The Killer's Background
Born February 13, 1948
Mechanic and Petty Criminal
People who he liked felt that he was bright and had potential. People that he didn't like, they were afraid of him. - Local Journalist
He enjoyed feeling in control and power because he didn't have much else. He didn't have the breaks in life that the ‘the richees,’ as he used to call 'em, had. - Local Journalist
There was documentation that he may have been witness to his mother’s sexual prowesses: Adolescent boys need to see their mothers as asexual. It is very very difficult for an adolescent boy to see their mother having sex, even with their father; but when an adolescent boy sees his mother in a very sexual way, it's enormously destabilizing in their psychosexual development. - Forensic Psychologist about the Legere Case
Other events that occurred in 1948
Mahatma Ghandi assassinated in India
American President Truman integrates the US Armed Forces
Alfred Kinsey’s Sexual Behavior in the Human Male is the first large-scale study of individuals’ sexual habits, with stunning revelations about infidelity, homosexuality and other issues
Cortisone introduced as an arthritis treatment
"Big bang" theory of the universe’s origin postulated
Olympics held in London
All I Want For Christmas is my Two Front Teeth is a big hit.
Swiss outdoorsman George de Mestral invents Velcro
Noted food critic Duncan Hines founds a company to make prepackaged cake mixes
Popcorn sold on a mass scale for the first time
Mirimichi, New Brunswick in the county of Northumberland
Largest city in Northern New Brunswick, Canada.
Situated at the mouth of the Mirimichi Rver where it enters the Mirimichi Bay.
Established in 1995
Miramichi i-is mostly a rural area, very friendly area. When we get new police officers here, they comment their arms get worn out from having to wave so often because the people are so friendly. - Sargeant, RCMP
Just over 69 square miles (179 square kilometers)
In 2016, the population in the city was 17,537, in metro was 27,523, density is 253 per square mile, or 97.7 per square kilometer and this went down by 1.5%.
There are 8,248 dwellings.
Median household income is $57,417 Canadian Dollars ($43,557)
Economy primarily focused on mining, fishing, and forestry.
Other sectors: tourism, customer, contact centers, manufacturing, and provincial/federal government.
Service sector is the city’s largest employer.
Several wood mills have closed causing many residents to migrate west.
Full range of summer and winter sports programs and facilities, including swimming pools, golf course, rinks for skating, curling, and ice hockey.
Best known as haven for outdoor sport enthusiasts with whitewater opportunities and fishing.
The longest zip-line in New Brunswick is located just 30 minutes outside of Miramichi. It crosses the Little South-West branch of the Miramichi River, on a 1100' line, and again on an 800' line.
The overall crime rate was 69.6 offenses per 1,000 people, higher than the provincial crime rate of 56.3 in 2009.
4 beds/3 baths/2,083 sqft/1/4 Acre
He wanted to be perceived as someone strong and powerful and competent, and he tried to even convince himself of that, but his feelings of inferiority were just too overpowering for him, and so he constantly tried to compensate. - Forensic Psychologist
John and Mary Glendenning
Legere's first known victim was John Glendenning, on the evening of June 21, 1986.
After disconnecting the power, Legere and his accomplices Todd Matchett and Scott Curtis broke into the Glendenning store.
After repeatedly beating John and his wife Mary, the trio fled the scene.
Mary regained consciousness and discovered her husband had been beaten to death. She crawled up the stairs to the phone and dialed 911.
The dispatcher spoke with Mary on the phone until the emergency forces arrived. Police tracked down the three and arrested them.
Matchett pleaded guilty to murdering John Glendenning and brutally beating his wife Mary; Curtis and Legere were convicted at trial.
Legere targeted random couples and houses in various places all over New Brunswick.
When he found a suitable target, he would burglarize houses and then beat to death, raped females or either severely wounding the occupants.
He would also set fire to the scene before fleeing.
He was known to have stabbed, strangled and asphyxiated his victims on some occasions.
He also robbed some of his victims.
Escape and Later Murders
Legere was serving his sentence at the Atlantic Institution maximum security penitentiary in Renous-Quarryville, under the responsibility of the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC).
On May 3, 1989, Legere was transported by CSC personnel from the penitentiary to the Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont Regional Hospital in Moncton, New Brunswick, for the treatment of an ear infection.
Legere managed to convince the CSC personnel to let him use a washroom at the hospital alone, and there he picked the lock on his handcuffs with a homemade key he had hidden in a cigar. He then used a piece of television antenna that he had concealed on his body as a weapon and held the officers at bay before fleeing the building.
Legere escaped the hospital property and through a combination of carjacking and motor vehicle theft, was able to evade recapture.
Legere was at large for a period of seven months and during this time committed four additional murders in and around the towns of Chatham, Newcastle, and adjoining communities.
On the night of 28 May, emergency response teams in Chatham, NB — a town on the Miramichi River — were dispatched to the home of Annie Flam, age 75, and her sister-in-law, Nina Flam, age 61, owners of a small neighborhood grocery store. The upper part of their house was in flames. Firefighters found Nina Flam semiconscious at the foot of a stairway. Annie Flam’s remains were found in the fire-damaged ruins of her bedroom. Both victims had been severely beaten and raped.
Fire investigators concluded that an intruder had deliberately set the blaze to destroy the crime scene. Forensic investigators retrieved hair and semen specimens that they hoped could be tested for DNA evidence. However, at that time, the science of DNA testing in criminal investigations was still new. Canada’s first DNA testing facility in Toronto was not yet in operation.
The RCMP took over the investigation and saw similarities in the Flam and Glendenning cases. Legere was their principal suspect, though they could not yet prove he was connected to the crime.
On 2 June, a Chatham contractor found a pair of men’s glasses at a site he was landscaping, very near a home whose occupant had surprised and chased away a burglar the previous day. The glasses were identical to the ones Legere had been wearing at the time of his escape from custody. The Canadian Crime Stoppers Association offered a $2,000 reward for information leading to Legere’s arrest. Police received tips that he had been seen in places as far apart as Fredericton and Toronto. However, they believed he was still in the Miramichi region. The district was plagued by further violent incidents.
On 30 September, Morrissy Doran, age 70, who lived in the Miramichi town of Newcastle, was shot in his back when he confronted an intruder in his home. The next day, an armed assailant broke into the Newcastle home of senior couple Edwin and Evangeline Russell and viciously assaulted them.
Two weeks later, at 7:35 a.m., on 14 October, a Newcastle volunteer firefighter saw smoke coming from the home of sisters Linda and Donna Daughney, ages 41 and 45. He sent out a call for help and rushed to the burning house. Police and other firefighters quickly responded.
The bodies of both sisters were found in the house, one of them tucked into her bed. Both had been badly beaten and raped. Investigators found that the bulb of the back door light had been partially unscrewed from its socket. The crime scene practically duplicated that of the Flam murder. Police learned that Legere had once had a relationship with Linda Daughney, adding to their suspicions that he was the culprit.
Fear now gripped people living on the Miramichi. Residents believed someone in the area was sheltering Legere. Parents kept children indoors, and Halloween trick-or-treating was cancelled. People who lived alone, particularly seniors, stayed with relatives or neighbors. Additional RCMP officers joined the manhunt. The Crime Stoppers reward jumped to $10,000. People who had never before locked their doors did so now, and some bought guns.
On the evening of 16 November, a parishioner went to the priest's residence at the Blessed Virgin Mary Church in Chatham Head, NB, after 69-year-old Father James Smith failed to show up for mass. He found the priest’s battered body on the floor in a room spattered with blood. The rectory safe had been broken into, and Smith’s car was missing.
Recapture, Trial, Aftermath
Forensic Psychologist on Legere’s Rearrest - “Legere only wants to display his violence and aggression where he knows he can win. He'll do it with an elderly woman or someone who's weak and, um, disabled in some way, then he'll show how violent he is; but, with armed police officers, no, he'll just give and end it right there.”
The Crime Stoppers reward hit $50,000, but leads brought police no closer to finding Legere. Then on the night of 23 November in Saint John, Legere hijacked a taxi at gunpoint and told the driver, Ron Gomke, to take him to Moncton. Blowing snow and icy roads made driving treacherous. Gomke lost control of the vehicle and ploughed into a snowbank. Legere waved down a passing car, whose driver, Michelle Mercer, was an off-duty RCMP constable. With both Gomke and Mercer now at gunpoint, Legere told Mercer to drive to Moncton. In the blinding snowstorm, Mercer lost her way. She eventually pulled into a gas station near Sussex, NB for fuel. There, she and Gomke were able to make their escape in her car.
Legere hijacked a transport truck and told the driver, Brian Golding, to take him to Moncton. Meanwhile, Mercer had reached an emergency telephone. Police poured into the area and set up roadblocks. On the morning of 24 November, police stopped the truck near Newcastle. Legere surrendered without a struggle.
In August 1990, Legere was convicted on charges pertaining to his escape, and sentenced to an additional nine years. His trial for the murders began with an indictment in November of that year.
By the time of Legere’s 1991 trials for the Flam, Daughney, and Smith murders, the DNA lab in Toronto was in service.
Legere's trial featured the first Canadian uses of DNA fingerprinting to convict rather than exonerate; in November 1991, Legere was convicted of the murders committed while he had been at large. In 2015, Legere was transferred from the super-maximum security penitentiary (the "SHU", in Sainte-Anne-des-Plaines, Quebec) to the Edmonton Institution in Alberta, where he currently resides.
Legere was classified as a dangerous offender - a designation for Canada’s most violent criminals, considered likely to reoffend.
In 1996, the city of Fredericton shut down its old jail, and in 1999 the building was repurposed into a science museum; the cell in which Legere was held during his 1991 trial is now used for an exhibit on DNA fingerprinting.
June 22, 1986: Black River Ridge, New Brunswick:
John Glendenning (beaten to death)
Mary Glendenning (raped and beaten; survived)
1989: Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont University Hospital Centre, Moncton, New Brunswick:
Peggy Olive (held at knifepoint during his escape; was left alive)
May 29: Chatham, New Brunswick (set fire to victims houses):
Annie Flam (raped and beaten)
Nina Flam (raped and beaten; survived)
October 13: Newcastle, New Brunswick (set fire to victims houses):
Donna Daughney (raped and beaten)
Linda Daughney (raped and beaten)
November 24: Chatham Head, New Brunswick:
Father James Smith (beaten to death)
Note: Legere's escape was also followed by a rash of assaults, robberies and auto thefts for which he was considered a suspect.