/16 inch to 1/2 inch diameter. In both cases the answers were short and swift. There simply does not exist in Canada or the world, a sporting firearms type of ammunition that would have a bullet of that size. My suspicions were answered, however, the question still remained.

It was another one of these trips to the Fraser River with my pipe and a large thermos of black coffee on the afternoon of September, 2006 that the light finally came on. I was thinking, the crown is saying that these two young men were shot to death. The crown was suggesting a possible calibre of 38 Special, which I knew to be impossible. The crown was unable to produce a weapon. They were unable to produce bullets or bullet fragments, and as well, they could not produce spent cartridge cases. They searched, they dug, they used metal detectors, all to no avail. Then it hit me. They couldn't find any of these pieces of evidence for one reason, and one reason alone. The reason was simply that they did not exist.

These two boys did not die of gunshot wounds, they died by stabbing.
I instantly telephoned Lani Mitchell, and explained to her that I now had the answer. Lani was of course excited. I explained to her that there were a few details to work out. I had to identify a murder weapon. At this point most folks will be thinking, how can one reasonably accept that these individuals were stabbed when the holes in the clothing were circular. Stab wounds are generally straight line, and either vertical or horizontal. I needed to place a phone call, and I needed to do it at that moment.

It was by then 11:30 PM and I telephoned Mr. Dale Hayton at his home. Dale has been connected with the firearms and military surplus industry for in excess of forty years, and has gained the respect of law enforcement agencies for his knowledge.
I explained to Dale that I was working on a fifty year old murder case, and could he assist me in my attempts to identify a murder weapon with certain capabilities.

I explained that this murder weapon would probably be easily attainable, be capable of piercing clothing and leaving round holes, be very effective in achieving quick death, and be silent in operation. Dales answer was swift and sure. He said when you say fifty year old case, that puts it back to post Second World War era. I agreed, and Dale stated one of the most effective and most easily attainabe weapons of those capabilities would have been a spike bayonet. The spike bayonet could be used on the muzzle end of a rifle, or it could be used as a detached weapon for one on one war combat. The surplus stores were full of them, as they still are to this day. In the United States, this weapon sold in surplus stores for perhaps two dollars.

I asked Dale what the diameter of a bayonet of this nature would be. He said they were manufactured by a number of suppliers, and described them as being round, being approximately 17 inches in length, extending from a sharp point up and gradually increasing in diameter to approximately 7/16 to 1/2 inch. I rest my case. Here is a picture of a spike bayonet, although it is much smaller than it appears in this photo.

It is now easily explainable as to why Richard Lindsey's rifle muzzle was plugged with mud and debris. I have reason to believe, and I do believe that Richard was standing with his rifle resting on his forearm, which is a common stance for a hunter. He was stabbed from behind and falling forward, the muzzle of the rifle would have been driven into the ground. He did not die instantly and dropped the rifle and stumbled perhaps two hundred feet mortally wounded before death took over.

This weapon also would account for the fact that there were no broken bones in either person, other than fragments from one small bone which could have been caused by contact with the bayonet. In the case of Fred Claar, reportedly he had been violated four or five times. That would have been impossible to be shot that many times and exhibit no broken bones. It is possible with the bayonet however.

I made the decision to post this episode to my story today, chiefly because it needs to be investigated, and it needs to be investigated now. This posting would have otherwise been made available in a couple of weeks. I am of the opinion that it should be presented to government to support any application to study this case.

In the next posting, I shall be outlining my suspects in this case. You will note that I used the plural designation, as I am confident that I can now present my suspects to you.

Lew Stoddard

Posted to site October 29, 2006

The material contained in this story is the copyrighted material of Lew Stoddard. Reproduction in part or in whole for commercial means, is not permitted without the express permission of Lew Stoddard.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Stoddard Online



Upon conclusion of the preliminary hearing at Gaspe at the end of July, 1953, it would be necessary for the crown to gather evidence, lots of it, as the only evidence that existed was circumstantial, and very flimsy at that.

It was evident that the suspect, Wilbert Coffin, would yield nothing that would assist the crown in the building of a case. The crown set out to create a series of events that would hopefully change their fortunes. They would carry out an exhaustive investigation of Wilbert Coffin, they would follow his footsteps to Montreal, paying careful attention to money spent, to whom, and where. This procedure would later be presented at trial. It was imperative that the crown be able to establish that Wilbert Coffin spent large sums of currency, money that the crown contended he did not legally have.

As well, Captain Alphonse Matte and his crew would interview many people in and around Gaspe' hoping to discover a thread of evidence to bolster their case. As the crime occured in the woods near Gaspe', that is precisely where we shall begin the trail with both the victims and the accused entering the forest as we shall see on the followig forest permits, depicting names and dates. This information is extracted from police files of the day.

There should be enough material here to keep you reading for a couple of hours, as I ask that you look at it in depth. There will be a posting following this one in approximately three days.

This is the part where I invite you the reader to be an arm chair detective. There is something contained in the information that you will read from here to the bottom of this post that would have thrown the trial into disarray within the first three days. I am certain that if it would have been challenged by a lawyer who was worth his salt, Wilbert Coffin would have lived to see old age. Unfortunately, a lawyer strutting around in his robes in a drunken stupor, would not pick up on this fact. I know that I have some criminal lawyers who read this site as well, so here is your chance to test your observancy of evidence as well. And folks, just to have a bit of fun with this, please post your findings on the comments page. I shall be revealing later what this information is.

DQ 74890-53


Liste de permis de circulation émis à la barriére du Camp York,
Gaspé PQ
Emis par le garde forester Ernest Miller.


523) 8-6-53 G. Dormer Quebec 1 York Lake
524) “ “ “ Donald Boulay, Gaspé 1 “ “
525) “ “ M. Pouliot Gaspé 3 “ “
526) “ “ J.S. Gagnon Gaspé 1 Oat Kaig Lake Holland
527) “ “ Wilbert Coffin, York Center 4 St John River

528) “ “ Angus McDonald, York Center 4 St John River
529) “ “ Rupert Girard, Belle Anse 1 York River
530) “ “ Michel Pouliot, Gaspé 1 York Lake
531) “ “ Philius Fournier, Fontenelle 30 York River
532) “ “ Thomas Miller, Wakeham 1 The Narrows
533) “ “ L. Bernier, Cape Cove 31 York River
534) “ “ Archel Labarre, Fontenelle 30 “ “
535) “ “ Ralph Collin, Cape Cove 30 “ “
536) “ “ Roger Kelly, Gaspé 30 Madelaine Fork
537) “ “ Johnny Cote, St. Maurice 30 York Lake

538) 9-6-53 Lloyd Adams, 1 Gaspé
539) “ “ G. Dormer, Quebec 1 “ “
540) “ “ H. Doyon, Gaspé 1 Holland Lake
541) “ “ Erné Boudreau Gaspé 1 York Lake
542) “ “ Dominique ? Barachois 1 Mississippi Brook

543) 9-6-53 H.M. Lasson, 1 Detroit,Michigan
544) “ “ Rupert Girard, 1 Belle Anse

545) “ “ EH Lindsey, R.D. No.1, Hollidaysburg 10 jours, St. John River
546) “ “ RC Lindsey, R.D. No.1, Hollidaysburg 10 jours, St. John River
547) “ “ Frederick Claar, East Freedon 10 jours, St. John River

You will note from the above Wilbert Coffin and Angus McDonald entering the forest gate on June 08, 1953, and at the bottom, you will see the Lindsey party of three entering the forest gate on June 09, 1853.

Some folks may find the next part disturbing, and I do understand that. It is however, necessary to talk about this part of the investigation, as it forms a part of the overall picture.

On 15 July, and the 23 July, 1953 the skeletal remains of the Lindsey party were found in the forest, inside the same mentioned above gate as stated above. They would be declared dead of suspicious means, however, cause of death was not immediately established, nor was positive identification confirmed. They would be positively identified later on inspection by the provincial coroner, Dr. Marie Roussell, from Montreal. Here are the results of those autopsies.


443 St. Vincent Street



Re. The disappearance of three hunters at Gaspé- June-July 1953-bones of Camp 24.

Last July 15, at the request of M.Charland, directeur-adjoint suppléant of the Surety Provincial of Quebec, I went to Gaspé, so as to examine the bones that were discovered in the woods, about 60 miles from Gaspé.

During the day of July 17, accompanied by Sergeant Doyon, of the local station, of the Surety Provincial Police, I transported myself to the same spot, designated by the name “Camp 24.”
At this place, near a little river, an incomplete skeleton was found, and partly dislocated, to which adhered some malodorous scraps of skin.
The preliminary examination shows that it was only the bones of a single person, contrary to that which was believed at first; the bones were placed in a box and taken to Gaspé for a more detailed examination.


Description of the Bones: - The bones are completely stripped of the muscles that were attached and are more or less disjoined; the head and the sides are missing.
The extremities of the upper limbs are relatively intact; the skin of the hands is of a blackish brown color, of a wrinkled consistency and in appearance somewhat mummified; the nails are long and rough.

The following bones then form the incomplete skeleton:
part of the spinal column
the two scapulas
the left clavicle
the bones of the complete upper limbs: humerus, cubitus, radius, wrists and hands
the pelvis comprising of the bones of the iliac and the sacrum, but without the coccyx
the bones of the complete lower limbs

Determination of Sex: - The size even of the bones, the marked relief of muscular insertions, the dimension of the pelvis and the force of the obturate holes are those that leave no doubt on the masculine sex of the bones.

Determination of the Size: The measurements of the bones of the members gave the following values:
- left femur 181/4” or 46, 35 cms
-right femur idem; (?)
-right tibia 14-5/8” or 37 cms
-right humerus 13-3/8” or 34 cms

When referring to the anthropomorphic table establishing the length of bones following the sizes, we obtain the following correspondences:
-left femur 463,5 mm – size 170,6 cms
-tibia 370,0 mm – “ 168,5 cms
-humerus 340,0 mm - “ 173,0cms
The means of the size corresponding to these three long bones is 170,7 cms, being 5 feet 71/2 inches.

The method of the coefficients gives us similar results:

-femur 483,5 mm x 3,66 = size: 169,64 cms
-tibia 370,0 mm x 4,53 = “ 166,71 cms
- humerus 340,0 mm x 5,06 = “ 172,04 cms

Average of the size: 170,1 cms, being about 5 feet, 7 inches.

Determination of Age: With the absence of the cranium, the only means to appreciate the age of the person who had the bones consists in the research of the degree of ossification of different parts of the skeleton.
Radiography demonstrates a complete welding of the epiphyses ( extremities) of
the long bones of the members, a welding likewise supplements the iliac peak with the pelvic bone and as well a welding of the crown vertebrae, the ones with the others.
And also, the presence of small osteophytes on the level of certain bones and evident signs of arthritis in the articulations of the thumb of the right hand, indicating that this isn’t the bones of a young man or adolescent and that we are in the presence of the skeleton of an adult of middle age.

Determination of Cause of Death: Except for the ( grugement)? spongy end of certain bones of the skeleton, the exam didn’t reveal any trace of significant violence, on the bones at our disposition; it is then impossible, in the circumstances, to confirm the existence of violence of vital origin.
The complete disappearance of the internal organs and other soft parts of the skeleton prevents us from establishing the cause of death.


The bones found at Camp “24” are those of a man of middle age, measuring about 5 foot 7 inches tall. The skeletal remains were identified as those of Eugene Hunter Lindsey of Pennsylvania.

The desiccation and the parchment of the skin and the soft tissue of the two hands indicate that death occurred at the minimum of one month ago.

J.M. Roussel, M.D.
Medical Examiner



Skeleton found 75’ from camp 26. (It was in a wood box (Dynamex) and included the bones of the cranium.)
Lower maxilla
All the vertebrae except one
18 sides
2 scapulas
2 clavicles
2 humerus, cabitus, and right radius
2 bones of the pelvis
2 femurs
Tibias and right fibulas
Tibias and left fibulas

NOTE: The bones of the lower maxillas are partially corroded and it is impossible to make a precise measurement.

Measurements: Left humerus: 33.5 cms or 13 3/16”
Left cubitus: 26.5 cms or 10 3/8”
Right humerus: 22.5 cms or 12 ¾”
Or 33.5 or 13 3/16” without measured angle
Right cubitus: 26.5 cms or 10 3/8
Right radius: 24.5 cms or 9 5/8”

Jagged (indented?) sutures (joinings?) evident everywhere past traces of ossification.

TEETH: Lower maxillas healthy natural teeth with no obvious decay, except in the line space of the right interior incisor medians. First lower left molars missing.
Upper maxillas: bad establishment of the right incisor (retreating). The first large left molar missing as well as the right.

BONE OF THE PELVIS: The iliac ridge is not definitely welded. With the tip of the pelvis that which indicates an age lower than twenty years.

A pair of black leather boots with the soles sewn with two rows of thread and two rows of copper rivets under the boots, and also a strap with buckles around the hoses, size about 8.

Trousers probably brown with a tinted red leather belt with a series of oblique marks and a buckle with the initial “R”.
A handkerchief with brown and green edges and the second with finer stripes.
A white sweatshirt with the name “ Hollidaysburg Tigers “ on top of the figure of a tiger.
A sport shirt tinted green marked Sportop washable, size “S-14-14 ½” with two pockets in the front on the right and the left.
A windbreaker or red and black checked shirt marked “ Woolrich “, size 15 zipper and two pockets in the front.

This skeletal remains was identified as that belonging to Richard Lindsey of Pennsylvania.



Pelvis with lumbar column and last cervical vertebras and 7 dorsal, vestiges of four sides, I free side with diaphise part of two femurs whose extremities are notched, diaphise tibia dr. notched.


1 plaid waistcoat red and black checked marked Woolrich with two sleeves turned out + (can’t read words written here)
1 pair of blue jeans, two pockets turned out
1 undershirt marked “Croftman” size No. 42
1 T-shirt red, large, Penney’s
1 left boot brown leather laced with eyelets, soles of black rubber neoprene, oil resisting, size 11.

This skeletal remains identified as that of Frederick Claar of Pennsylvania



Red waistcoat property of T-shirt marked Penny’s, 2 circular perforations measuring 7/16” to 1/2 “ in diameter distance of 2 “ located at the left anterior face of the thorax, a little on the left and in the lower part of the left center.

Circular perforations similar to the preceding ones located right face anterior of thorax 1” in inside of the seam of the sleeve at the level of the right pectoral area.

Large ovalaire (oval shaped?) perforation measuring about 1” long by 5 lines high situated with the anterior face of the thorax at the same level as the former at 1” to the right of the center line.

4 or 5 perforations or tears on the posterior right side of the sweater in the line of the armpit.


Checked jacket red and black Woolrich with chamois sleeves. One notes 2 perforations through the anterior pocket and the left side of the windbreaker.

Perforations or tears in the seam or junction between the right sleeve and the jacket (corresponding to the perforations like on the T-shirt.)

Tear close to the neck (collar) of the jacket at about 2 ½” with the top of the upper snap button corresponding to the ( ovalaire?) oval? tear noted on the T-shirt.


Red and black checked jacket with zipper- perforation in the upper left region at 3 ¼” from the 3” in the line of the center and 4” with the top of the higher edge of the upper anterior pocket and to 5” to the lower part of the seam of the shoulder


Circular perforation at 3 ½” to the left of the centerline 5” of the lower part of the seam of the shoulder.


Perforation at the edge shredded with the upper left region of the thorax ( or..could read…” shredded perforation at the edge of the upper left region of the thorax?) at 5 ½” of the center line and 4” below the seam of the shoulder surrounded by a zone of reddish color apparently ( tituée?) caused? by blood – No corresponding perforation in the back.


The three clothing carry to the dorsal area dte? near the middle about 4” in the lower part of the lower seam of the sleeve, a circular perforation not found on the anterior front.


With murder now confirmed and a suspect charged, as mentioned above, Captain Matte and crew set about interviewing witnesses, and retracing Wilbert Coffin;s footsteps. Here are many of the interrogations that were carried out in and around Gaspe' during this period. Please remember these documents have mostly been translated from French to English, and thus, good grammar will appear violated in many cases, and of course these documents are over a half century in age, so they have faded and show many signs of wear and tear.

In reading these documents, if you see your name, or that of a loved one or acquaintance, it is not published to embarass, or to suggest involvement. It merely formed part of an official murder investigation. The following represents police reports on a goodly number of the interrogations with various folks. There will be many more documents that I shal be publishing in subsequent posts.

Gaspe P.Q. 8th Aug 1953
From J.C. Vanhoutte, agent P.J.

Captain in Charge of the Judicial Police:

Re. Eugene H. Lindsay, Richard Lindsay and Frederick Claar (Hollidaysburg, Blair County, Pa. USA) Cantons Castonguay and Holland, Cté. Gaspé south PQ

To follow your verbal instructions, those that were transmitted by Lt. Gerard Morel, July 23 1953, I left Quebec, to take myself to Gaspé, to accompany you to the present inquiry (investigation) and here at the 29th of the same month, then as were your instructions I was living at Gaspé in order to control different information concerning this affair, accompanied by the agent, Jules Fradette, actually stationed at the “Poste de Gaspé”

Eddie Du Marec, 59 years, farmer, Riviere aux Renards, Cté, Gaspé-south, P.Q.

Interrogated on 30-7-53 on the subject of the version he had already given to agent Jules Fradette on 18-7-53, declared that on this occasion he made a grave error concerning the dates that he had mentioned. He declares that the day that he and his companions met the Americans in the area of Mississippi Brook was well May 29 1953 and not June 12 1953 that he had already declared. He explains that after the agents left on 28-7-53, he discussed it with his companions, and they recalled that it was not 12-6-53 but 29-5-53 was the day that the big ship of the International Paper loaded at Riviere aux Renards.That day there was 29-5-53, about 8:30 or 9 o’clock a.m. a little below the bridge of the Mississippi brook, and then when he went to work at Beaver dam, he was overtaken by a jeep covered in the back (?), he couldn’t recall the colour, after passing them the driver of the jeep signaled them to stop and they saw then that the occupants got out to shoot at a bear. He said that the driver appeared to be a young man, but that he didn’t see the face, it was him who had the rifle. He said that also on this same day, around 11 am, he saw another jeep that seemed to him in better shape than the first but he can’t furnish a detailed description, and then the three occupants demanded directions to go to Keays camp. These individuals spoke English and he said that they took the directions to the Keays camp only to see them to go back over them not about 15 minutes later. He ends with saying that he had the intention of going to the office of the Surete provincial to inform them of the error they had made concerning the dates.

William “Bill” Baker, 43 years, hotelier, “Ash Inn’, Gaspé

Interrogated on the subject of information that he might furnish for this case, Bill Baker tells me he is the owner of a pick up truck, Chevrolet, ½ ton, 1953, colour light green. So, without being able to be precise with the date, but as well as he could remember, at the end of May or the beginning of June 1953, Wilbert Coffin of York Center came to the hotel with a man called Angus MacDonald, 62 years, of Long point Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, with samples of copper minerals saying that he had found this copper at the St John river. They….rest of page missing

10) William “Bill” Eagle, age 49, Sunny Bank, Gaspé P.Q.
The above mentioned says that the 9-6-53 around 10 in the morning he was with Thomas Patterson and Oscar Patterson in a Howard Smith company truck and they were returning all three from Murray brook looking for goods that they had left in the camps of the company. He said that at the time given they met three types who seemed to be hunters who were broken down in the stream, because the bridge at this point was collapsed. Oscar Patterson pulled out the truck of these hunters with his big truck. After that these hunters told Eagle that they entered the woods the day before, being 806-53, and that since then their truck had stayed all night in the brook. (stream). He said that with the big truck, they got the hunters truck going, and because that truck there couldn’t cross the said river, they had to retrace (turn back) on the road. They were together about 1-11/2 hours. He couldn’t say if the oldest of the hunters paid to the man for his troubles. The only other person that they met in the woods that day there was the forest warden, Jerry Patterson.
11) Thomas Patterson, 47 years, superintendent of the woods, for company Howard Smith, Sunny Bank, Tel: 43-z-23
Patterson recalls that on 9-6-53 before leaving for the woods with William eagle and Oscar Patterson, he knew that some Americans were broken down at Indian Fork for the good reason that the forest warden, Jerry Patterson, had met them (sitting up, staying up, watching, patrolling?) when he tried to get them out of there with his jeep but without success. Then the same night Jerry Patterson came to his home to ask him if he was going in that direction the 9-6-53 to make sure to offer help to these men who were broken down in their bad position. He collaborates with the balance of the version of William Eagle in the preceding paragraph but insists that he knew the names of these individuals, that was Eugene H. Lindsay, his son Richard and Frederick Claar, for the reason that he had stayed at the same camp as them in 1951 on a hunting trip plus he had already had the occasion to meet them in the forest and to talk with them. He declares that he has never seen these Americans carrying revolvers and he is certain that Lindsay never paid Oscar Patterson for his trouble but, instead, gave him a gift of a box of five cigars. According to him, these three men were in as good humour as in past years. That which he can know about Wilbert Coffin he informed me that he had only been a prospector since last winter, and not in this region, where he hadn’t prospected since before springtime. He never saw him in possession of a revolver. He ends by saying that the Saturday, the 11th of July 1953 with Oscar Patterson and Thomas Miller, he recalls the truck of Lindsay. He doesn’t think that the hunters would have slept in Gaspe on arrival for their hunting trip. They also informed him that they wanted to stay in the forest for about ten days.
12)? …Top line missing. This is probably interview with Oscar Patterson?
Eugene Lindsay gave him a box of five cigars as a gift. As far as he recalls, he had already met Eugene Lindsay and his son, Richard, in 1951 but he can’t say if Fred Claar was with them or if Thomas Miller of Sunny Bank was their guide that year. He never remarked (noticed?) whether those Americans carried revolvers. He informed me likewise that he was with Thomas miller when the truck was retrieved at the start of July 1953 after one heard that three hunters hadn’t returned (missed their roll call)
In a 2nd interview with Oscar Patterson he informed me that the morning before they left Sunny Bank to return to the forest to deal with the search, they went with Thomas Miller to his neighbour, Weston Eagle, and there they spoke with Wilbert Coffin’s mother who was at this house. On this occasion, Mrs. Coffin said that the Americans had given Wilbert Coffin something as a gift but she couldn’t recall exactly if this was a set of…… or a knife that had different uses for a hunter.

13) Esther (Wife? Of Thomas) Miller, born Patterson, 36 years, housewife, Sunny Bank, Gaspé
Questioned about this affair, the above mentioned, she informed us that Thursday July 9 1953, she was at Russel Patterson’s visiting and while she was there they received a phone call from the police in Hollidaysburg demanding news about the Americans. Afterwards her husband went to Gaspé and then in the forest where he found the truck of Lindsay in the forest. She informed me that her husband guided Lindsay in 1951 on a hunting trip in the same district, but she herself didn’t know Lindsay except for having seen him one time near the house, that he never had been in her home. In 1952 he hadn’t written to her husband to arrange a trip, but at the end, he came with some others. On this occasion the names were Campbell, the Lindsays, an individual whose first name was Emerett, and another large man with the name Tiny. The one named Emerett was accompanied by his two young boys and they had eaten a meal at her house on that occasion. She adds to have never been (encontact) with Wilbert Coffin in each circumstance and about that which concerns……… that Coffin would have received as surplus for payment on the part of the Americans. She says she had talk of that by Claar the father on his first trip to Gaspé before the disappearance, and she also claimed to have heard that that year the three hunters slept in their truck on their arrival in Gaspé.

14) Thomas Miller, 43 years, ‘ journalier’, Sunny Bank Gaspé

The named informs us that he knew the Lindsays and Claar since 1951 when he worked for them as a guide, be it so, for Eugene Lindsay, his son Richard Lindsay and Fred Claar. They went then to hunt at the North Fork and the South fork of Douglastown below camp 21. For their trip this year they had a ½ ton truck all black. They stayed there 8 days. They didn’t have a revolver but three large rifles, 30/30 and one 22. That same year they made a second trip but he didn’t go with them. There was Lindsay, the father Claar, and two others, one of whom was called “Tiny” Swope. In 1952 they came again to hunt, being Eugene Lindsay, Bill Campbell, Tiny Swope, and another named Emeritt with his two sons. They had two purses (?) and they seemed to carry a good amount of money, without being able to state exactly how much.

In that which concerns 1953 Miller said that the July 9 1953 he received a phone call from the American police asking him to locate them if possible. Then the next morning he went to the gate at York to see if Lindsay had asked for a permit. He went also to the Provincial police on the subject of this affair and there one told him to go to the forest and if he found something, not to touch anything and to report back. He got Oscar Patterson and having a good idea of the spot where they would have gone hunting, after having seen a copy of their permit for the forest, and having been told by Thomas Patterson that Wilbert Coffin had met them and took one of them to Gaspé, he went to the Coffin garage in Gaspé where he learned that after them (visiting the garage?) Wilbert had driven to the area Of Caribou Creek. They then both left and went without stopping until they arrived at Lindsay’s truck about 6pm. Then they examined the cabin without touching anything and all that they noted was a sack of potatoes in the rear of the truck. He didn’t notice if there was a rifle in there.
He looked around the surrounding area and then continued with Oscar Patterson to camps 21, 24, 25, and 26 without finding anything unusual. Because it was getting dark they got back on the road. They found it very odd to have not found any provisions. They didn’t meet anyone. As for Wilbert Coffin he had heard it said that the night of his return from the woods he had gotten drunk and that had ended by the trip to Montreal.
Before finishing with Miller, having asked him if he had any helpful details that he thought to tell us, he informed me that the morning of 10-7-53 before leaving for the woods with Oscar Patterson, he had spoken with Wilbert Coffin’s mother who told them that Lindsay had given Wilbert a nice knife with many features after and that Lindsay gave him that to recompense for his trouble. By the way she spoke, she had seen this knife. This was said in the presence of Oscar Patterson (see par.12, pg.5 of this report) and to Mrs. Weston Eagle, daughter of Dame Coffin.

15) In the course of this investigation, I went likewise many times to the gate of the York river at Wakeham where I got all the booklets of permits (travel) in the forest given at this spot for June 1953. A complete list is made, giving the no. of permits, the person, the destination and the no. of days for which the permit given, for the day between 8am-6pm by the forest warden, Lewis Annett. Copies of this list is annexed to this report and in examining the said list one can see and easily compare the entries of Burkett, Ford at the end of May 1953, as well as Coffin, MacDonald, Lindsay and Claar in June.

16) The above mentioned declares that it was he who would give the permits No.537527 and 537528, one to Wilbert Coffin and one to Angus MacDonald on June 8 1953 for 4 days in the direction of the St John river and he is positive that the two went into the woods. They were traveling in a ½ ton truck……….(line missing…)
of traveling permit, but all persons who say they are on the main road to the mine must have a permit.

17) Lewis Annett, 22 years, Forest warden, No. 2492, Wakeham, Gaspé, P.Q.

This person declares that that which concerns the permits No.583114 given on June 10 1953 he is certain after 6pm because he starts work at that hour. He recalls that the permit was given to Wilbert Coffin, although on the permit it reads “William.” On this occasion Coffin entered the guard’s hut to get this permit and Annett said that he didn’t say if he had anyone with him. He couldn’t give other details except that he told us that before about June 10 1953 the gate stayed open between midnight and 5am.

18) Jerry Patterson, 57 years, forest warden, Sunny Bank

Declares that the 8-6-53 when he was making his rounds in the forest, arriving at Indian fork, he met 3 American hunters who had asked him if it was possible to cross the river with their truck. They made an attempt bit stayed there broken down. They then tried to get out with his jeep but it wasn’t possible. When he left them he said that they had decided to camp there for the night and they asked him if he could send someone to help them get out, that’s what he said on the same night talking to Thomas Patterson. He verified the same their permit in noting that their names on the (calapin?) were Eugene H, Lindsay, Richard Lindsay and Fred Claar, having a permit for the St John River.

19) Etienne Poirier g.c. Chef de District, Ministere de la chasse et de la peche Sandy Beach Gaspé P.Q informed us that Mar 3 1952 Wilbert Coffin of York center was arrested for having shot a deer out of season and on this occasion, someone told him of searching in the lumberjack camp, seized a luger P.38 revolver. He didn’t have, however, the serial no. of this firearm. The same revolver was returned to Wilbert Coffin Mar 10 1952 after correspondence with his department. He told me that the only hunting permits sold that spring to non-residents were to Chs. E.Ford and Dr Burkett of Altoona Pa. and the three victims in the case.

20) Seraphin Fournier, 39years, barber, Gaspe P.Q.
This person declares to be the giver of licenses and permits conveyed for the provincial revenue dept. and that 12-6-53 in the evening he sold to Wilbert Coffin of York center, a driving license No. 1052926 for 1953 at the cost of $2.50. He said also that he could remember that Wilbert Coffin appeared sober at that time.

21) Russell Patterson, 24 years, truck driver, Haldimand West, Gaspé P.Q.
Patterson said he was a guide for Dr Burkett and Chs E. Ford of Altoona Pa. this year of May 23 1953 near the camp of international paper and didn’t go to 21, 24, or 26 that year. He recalls that in the course of their trip Burkett and Ford mentioned that Lindsay also planned to hunt this year in Gaspé. He said he had encountered Lindsay two years ago when he was a cook for the Howard Smith Company, but he hadn’t seen him this year. He said that Burkett and Ford had for rifles, a .300 with a telescope and a .270 also with a telescope. Russell Patterson also told us that during their journey in the forest, they had occasion to meet a truck, and that it was possible that they met the kind like the Riviere aux Renards (the one at Riviere Renards?), that in question in paragraph 2 of this report. You find here- annexed the original letters between Patterson and Dr Burkett to organize their springtime trip to Gaspé.

22) John Fottler Eagle, “Jack”, 55 years, carpenter, Sunny Bank Gaspé P.Q.

The above mentioned declares that as far as he remembers a Friday night, probably 12-6-53,he had gone to Albert Coffin at York center (father of Wilbert) and then that he was in the house about 8-8:30 pm with the Coffin mother, Weston Eagle, Dame Weston Eagle, Felix Stanley and his wife. At a certain time, Wilbert coffin arrived. He had with him a bottle of scotch and they had some drinks together. Wilbert talked to him then about his voyages in the woods and that he had met three Americans and also that he had made a trip to Gaspé to get a fuel pump. He said then that these guys were nice boys and, as well as he can remember, he told him of having received between $20-$40 for his trip, explaining that they were satisfied too for having paid for the gas expenditure and he was more than satisfied with the payment received. Jack eagle said then that Wilbert Coffin also showed him a knife, the kind of pocketknife with a spoon and fork on it, explaining that he had received the knife from the Americans on his trip. Eagle also said that he took the knife in his hands and said to Wilbert “Wilbert, you better take good care of it, because the first chance I’ll have I’ll steal it from you.” He didn’t have a question at that time of a shaving set. Eagle also said that he didn’t examine the truck that Wilbert had because it was parked about 100 feet from the house. He couldn’t say either whether Coffin had another bottle of scotch at that time. At the end he said that on leaving Coffin’s house that night that Wilbert was still at home and he didn’t know if he left for Montreal the same night.
Concerning the revolver, he informed me to being in agreement that Wilbert had already shown him a P.38 of the army two or three years ago. This was a luger with a holster (case). The last news that he had of Wilbert, that’s when his son Weston Eagle who worked at Donald Coffin’s garage (brother of Wilbert) received a phone call from Wilbert going to Montreal and asking him for money because he said he was broke.
Noticing that the truck of Jack Eagle, ½ ton Fargo, red colour, had a front-end accident, I asked him to explain this accident. Immediately he explained that during March 1952 in a snowstorm he couldn’t bring it with him to the house and he left it on the street between Wakeham and Sunny bank. The next morning he noticed that his truck was banged and he found the pieces of the left side headlight. He didn’t make…….( line missing)

23)…(words missing)…
….Ford of Altoona Pa.. On the registration card No. 8168 dated 3-6-53 one sees that these two tourists slept that night in room no.8, said hotel, to leave the next morning.

24) Murray McCallum, 29 years, manager hotel, Gaspé

Says without recalling the date exactly, but says that it was at the beginning of June 1953, one day Wilbert Coffin arrived at he hotel around noon and told him that when he went into the woods, he met three Americans who were hunting bears and that their truck had trouble and he had brought them to Gaspé to buy a fuel pump. He repeated that Wilbert Coffin made an utterance he says like this “ I have a couple of them with me in my truck.” Coffin consumed then one small bottle of Kings Beer and bought three to take with him. McCallum couldn’t remember what kind of money he paid.
At the time Coffin left; this witness said that he had the impression that two other persons waited for Coffin in the pale green truck of owner Bill Baker. Asking him to be as precise as possible about two passengers, he couldn’t confirm (swear) categorically to this. In finishing he informed me that of the rumours he hears, he had heard that Coffin, was on a drunk a couple of days as Melvin Stuart’s of York center, and that someone said that they saw 4-5 40 oz. bottles on the table in the house. He couldn’t give me any more details.

25) Having heard talk during our research that Wilbert Coffin had bought a case of hard liquor before leaving for Montreal, we attempted to check this rumour very seriously in questioning, the following hotels, Hotel Baker, Hotel Gaspe, the Ash Inn, Mountain View Hotel, all in Gaspé, but without success on this side. We also questioned on the subject, Ernest Boyle of Wakeham and Jack Eagle of Sunny Bank, reputed to be selling illegal liquor, but without any success.

26) Ernest Boyle, 47 years, carpenter, Wakeham, Gaspé P.Q.
The above mentioned tells us that about June 12 1953 Wilbert Coffin stopped at his house around 7-8pm. He had Bill Baker’s truck and he asked for a bottle of beer, saying he was in a hurry. Boyle said that he “gave” him one and they discussed prospecting claims. He confirms never having sold him a 40 oz.

27) Benny White, 53 years, hotelier, Mountain View Hotel York center, Gaspé P.Q.

Declares that as far as he remembers, a couple of days before he learned that Wilbert Coffin left for Montreal, he stopped at his hotel and bought only two bottles of beer, never 40 0z. confirming “ We never handle the stuff.” For him that was the day that Coffin came to Gaspé to buy an auto part for the Americans. (In his declaration of 6 Aug 1953, Wilbert Coffin declared that when he arrived from the woods on 12-6-53, he bought one dozen beer from Benny White.) However I could never get admission of such a purchase at White’s.

28) Walter O’Connor, 30 years, manager Camp York Lake, P.Q.

Having verified the registrations of tourists passing by this camp during June 1953, one sees that the 4-6 June 1953 was…(line missing)………was armed, explained like many others “ if I was sure, I would have paid more attention (to it)

Roger D’Astous, 48 years, agent Campbell Company, Gaspé Copper Mine, P.Q.

Declares to having remembered that at the start of June when he was working in the camp of the company situated about 5 miles from the York gate, someone stopped at his office to see if he could supply him with a fuel pump for a Ford truck. He replied simply that that he didn’t have any. He didn’t go out of his office and couldn’t give any other detail.

Ross Biard, 42 years, forest warden, Haldimand West, P.Q.

The named who is the gate guard on the St John river, place where Wilbert Coffin went to get to his prospecting camp, informed us that one day about 20 July 1953, when he was in the company of Damien grant of Douglastown, they went in the forest to do an inspection tour and examined at this time Wilbert Coffin’s camp. In the corner of the camp underneath a bed, behind some boxes, there was dynamite, they also found a case (holster) for a revolver, colour black, leather, big enough, said he, to carry a revolver at least caliber .45.
He informed us that that spring an individual named Fred Gegerik, ( polonaise?) prospected in company with Wilbert Coffin and that the 6-19th of June he was supposed to be prospecting “Up West” being along the St John river with Coffin, he said he got this information from Angus MacDonald. This Gegerik worked for others and could actually be employed by the Mine.
He said also that the 8 or 9 of June 1953 he agreed that Angus MacDonald gave Coffin $20 to prepare the truck to go “up West” and later MacDonald told him that he never would have (could have?) rejoin Coffin for going up with him. He said he was knew the details for the good reason that he himself prospected and that Angus MacDonald was interested in his claims. In that which concerns the truck of Bill Baker, that Coffin had it in his possession for several days before June8 or 9 th and he was under the impression that this was Coffin’s truck.

Damien Grant, 28 years, forest warden, Douglastown, P.Q.

This one although confronted with Ross Briard, declares he remembers all concerning their inspection, but can’t confirm having seen the holster of a revolver in Wilbert Coffin’s camp.

32) On 31-7-53 I received from the hands of George LaCouvee, store manager, LaCouvee brothers, here in Gaspé, an unsealed letter addressed; Mr. Alphonse Matte, Gaspé. LaCouvee recalls that this letter was sent to his servant (worker) Alphonsine Matte, then the father was named Alphonse Matte, but opening it before reading it, she saw that it was an error so gave it to him. This letter seemed to come from a person named R.P. Plante, either from Mont Louis or Mont Joli. It was practically incomprehensible.

Lew Stoddard

Posted to site October 22, 2006

Monday, October 16, 2006

Stoddard Online

Stoddard Online Continued from part fifteen. . . .

In any research and investigative project, there is that point where one feels comfortable declaring a conclusion can be arrived at. In my view, I truly believe that I am now in a position to declare that I have reached that milepost with respect to the Wilbert Coffin affair.

I have to be fair and honest here. Indeed, I have learned volumes about this case. At the onset, I must admit that I had been caught up in a lot of the hype and rhetoric that had permeated the nation. I thank God here for having not allowed me to accept as fact everything that I had heard over the course of many years. To this end, I have avoided many of the published accounts that have created the fodder for wagging tongues. Upon conclusion of my own research and investigation, I now cringe at much of the rubbish and trash that has made it's way on to the book shelves of Canada. Without doubt, free speech and expression gone wild.

When I decided to investigate this affair, I made it my personal mandate to seek the truth. If a lead or tip could not be backed up with a document or a personal declaration, it simply would not form part of my report. Sensationalism and tabloid style journalism may have their place at the check out stand at the supermarket, but, I am not prepared to compromise my own integrity to assist putting it there. Newspapers and smut journalism tabloids buy their ink by the forty five gallon drum, and thus, many of the stories that we hear each day lend credence to that fact.

There have been a few allegations over the past few months that have suggested that perhaps I was working in concert with the Coffin family in the preparing of this story. Again, here is a very vivid example of wagging tongues. It is easy to make statements, but difficult to support them with facts when there is no evidence to support the allegation. I can honestly state that no member of the Coffin family ever attempted to influence my writings. If I had questions, they answered them as best they could, nothing more, nothing less. To reiterate, I have never personally met any member of the Coffin family, other than by electronic means. Now that my report on this matter is winding down, I look forward to meeting as many of the family as possible over the next few months.

In any undertaking such as this, there are high's and low's. My ultimate high of course is the confidence in believing in my own mind that I now know the true chain of events behind this story, and why Wilbert Coffin died. The fact that folks have come forward to me with absolutely astounding revelations with information and evidence that was suppressed prior to Wilbert Coffin's trial is beyond simple expression. One example is Mimi Wilson, whose evidence would have thrown the original trial into chaos, had the crown and police not hidden her contribution from scrutiny at the trial. Her evidence is paralleled completely by another gentleman who came forward. Both these people are now willing to swear affadavits, as they were back in 1954. These are a couple of examples of good folks willing to see justice done for a fellow human being and his family.

Another example that I consider an absolute time bomb will outline to you the real reason that Wilbert Coffin was allowed to hang. You will be made aware of the details of this fact here in the next very few days, at the conclusion of this posting that will conclude with the execution of Wilbert Coffin. I shall be posting actual documentation here on the web site. I will warn you now. It is a disgraceful happening. It is a chilling tale. This has never been reported on before. The knowledge of this event was made possible by those who set the trap. They did a good job with the setting of the snare, but did a terrible job of covering their tracks. I am embarassed to admit that it happened in my country.

At the conclusion of todays posting I suspect there will be many folks who will want to express their thoughts to the Coffin family. I urge you to do just that. It hurts me to post this final chapter of Wilbert Coffin's life, and I know it will not be easy for the family as well. They can use your support today. Please feel free to leave your comments. I just ask you to be as brief as possible as I am certain there will be many, and space is somewhat limited. I also ask that you consider signing a petition calling for a complete government review of the Wilbert Coffin case. You can do this at

At the conclusion of this posting you will see a poem that I wrote and published some time ago. There was no particular inspiration for the poem at the time, however, I thought it to be approproate to today's posting. As I still own the copyright to the poem, I wish to dedicate it to the Coffin family.

I am not going into the next part of the story in depth as it will be covered in the final chapters when I present my case to you after today. The complete trial and elements affecting staffing of the trial will be covered here at that time. Here is the continuation of the story in brief form. . .

At the conclusion of the preliminary hearing in Perce, the stage was set for Wilbert Coffin to stand trial. The crown was in no rush to go to trial, as very simply, they lacked the necessary ingredient for success. That ingredient being hard evidence. It would therefore be necessary to rig the proceeding to compensate for evidence shortfalls. This so called trial would be presided over by Judge Gerald LaCroix of the Quebec Superior Court.

At the conclusion of this trial of nineteen days, and a deliberation time of thirty minutes, the jury would find Wilbert Coffin guilty of first degree murder. The deliberation time equated to approximately one minute and twenty seconds for each day of trial.

Judge LaCroix's sentencing was swift and sure. It went like this, "Wilbert Douglas Coffin, you stand before the court today as a condemned man. You have been found guilty of a henious crime by a jury of your peers. I am now ready to place the mandatory sentence for your crime upon you. At the conclusion of this proceeding, you will be taken from this place, and delivered to the place of execution, whereby, you shall hang by the neck until you are dead. May God have mercy on your soul."

It was a cold day in Montreal on the ninth day of February, 1956. A few minutes before midnight Wilbert Coffin was on the final journey of his life. He was walking with guards and The Reverend Sam Pollard on his way to the gallows. The place was Bordeaux Jail. Wilbert Coffin would state that he had forgiven those who were responsible for him being there. He was also seen to be exhibiting a smile as his final words echoed through the execution place. Those words were "I commend My Soul Unto You." The story would end with the same words that it started with as a title.

At two minutes past midnight, the black flag of death was hoisted high over the walls of Bordeaux signifying that someone was about to die. Wilbert Coffin's time on earth was no more.

Weep not for me, all that remain
I've only gone to the great plain
God sent His angel, to beckon me home
I've joined Him now, around His throne
I've found forgiveness for those who erred
Though I'm called home, It's because He cared
I am the gentle breeze that blows
I am the bud that blooms in spring
I am the hurricane on the horizon
I am now mingling in God's grace
He has delivered me to a better place

Copyright Lew Stoddard


Lew Stoddard
Posted to site October 16, 2006