Criminals and Outlaws | The Canadian Encyclopedia

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  • Article

    Albert Johnson, “The Mad Trapper of Rat River”

    Albert Johnson, also known as the “Mad Trapper,” outlaw (born circa 1890–1900, place of birth unknown; died 17 February 1932 in Yukon). On 31 December 1931, an RCMP constable investigating a complaint about traplines was shot and seriously wounded by a trapper living west of Fort McPherson, NT. The ensuing manhunt — one of the largest in Canadian history — lasted 48 days and covered 240 km in temperatures averaging -40°C. Before it was over, a second policeman was badly wounded and another killed. The killer, tentatively but never positively identified as Albert Johnson, was so skilled at survival that the police had to employ bush pilot Wilfrid “Wop” May to track him. The Trapper’s extraordinary flight from the police across sub-Arctic terrain in the dead of winter captured the attention of the nation and earned him the title “The Mad Trapper of Rat River.” No motive for Johnson’s crimes has ever been established, and his identity remains a mystery. This article contains sensitive material that may not be suitable for all audiences.

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  • Article

    Alvin Karpis

    Alvin Karpis, gangster (b Albin Karpowicz at Montréal 1908; d at Torremolinos, Spain 26 Aug 1979). Nicknamed Old Creepy, he was among the most notorious of the Depression-era bandits in the US.

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  • Article

    Bessie Starkman

    Besha (Bessie) Starkman (Perri), organized crime boss (born 14 April 1889 or 21 June 1890 in Poland; died 13 August 1930 in Hamilton, ON). During the Prohibition era she became known as Canada’s first high-profile female crime boss. With her common-law spouse, mobster Rocco Perri, she ran a bootlegging and drug-smuggling enterprise. Starkman was gunned down in the garage of her home and her murderers were never caught. Her funeral was one of the largest ever seen in Hamilton.

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  • Article


    Si'k-okskitsis (known by various other names including Black Wood Ashes, Charcoal, The Palate, Paka’panikapi, Lazy Young Man and Opee-o’wun), Kainai warrior, spiritual leader (born circa 1856 in present-day southern AB; died 16 Mar 1897 in Fort Macleod, AB). Si'k-okskitsis was involved in a domestic dispute that ended in murder. He fled but was eventually caught by police, tried and hanged. The story of Si’k-okskitsis’s life speaks to larger themes of relations between Indigenous peoples and settlers, the settlement of the West, and changes to traditional ways of life on the plains.

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  • Article

    Dangerous Offenders

    Sentencing in criminal cases serves a variety of purposes, including deterrence, rehabilitation, denunciation and public protection. Purposes predominate depending on, for example, the nature and circumstances of the offence and the offender.

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  • Article

    David Spencer and Christine Lamont Case

    In 1989, Canadians David Spencer and Christine Lamont were jailed for the political kidnapping of a Brazilian businessman. From their prison cells they insisted on their innocence. Nine years later, after admitting their guilt, they were transferred to Canadian prisons and paroled.

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  • Article

    Donald Morrison

    Donald Morrison, outlaw (b near Megantic [Lac-Mégantic], Canada E c 1858; d at Montréal 19 June 1894). He was the son of Scottish settlers, grew up near Lake Mégantic and spent several years working as a cowboy in western Canada and the US.

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  • Article

    Edwin Alonzo Boyd

    Operating at first as a lone bandit, then later with a gang, Boyd committed several daring bank robberies in the late 1940s and early 1950s, most of them in the Toronto area.

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  • Article

    Evelyn Dick

    Evelyn Dick, née MacLean, murderer (born 13 October 1920 in Beamsville, ON). Evelyn Dick was the central figure in one of the most grisly murder cases on record in Canada.

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  • Macleans

    Faulder Executed in Texas

    Even when all his appeals had at long last run out and the life remaining to him was measured in just minutes, Stanley Faulder had little to say for himself. For 22 years, while he sat on death row in Huntsville, Tex.This article was originally published in Maclean's Magazine on July 1, 1999

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  • Macleans

    Faulder Gets Stay of Execution

    The local undertakers were standing by ready to claim the body. And Stanley Faulder’s grave had already been dug in a cemetery filled with unmarked crosses and plain white headstones in an unfenced field in Huntsville, Tex. On Thursday, the day the 61-year-old auto mechanic from Jasper, Alta.This article was originally published in Maclean's Magazine on December 21, 1998

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  • Article

    Finta Case

    In its first decision relating to the Finta war crimes case (1993), the Supreme Court of Canada permitted 3 interested groups to intervene - the Human Rights League of B'nai B'rith Canada, the Canadian Jewish Congress and InterAmicus.

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  • Article

    Georges Lemay

    Georges Lemay, criminal (born 25 January 1925 in Shawinigan, QC; died December 2006 in Montréal, QC). Lemay was the mastermind behind one of the biggest bank robberies in Canadian history – the Bank of Nova Scotia heist in Montréal in 1961.

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  • Macleans

    Homolka Cross-examined

    At various points in his cross-examination, defence lawyer John Rosen rolled his eyes and shrugged his shoulders. He was openly skeptical and downright sarcastic. He bellowed in a surly voice and pointed an accusing finger at the slender, ashen-faced witness.This article was originally published in Maclean's Magazine on July 17, 1995

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  • Macleans

    Homolka's Cross-examination Ends

    It was a battle of wits and wills, filled with startling accusations, blunt denials and heated exchanges. For seven days, defence lawyer John Rosen, a shrewd and tenacious courtroom performer, relentlessly attacked the icy, impenetrable woman in the witness stand, 25-year-old Karla Homolka.This article was originally published in Maclean's Magazine on July 24, 1995

    "" // resources/views/front/categories/view.blade.php Homolka's Cross-examination Ends