Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Throughout the course of my investigation of the Wilbert Coffin case I have learned to expect the unexpected, especially in the search of individuals whom I had been assured were no longer with us. Two individuals, both of whom I have presented in the past, namely Mimi Wilson and Gabriel Bernard are very much alive and still want to be heard. As well, I have located and spoken with two police officers who are still alive, and who took part in the Wilbert Coffin investigation.
During the past few days in reviewing various elements of the case, I could see there were a couple of areas that I was not satisfied with. It would require a lot more searching before I was prepared to just assume that all parties had passed on into eternity. I am pleased to have been blessed with an inquisitive mind, because it again paid dividends.
I feel blessed to have had the opportunity this past week to speak with a special elderly lady. She too was touched tremendously by the Wilbert Coffin murder case. This lady's name is Donna McGuire. You are probably not familiar with this lady's name. You will be in a moment. You see Donna McGuire lost very heavily, more heavily than most of us could ever begin to comprehend at that murder scene in the Gaspe' woods back in 1953.
Donna McGuire lost a father and a younger brother, savagely murdered with another young man on that fateful day back in June, 1953. Her Dad was Eugene Lindsey and her brother of course was young Richard.
I must say that I was not totally prepared for the response that I might encounter If I should be fortunate enough to reach this lady. I simply did not know if she would be talkative, bitter, or if in fact would she talk to me at all. I would afterall be intruding into a very tragic element of her life. The first question that I must get out of the way was to determine if she was in fact the person that I was seeking.
As soon as I introduced myself, I asked her straight out if it was she who had lost a father and brother in the Quebec woods back in 1953. She confirmed to me that it was, and I then asked her if she would mind carrying on an informal conversation about the matter. Donna very politely informed me that she would answer my questions as best she could. I explained to her that if it was too sensitive for her to talk at length, then we could break and continue later, but she told me she was alright.
I asked Donna to explain her fondest moments with her Dad. She explained to me that she cherished most, the times that she and her Dad would go fishing. She did not particularly care for fishing, but it provided time together with her Dad. Donna explained to me that as a family they lived out in the country in Pennsylvania and hunting and fishing was a way of life. She further went on to explain that her Dad was a good provider.
When asked about her younger brother Richard, Donna explained they were very close and the normal brother/sister rivalries took place. Brother Richard loved the out of doors and like father like son, fishing and hunting were on the agenda in his life along with his school work. When the events in Quebec took place Donna was twenty years old and was a student, and thus, has a vivid memory of the events as they began to unfold.
Donna remembers those days when they should have heard from her Dad's party. She recalls the Pennsylvania police contacting Gaspe' residents and hearing of the discovery of her Dad's truck. The most terrible time of all was when they were informed that a grim discovery had been made in the woods, and Mr. Claar deciding to travel to Gaspe'. Clarence Claar was the father of Fred Claar who was the other young man who was murdered.
Donna informed me that in the months following, police officers arrived from Canada but they did not seem to know what they were looking for. They were informed that a suspect was in custody and would stand trial for murder.
I asked Donna specifically if she or other family members knew for sure as to how much money Eugene Lindsey was carrying on his person. She told me they did not.
Donna, her sister Eleanor, and her Mom Mary travelled to Perce' to attend the trial in 1954. They were accompanied by their family lawyer.
Upon completion of the trial, they were informed that justice had been done and finally someone would pay for the crimes. My question to Donna was, Do you think that justice was done? This is where Donna gave some interesting comments about the trial process.
Donna felt that the trial was a strange process from the beginning. Shes felt it terrible that a defendant would be facing a death sentence having had nothing better than Raymond Maher as a defense attorney. Her comments was that he really did nothing throughout the trial. He never cross examined, nor did he call witnesses. As Donna said, the crown was able to say anything they wanted and there was no opposition. Their family lawyer she said, stated that Mr. Maher acted like a theatrical prop.
I had to ask Donna the question, Was she satisfied that justice was served? Her response was simple. Even though they were told Wilbert Coffin was guilty, she felt that he should never have been found guilty at that trial based on what was presented at trial, especially in view of the fact that he had virtually no legal defence lawyer acting on his behalf.
This was the point of the interview where Donna had a question for me. Her question was "Where did they get that Raymond Maher in the first place and why?
Donna went on to explain that, Yes, they wanted the party or parties responsible for the deaths to be brought forward and be accountable. It was not difficult to read it in her words, they are not sure that is what happened.
I explained to Donna that I have been investigating this case non-stop for three years and several things are coming into focus. I explained to her that I do not believe that Wilbert Coffin committed these murders and that I have reason to believe and I do believe that others should have been investigated.
I thanked Donna for her time and she explained to me that I have permission to contact her again if there is something that she can assist with.
I felt it pertinent that you read this interview prior to me presenting the autopsy reports and some other police reports. Thank-you once again and God Bless you one and all.
Lew Stoddard.


Joyce said...

Great posting Mr. Stoddard. That posting really does say a lot because that is the first time that I have heard first hand the feelings from the American family. You were a very sensitive interviewer, in a very delicate situation.

Bristol, New Brunswick

Gladys Gladstone said...

Your interview with Donna McGuire adds new meaning to the case. I cannot begin to imagine the sense of grief felt by these families, not only the Lindsey and Claar families but the Coffin family as well. Very definitely all losers here and no winners.

Gladys Gladstone

D. McIntosh said...

I was impressed with your interview with the Lindsey daughter. I am sure that after all these years that it is still difficult for her to talk about it.

It would further appear that this family was not totally convinced of Wilbert Coffins guilt as were probably 99% of Canadians.

I encourage you Mr. Stoddard and Mrs. Mitchell to keep going forward on this. You have opened many eyes and ears.

I wrote to the site about two years ago and you have progressed much in that time frame. Keep up the good work.

D. McIntosh
Moose Jaw

R. Davenport said...

Interseting comment that even the family members do not know for sure how much money Mr. Lindsey might have brought to Canada. I see that statement corroborates the police report that you published earlier where they admitted to each other that they could not find out either how much money he had, but strangely at the trial, they were quoting an amount. Sort of causes the crowns case to have a very "ROTTEN" smell that they fed the jury.

R. Davenport

David Cameron said...

You are a great detective Lew Stoddard. Your chronology of events in this case sure knocks the "dung" out of the crap that is handed down on this guy Fortin's site. That guy is nuts. He copies it from this Brossard report, then slants it to his own wording and liking. Sort of like the way they convicted Mr. Coffin at his trial.

By the way Lew, it is great to see you back online and back on the case.

David Cameron
Kingston, Nova Scotia

Anonymous said...

hi lew
thank you for your tireless work. and thank you Donna McGuire for giving the interview . Our hearts go out to you for the pain you suffered and our prayer is that justice will one day be served

Uncle Bill's niece
diane peter

Andy Patterson said...

Lew Stoddard,

Do you receive the SPEC newspaper? If so you would have seen my letter to the editor a few weeks back in which I chastised their reporter for including multiple articles based on the "evidence" of M. Fortin and never mentioning the research that you have undertaken. Have you ever heard from them?

I am very happy to see that you have regained health and are back publishing on your blog. As always I look forward to the next instalment.

Andy Patterson

Lew Stoddard, Host of Stoddard Online said...

Reply to Andy Patterson,

Hi Andy. Thanks for taking the time to write to my site, and further, I thank you for expressing your concern in the SPEC newspaper.

In response to your question, "have the people at the SPEC newspaper ever contacted me"? a resounding "No" is the order of the day.

It appears that the editor of this publication does not allow evidence or opinion that does not follow their line of thinking. They have made that perfectly clear on more than one occasion. As I have mentioned in the past, on two occasions I set up an appointment for a telephone interview with Gilles Gagne and he stood me up on both occasions after indicating that he was interested in the work that I was doing.

Subsequent to the above, I have spoken to another reporter at the SPEC and he too had no interest in what our investigation was bringing forth but was totally consumed in this Brossard report by this guy Fortin.

It is all interesting in one way. Here you have a newspaper that claims to be the voice of English Canada on the Gaspe' coast, and yet they make the distinction of what gets presented to the public.

I wish to remind Mr. Gagne that it is by no means only English Canada that thinks Wilbert Coffin was railroaded. I have heard from literally dozens and dozens of French speaking folks who feel the same way.

My offer is still on the table to Mr. Gagne and The SPEC. I am willing to make time to provide coverage for this affair.

We have uncovered so much that was never presented in the media and our citizens have a right to know.

I thank you again Mr. Patterson for your support, in welcoming the presence of "Stoddard Online" on the GoGaspe site, and if there is anything that you can do to assist with broader coverage on the Gaspe' coast it will be most appreciated and welcomed.

Lew Stoddard
Host Of Stoddard Online/

K. Geddes said...

Great posting Mr. Stoddard. As usual you are articulate and most precise where it counts. That is why everyone loks forward to your accounting of this case.

If you were to author a book on this case I know for a fact it would make a best seller particularly in the Canadianna section. Keep up the good work.

You say and write it from the heart and from acquired knowledge that you have dug for. That is what sets it apart from all this crap that is copied from a botched trial transcript and the bull crap from the Brossard report that had no meaning whatever.

K. Geddes
Niagara Falls

M. Gervais said...

Can you explain something for me that I have read on this Fortin's site referring to the mining interests of Bill Baker. It doesn't make a lot of sense the way that he writes it. It has to do with mining claims.

M. Gervais
Bathurst, N.B.

Winston Marshall said...

Do you still think that it is possible that the federal government will do a full review of this case?

Winston Marshall
Burlington, Ont

Lew Stoddard, Host of "Stoddard Online" said...

Reply to M. Gervais,

If there is something that you do not understand from this Fortin site, I would suggest that you approach either Mr. Fortin or "Anonymous Andre" for clarification. Don't expect miracles though, because neither of them really have any knowledge of the case.

Lew Stoddard
Host of "Stoddard Online"

D. Wheatley from Kingston said...

It is so good to have you back working on this case. I took a look at this Fortin's site. What a great large "mess" of nothing.

His writings on that site are nuttier than a Christmas fruit cake. He is doing nothing more than copying the trial transcripts and this Brossard report and then leading one to believe that his own comments are taken from those documents. Is this what is being sold as a book? If it is, then maybe I could convince you that I have the Mercier Bridge in Montreal for sale? Surely people look beyond this kind of junk.

D. Wheatley
Kingston, Ontario

Judith Benoit from Amsterdam said...

Message to Lew Stoddard,

I must say that I was touched by your recent posting involving Donna McGuire, the former Donna Lindsey.

Mrs. McGuire I just want you to know that my early years were spent on the Gaspe' coast of Quebec in Canada. My Dad was a teacher in several communities along the coast during those years back in the early 1950's. I want you to know that the folks of the Gaspe' were and still are good people. They are very trusting and caring, and have seen good times and bad times. The crimes concerning your Dad, brother and Fred Claar were horrendous and cruel, very definitely not in keping with the behaviour of the common folk of the Gaspe' coast.

I spoke yesterday to my elderly Dad about this, and we do not know where to begin to express our feelings of grief to you and the Claar family for your loss.

It meant a lot to see that you had feelings for the fate of Wilbert Coffin as well. As you indicate, Wilbert Coffin was stuck with very inadequate legal assistance, and should never have been found guilty based on what was presented in that court. As a youngster growing up on the Gaspe' coast I do not believe for a minute that Wilbert Coffin was responsible for these murders.

My Dad knew Wilbert Coffin's mother and some of his siblings. One could never convince my Dad that someone from that family was responsible for the crimes. That same feeling was shared by most of the residents, both English and French.

Lew Stoddard has proven on this web site time and again that the police lied, manipulated, and did illegal things.

A few comments back I note that Diane Peter, a niece of Wilbert Coffins states it well in saying that we hope that one day true justice will be served.

God Bless you Donna McGuire.

Judith Benoit
Currently residing in Amsterdam

Old Shorty said...

Lew Stoddard

Lew, great to see you back. Have to head out of town, but will get hold of you when I return from Texas in about 5 days. Am coming to Vancouver again real soo and want to have dinner with you.

Old Shorty. . . the long haul driver from the cold prairies but getting warmer now

D Cormier said...

I am astonished Mr. Stoddard at the people and events that you have presented in this case that were never before brought forward. I do not know how you are able to do it, but I do know that it does not come from sitting on your behind waiting for things to happen. You obviously dig very deep in your research. Your results are always presented here on your site in a very articulated fashion.

This all means so much more to the average person than rereading junk from the Brossard report that carried no weight whatever in the Coffin trial. As you have stated that report came about nine years after the execution of Mr. Coffin.

It is also very evident from your reporting that the trial was a trumped up method to nail someone for this crime. From where I sit the judiciary of Quebec was very definitely the culprits of this terrible miscarriage of justice.

D Cormier
Halifax, Nova Scotia

Jacques Simard said...

Mr. Stoddard,

I do not mean to take up your time but I was looking at this Fortin site and he speaks adversely with respect to Wilbert Coffin being mis-treated, at least according to this Brossard thing that he harps about? What is the true story here anyway? Is one to believe what is written in his last posting?

Jacques Simard
Belleville, Ontario

D Preece said...

Lew Stoddard,

I encourage you to carry on in the fashion that you have been in the past. Don't get caught up in this crap that comes out of that Web site of Fortin's. It is obvious that they do not know anything about the case. They get the real facts fro your writings. It is easy to spot that quite often.

D Preece
Nanaimo, B. C.