Tuesday, September 18, 2007

THE WILBERT COFFIN STORY
.
THE CONCLUSION
.
PART SIX

.

With Captain Alphonse Matte's feet firmly planted at the helm of the impending investigation, his work load was evident. The discovery of the remains of the second and third members of this hunting party confirmed that. It was obvious that since all three murder victims were from the same party, the most obvious conclusion would be that the elder Eugene Lindsey was the prime target, with the killing of the young men an insurance policy, thus removing possible witnesses.
.
As with any mass murder investigation, Matte knew the components necessary to reach an integral conclusion leading to a conviction sometimes appeared simplistic by definition, but complex to achieve. He had to identify the bodies, he had to identify a cause of death, and he had to produce a reason or motive for the crime. It is when these components are in place that one can search the available list of suspects and hopefully the guilty party will emerge.
.
This particular case was different. Captain Matte had his suspect before identity, cause of death, or a motive had been established. His one and only suspect was Wilbert Coffin. He reached that conclusion when he learned that Coffin had driven Lindsey Junior for an automobile part, and was the last person reported to have seen any of the Lindsey party alive. The next few paragraphs will detail Wilbert Coffin's rocky road with reference to the way that Matte was building the case against him.
.
In order that the conclusion to this story be presented in an orderly fashion, it is necessary to outline certain events pertaining to major pieces of circumstantial evidence that the crown built their case upon. This is where it is clear that the crown fabricated much of the evidence that was used for the trial and conviction.
.
Wilbert Coffin was adamant that he saw and was introduced to new arrivals when he arrived back at the stalled truck with Richard Lindsey. He stated emphatically that Eugene Lindsey introduced these two people who were driving a modified Jeep, as two fellows from down his way in Pennsylvania. I am in possession of a copy of Sgt. John Vanhoutte's notes to his boss. It is abundantly clear from those notes that the police were aware of these two persons. It is also clear from trial transcripts that the police chose to "cover up" this information and pretend that Wilbert Coffin was lying. By doing this, there was no-one to corroborate Wilbert Coffin's version of the events, and since he was not allowed to speak in his own defense at his trial, they were able to push it through. This was a major blow to Wilbert Coffin.
.
Captain Matte was aware that Wilbert Coffin and Angus MacDonald had come out of the forest. He was also aware that Wilbert Coffin had gone back in by himself, as Wilbert Coffin had decided to ditch MacDonald. Wilbert had a conversation with Bill Baker and the decision was made. Again, according to police reports that I have a copy of, MacDonald told Sgt. Vanhoutte that he stayed that night at Wilbert Coffin's cabin, in the company of "Curly Richardson, and Mr. Soucy". Why he told this to the police, I do not know, because it could be particularly incriminating if he were to be placed under investigation. MacDonald, according to the police reports, stated that his vehicle, namely a "car" had been stored at the home of Francis Annett. It is important here to remember that the vehicle was not a truck, was not a Jeep, but was a "car". The vehicle type will play an important role in the conclusion.

It is important to note that no heat or pressure whatsoever was placed on Angus MacDonald, Richardson, and Soucy. MacDonald especially, was allowed to make his appearance at will and then disappear from the scene. Though he did not know at the time, Wilbert Coffin had gone to Montreal. MacDonald stated to police that Bill Baker had informed him of that fact. I contend that he was lying. Bill baker did not trust the guy, so it is highly doubtful that he would have informed him as to Wilbert's whereabouts. In reality, if what MacDonald says was true and that he did wire Wilbert in Montreal, the follow-up should have been evidence in Wilbert's favour. According to MacDonald he wired Wilbert to find out about his tools, and Wilbert asked him for money, indicating he was broke. This would be in stark contrast to the report that Captain Matte had put together of Wilbert's lavish lifestyle during the trip to Montreal and the subsequent visit there. As trial evidence, we only heard of the grandeur of the trip, not the bump and grind of what it really was.

If the police had bothered to check out Soucy at this time they would very quickly have learned of his checkered past. They would have learned of his stealing vehicles in the maritimes, his drifting around, and his suspicious nature. Without doubt, it represents another scenario of police cover-up in order to build a stronger, more timely circumstantial case against their suspect, Wilbert Coffin..

Another very important aspect to the crown's case against Wilbert Coffin was apparently based on evidence garnered from the statement of one Wilson MacGregor. According to MacGregor, the evidence put forth by the police differed drastically from his actual statement. At trial, the crown contended that MacGregor had stated that he had seen the barrel of a rifle protruding from the rear of Wilbert Coffin's truck, and that this was on the night of June 12, 1953. MacGregor signed an affadavit stating that what he had said was "he saw what could have been the barrel of a rifle or a piece of iron bar that prospectors use". He would further state that he had not said it was June 12, but that "it was the week in question". It was a known fact that Wilson MacGregor suffered a disability which was evident from his writing skills. The police could spot this, and tailored it to their advantage. This way a signature could be attained for most anything that they wanted.
.
Both the police and the prosecutor would later make reference to the statement of Mr. MacGregor. They appeared to make light of it by saying, "how does one mistake that what he thought as the barrel of a rifle could turn out to be that of an iron rod?" They were literally displaying Mr. MacGregor as a fool, when in fact, they were using him as a prop to foster belief in their system of evidence tampering. There will be those who do not accept what I am writing here, and agree with what the police and prosecutor had to say. You are entitled to believe what you wish, but I do ask that you pay close attention to the following illustration.
.
Prior to getting into this illustration, I want to take the opportunity to thank Mr. Wendall Stanley of Gaspe' for permission to use his photo, as it is he who holds the copyright.
.
Let us play a little game of pretend. Let us pretend that we are in a court of law. You are now in the witness box. You have been asked to take a hard look at this photo which is representative of sworn testimony that you have just given detailing a crime scene. Strictly in your own words, you are now asked to explain the significance of what can be seen in the photo and the crime scene. This should not present too great a challenge. After all, you were there, you saw clearly, and it is now being recreated in front of you in the form of the photo, so it all comes back. You are feeling quite comfortable. You may even be thinking, "Hey! this trip to court to give evidence is easy."
.
You explain to the court in the greatest of detail. You point out the tire on a rim. You point out the sides of the tire as being white wall, depicting an older vehicle. You point out the good tread visible at the top left of the photo. In general, the tire appeared to be in excellent condition. You further state to the court the weather was inclement that day as you remember snow falling and blowing, as evidenced by the swirling snow flakes. In the final analysis, you have painted a glowing portrait of what you saw on the day of this crime. You are thanked by the prosecutor, who indicates that he has finished with you. He is pleased because he has extracted from you exactly what he needs to present a larger picture.

This is where the defense lawyer would rise to his or her feet requesting to cross examine. The defense lawyer would do a short lead-in. You may be asked at this point if this photograph clearly represents your memory of the crime scene. You have already stated to the prosecutor that it does, so you concur with the defense.

The defense lawyer now requests from the judge permission to submit to the court an alternate photo for comparison purposes. You, as the witness will now be asked by the defense lawyer to select which photo most accurately depicts the crime scene, the one that you have previously selected, or the one that the defense team has just produced? Your response might be that they are so similar that both are accurately depicting the crime scene.

The defense lawyer will now move in for the kill. The next questions by the defense lawyer to you might go something like this, "Can you explain to the court how it is possible for the picture presented by the crown, to which you ientify in graphic detail as a vehicle tire in a snow storm depict this crime scene, when now you are telling me that the picture that I just showed you depicts the same crime scene, when in fact, the photo that I just presented is dirty dish water escaping from my stainless steel kitchen sink after washing last night's dirty dishes. I suggest the swirling snowflakes to which you allude are not snowflakes at all, but are actually the liquid Palmolive dish soap, coupled with some bits of grime and grease."

Guess what, if you as a witness was caught in such a scenario in court, your credibility as a court witness just went down the drain, because there would be no escape. You could have been the best witness in the country, but because of legalized deception and deceit, you would have been reduced to a smouldering ruins.

As you can see, with the right spin by a seasoned lawyer, the best witness has taken a chance when he or she decides to give evidence on a voluntary basis. True, this is a photo of dirty water escaping from a stainless steel sink. There simply is no tire in the photograph. If you were one of many who guessed that it was a tire do not feel bad. I displayed that for one reason only. I wanted to illustrate the fact that sometimes when something appears "is" really "isn't", and when something appears "isn't, it really "is."

The next posting of the story will be the last. It would simply have involved too much to include it with todays posting. We shall be taking an indepth look at the autopsy reports, and we shall be taking an indepth look at evidence as supplied by Constable Lewis Sinnett, and the ways in which his evidence and statements tie in with the known events of the time. In the next posting you will see the relevance of the autopsy reports, and the reasons why they are that way. You will also see the results of Mr. Soucy's trip to Juniper, New Brunswick, and the way in which he ripped off his boss.

.Ladies and gentlemen I thank you for being a great audience, and a patient audience as well. I look forward to presenting the final chapter to you in approximately four days.

Lew Stoddard

This manuscript is protected by copyright. Reproduction in whole, or in part, for whatever reason, and by whatever means, is not permitted without the express written permission by the author, Lew Stoddard.

42 comments:

Dave Kreighoff said...

Lew I enjoyed yur posting very much.I must admit you had me fooled. I thought it was a wheel. makes you reqalize how dainty we are if we have to go to court. poor old wilbert never stood a chance. You are a good lawyer.

Dave Kreighoff
Calgary

Armand Mersereau said...

Great job Mr. Stoddard on the story. You have done a very professional job on this. You make people sit up and take notice, that is good. I had only heard about this story before I was introduced to your site, now I KNOW about the story. Thank you very much.

Armand Mersereau
Trois Rivieres

Linda Adams said...

I liked your illustration with reference to evidence giving in court. Have to admit, I fell for your example too. I thought right away that I had seen a tire. Sad when you think that things so simple and an everyday occurence like your example can be twisted and actually assist in sending someone to the gallows.

You truly make one think. I hope that you can make those lawyers in Ottawa to use some common sense.

Linda Adams
Edmonton

Bobbi Livingstone said...

Great stuff in this posting~~~~really enjoyed your approach with respect to the hypothetical court scene with the picture~~you fooled me as well. I guess court really is a place of deception~~~Listen to me here Lew~~~I want you to keep the pressure on and everyone should get behind you now as well~~~Together we can make it happen.

Bobbi Livingstone
Sarnia, Ontario

Dorothy Wentzell said...

I took the time tonight to scroll back over all your writings on this topic. Absolutely astounding!! The hours that you have devoted to this is incredible. Anyone who criticizes your work should keep their mouth shut. People should express their support for you here on this comment board. I also know you have failing health, please look after yourself as well.

Dorothy Wentzell
Bathurst, N B

B and M Gautier said...

This message is to all the Coffin clan. Good luck in all of this. You are very fortunate that Lew Stoddard came onboard to keep the flames burning with his outstanding research.

And a special note to you Marie, we are praying for you. God Bless!

B and M Gautier
Riviere du Loup

James McDougall said...

/A Special message to Lew Stoddard and Lani Mitchell

My congratulations on a job well done on this story. I have read your work from beginning to end, some of it more than once. As a team you have gone so much further with this story than anyone who has written it before. I have read all the books that have been written on it.

You have been able to focus on either new stuff that had never been reported, and as well, you have been able to find a lot of other material to enhance much of which has been reported in the past. I class anything in the new category that has not been reported in the past. Both of you are to be commended for your determination.

James McDougall
Pictou County, Nova Scotia

Dwayne Porrier said...

This is incredible that you are able to come up with these names as suspects. As things are now falling into place, I can sure see where this soucy character is someone to keep an eye on, but then again, he has two accomplices by the names of Richardson and McDonald. Why did the police not focus on them earlier? Anxious to read your last posting, I know you have something up your sleeve. Great job by the way. You make the story very interesting, yet so serious as it should be. You should have studied law.

By the way, this is the third time that I have commented on your site in the past year or more.

Dwayne Porrier
Barrie, Ontario

Bruce McLean said...

Hello from Nova Scotia.

Just a quick note to say that I have enjoyed your writing on this topic. Have read it from the beginning. It has been a massive undertaking to be sure. I am hoping that you can achieve your goal and get Ottawa to do something as they definitely should.

I see by the comments on here from time to time that the Coffin family are happy to have you on their side. Good luck to you Sir.

Bruce McLean
Halifax

Sara Styles said...

I know that the wheels of government turn very slowly, but this is ridiculous. They have taken a half century to decide if they should right something that they allowed to happen in the first place. C'mon Harper, get the lead out!

Sara Styles
Burlington

D Crombie said...

This story has come down to the wire. I just knew that the whole real story would be in the final half dozen postings. Thank you for your efforts in keeping this Canadian tragedy in the forefront for all the world to see. It is time to free Wilbert Coffin.

D. Crombie
Barrie, Ontario

Carl J said...

I think thqat the time has come when Canadians should start a letter writing campaign to our members of parliament. This promise of a review does nothing. If the government had done their job 53 years ago, we would not need a review because it never would have happened in the first place.

Carl J
Calgary

Bob Barnes said...

I totally agree with the last commenter named Carl. That is so true. It was the two levels of government that allowed this thing to happen. We know it was wrong, they know it was wrong, so what the Hell is the hold up.

Bob Barnes
Moncton

T Lundy said...

Harper said he would clean up government. Time to start sweeping the floor, Mr. Harper

T Lundy
Regina

Marilyn Kramer said...

I was just looking back over the last posting. I notice that brave soul named "anonymous" still has too much time on their hands. A quick message to this person. . . Why did you not do the research and write the story yourself at your own speed. As Billy Shakespeare said, the world is a stage. . .

By the way, you suggested that Mr. Stoddard was maybe waiting for a publisher for his book. If there was a book, would you purchase it, or would you be happy with the free version that you read here?

Who knows, maybe I see you in Chapter's sitting hour after hour, day after day gobbling up all that free reading. Have a nice day.

Marilyn Kramer
Fredericton

Joan Brajcich said...

Going all the way back into your research and writings, it is as you suggest with this story. It is full of deception and down right illegal practices.

All this was allowed to seep into our legal system and form part of our legal history in Canada.

This is so shameful, especially in a country such as Canada where we supposedly teach our children better ways.

Mrs. Joan Brajcich
Comox Valley

Darryl Brewester said...

These three Musketeer type guys that are now appearing into the story, MacDonald, Soucy and Richardson. It is upsetting that we have never had them linked directly into the storyline on this for so many years. Sure seems like a cover up to me. Keep after this.

Darryl Brewester
Fort McMurray, Alberta

Brian McCord said...

Mr. Stoddard if I ever need a lawyer I will give you a call. I liked very much your little court room scene wirth the photo. Had me fooled as well.

On the serious side this case could have been solved in an honest way 50 plus years ago if they would have tried. it does not look like it would have been real difficult and in reality, no one appears to be overly smart in this story back then anyway. That includes everyone from duplessis all the way down.

Brian McCord
Hamilton

Brad Cleary said...

It is good to see the story nearing completion, but I do know it takes a long time in some things. As long as you are going forward, take all the time in the world my friend.

Brad Cleary
Amherst, NS

Georgette St. Arnaud said...

Lew and Lani go to the head of the class. You have climbed many hills and mountains. Lived for many years in Gaspe' area. I know the general feeling on the coast was that Wilbert Coffin was not guilty and I believe that and I think you have proven it as well.

Georgette St. Arnaud
Edmundston, New Brunswick

Maxine said...

Excellent job you have done in researching, re-creating, and the writing of this event over the past months.

Maxine
Port Coquitlam, B C

Rose said...

Mr. Stoddard,
You come down rather heavey handed on the police throughout all this. Do you have the right to do that because I dont think you do. you blame them for everything and they are needed by our society.

Rose Morales
Toronto

Dave Collins said...

I guess I tend to agree with Ms. Morales. You do hammer the law enforcement in a big way throughout this. Whether we like them or not police are necessary, you should know that Sir.

Dave Collins
Grand Falls, New Brunswick

Lew Stoddard said...

Response to Rose and Dave.

You made the suggestion that I am heavy handed on the police throughout all this. You have both made a good observation.

Allow me to remind you. No one is forced to become a law enforcement officer. It is by choice. If one cannot carry out those duties in a fair and lawful manner, then it is time to move on.

If on the other hand it is the higher administration who is dictating that things be done in an illegal way, then it is incumbent upon us all to stand up and be counted.

You are so correct when you state that society needs police officers. I have the greatest of respect for them, and admire them greatly for placing their lives on the line daily in the course of their duties. That is all the more reason why I come down heavy handed on the dirty ones.

Lew Stoddard
Host Of "Stoddard online"

Jim Creighton said...

Thats telling it like it is Lew. I agree 100% with what you said. You do a lot better with your words than I with mine. Keep the heat turned up. I am certain that you have solved this thing now. Your case is much much stronger than the crowns case.

Jim Creighton
Fredericton

David said...

Perhaps you have solved this case, perhaps you have not. My question is this, what difference does it make now at this late date over 50 years later.

I guess I agree with this "anonymous commenter" on your last posting suggesting that you are probably waiting for a publisher to come up with the best offer to produce a book for them to publish!

David
Ottawa

Mario Daigle said...

This has been a black mark on the Gaspe coast for a long time.

Leave Mr. Stoddard alone. If he can solve this and I do believe that he has, it is not just Wilbert Coffin's name being cleared of a heavy weight, but the whole gaspe coast.

You people out there who complain about nonsense do not know when you are well off. Definitely some of you have too much time on your hands.

Mario Daigle
Rimouski, Quebec

Anonymous said...

To David of Ottawa, If it were a family member of yours I am sure that if you suspected that the party were innocent,I suggest that you would also be in favor of someone like Lew proving their innocence.I personally know a few of the Neices and a sister of Wilbert Coffin and they are very pleased to have someone like Lew to clear not only Wilbert Coffins name but this shadow that has plagued their families. Keep up the good work Lew and if a book were published so what. At least the real truth will prevail and the truth printed after all these years. God Bless The Coffin Family and may your health improove Marie and Lew.

Lani Baker Mitchell said...

Although Lew isn't doing this research in hopes of publishing a book, I can't, for the life of me, understand why that would matter? The important thing here is that research is being done to try and clear Wilbert Coffin's name and bring a measure of peace to his family. Surely that must count as a very generous use of his time..and mine!
David, you ask ' What difference does it make?' It sounds to me like you, your family and your community have had the good fortune to be untouched by a very painful event. Lucky you! The Coffins and people of Gaspé weren't so fortunate..and if you think it doesn't matter after this many years, then you haven't been with me when I sat with Wilbert's son and saw the tears..or when I sat with my cousin and saw the tears....or when I talk with another cousin who seethes with anger over those terrible days...or when I talk with Henri Doyon's daugher and feel her pain...or when I talk with most any Gaspésian and hear their anger, hurt and frustration over the events of those days! It matters, believe me!

Bill Armstrong said...

Mrs. Lani Mitchell I agree with you. I too lived on the Gaspe coast for a few years and I know what this all did and is still doing to a lot of folks there.

I can think of no worse smudge on any group of people than to have your community tarred with something like this.

People like this David character in Ottawa should learn how to engage the brain before putting their mouth into motion.

Bill Armstrong
Penticton, B C

Anonymous said...

david
what difference does it make,as a niece of uncle Bill let me try to make you understand. We the extended Coffin family have had to live with the fact that the gov't can just about do anything they want and get away with it. Do you have any idea the fear that generates??? Think about it they can do anything they want and for decades they have got away with it. Anything right up to murder if it fits into aiding and abetting their agenda. Is that the kind of society you want?? You may argue that they cannot commit murder now because of the laws today, but i would ask you to look at the people that AIDWYC have cleared and are in the process of clearing. These people may not be murdered but their lives sure have been ripped up shredded, destroyed. Now lets look at my uncle's case. He was Murdered plain and simple. Murdered by the very people who are in charge and are suppose to look after Canadians best interest. Reread Lews site , see what they had to do to accomplish this and let it sink in . They were not only ready willing and able to do it THEY DID IT. Do you want to live in that kind of society? Granted we have different people in power today, but think if my uncle's name is not cleared why would that be.... would it be because the powers that be dont want to give up that feeling that they can do whatever they want to accomplish whatever they want. Without making the gov't of today clear my uncle's name that is what you are asking for ... A gov't that can do whatever they want regardless of how many innocents are trampled. That david is why we the coffin family and our supporters are fighting to clear my uncle's name. We dont want people in Canada to live under that fear any more . Trust me if we dont fight corruption we will be left with the consequences of it. Don't believe me just ask people like Steven Truscott if ordinary people can be steamrolled into a life of nightmares. Remember anyone of us can turn a corner and be in the wrong place at the wrong time. I will use again a phrase many have said IF IT CAN HAPPEN TO US IT CAN HAPPEN TO YOU. That david is one reason why clearing my uncle's name will make a difference.

Diane Peter
Uncle Bill's niece

Henri Marcoux said...

Wow! Ms. Diane Peter when you put a point across, you put a point across. I agree with you all the way on what you are saying.

It is obvious that "David and some of these Anonymous types" have never witnessed a real crisis in their families. As is the usual case then, they scream the loudest for justice.

Don't worry about them, most of them are only after their 15 minutes of fame that Shakespeare spoke about.

Henri Marcoux
Kingston

Kelly Squires said...

I agree with you as well Diane Peter. It is time Canada to wake up to what has gone wrong and also what is going wrong in his country.

Kelly Squires
Kitchener Waterloo area

Ambrose Saby said...

It appears a bit strange that Angus MacDonald would leave his car at this Annett household while in the forest.

If Wilbert Coffin stayed at his family home while out of the forest, then why would it not have made more sense for MacDonald to leave his car there since they travelled together as a team?

Maybe there is a connection here that I am not picking up on. I would like to be enlightened.

Ambrose Saby
North bay, Ontario

Vince McCreedy said...

I can now see where it appears reasonable for MacDonald, Soucy, and Richardson to be involved in this crime. They had motive, they had the means, and certainly in the right place at the right time.

Congratulations Mr. Stoddard!!!

Vince McCreedy
Halifax, N S

Rob said...

I have been reviewing your writings on this case and I notice many many instances of wrongdoing on the part of the crown. I am certain that you will have more at the conclusion that I do not yet see.

I am certain of one thing though. There was plenty that was visible to declare a mistrial on this thing before it even happened. That being the case, why do they have to waste so much time on something that is already painfully obvious?

Rob McFarlane
Fredericton, N B

Armand Royale said...

You put that pretend court scene in a very believable fashion. Yes, I was fooled. I thought that I saw a tire and yes I would have sworn that I did.

That was a good shot at deception. I guess that is why we pay the lawyers the big bucks, that is the good ones anyway. Not so sure that Wilbert Coffin enjoyed the services of a good one. I notice throughout your story you refer to Coffin's lawyer as a dud. I see what you mean now.

The conclusion that you are coming to in this case makes a lot of sense. I can see a much stronger case building here than that which sent Wilbert Coffin to the gallows.

I say shame shame on the investigators and the judiciary for not picking up on all this at the time.

Armand Royale
Riviere du Loup

Old long haul Dtiver named Shorty said...

Hey Lew,

Been away.haven't forgotten you though. Your case is looking good my friend.Going to be in your part of the country in vancouver next week. I will send you an email. I want to have lunch with you while I am there. Going to pick up a new truck. see you then!

that old long haul driver from the prairies named Shorty

Barb Sweeney said...

Just a note to let you know that I like the new cosmetic look of your web site. The colors are great, makes it stand out. (Must Have Been Designed By A Woman) Ha Ha!

You and Lani Mitchell have worked very very hard on this case. You both are to be commended. Your dedication shows.

Barb Sweeney
Barrie, Ontario

S sanderson said...

You mentioned FBI in the past regarding this case. Would like to hear the status of that. I think it is a great idea. Give them heat in Ottawa, whatever way you have to do it.

S Sanderson
Courtenay, B C

Joanne and Gary said...

Just a quick note to let you know that I like the new look of your web site. Very professional looking and the color really stands out. Notice by your photo that you have also discovered the "fountain of youth."

Congratulations on a project that is really taking shape. My hubby and I have been reading your page for over a year now. He is originally from the Gaspe' area. His Dad worked for the pulp and paper company there, so the Wilbert Coffin story is always of interest to us.

Joanne and Gary Marcotte
Prince Albert

Cam Sawyer said...

I enjoy very much your account of this tragic event. So terrible to think that this would be allowed to happen in Canada.

Cam Sawyer
Burlington, Ont