Episode 286: On July 9, 1928, the Alberta Provincial Police were alerted to a mass murder at the Booher farm in Mannville, Alberta. Upon arrival, they discovered the bodies of Rose Booher, her oldest son Fred, and two hired hands, Gabriel Grombey and Bill Rozak, all shot dead. 

The younger son, Vernon Booher, was unharmed. He’d been out in the fields working that evening and, after hearing shots, ran back to the house to his mother and brother dead. It was he who’d sounded the alarm.

Two Booher daughters were in town during the incident. The father of the family, Henry, also away during the killings, was devastated. 

Vernon displayed little emotion and soon became the number one suspect in the slayings. He denied involvement, and the murder weapon, a rifle, was missing. Dr. Adolph Maximilian Langsner, an Austrian criminologist and psychiatrist who claimed he could read brainwaves, was brought in to assist. He claimed he read Vernon’s mind, and confirmed he was the killer. Langsner also directed police to the missing firearm, claiming he’d drawn a map taken from Vernon’s thoughts. Presented with the formerly missing rifle, Vernon confessed, stating he killed his mother over her disapproval of his girlfriend and then eliminated witnesses. But his confession was disallowed. Why? His defence attorneys claimed Dr. Langsner had coerced him into it through hypnotism.

Sources:

1928 CanLII 342 (AB KB) | Rex v. Booher | CanLII

2007 SCC 6 (CanLII) | R. v. Trochym | CanLII

2009 CanLII 40558 (ON SC) | R. v. Trochym | CanLII

Hypnotism and its Legal Import

Times Colonist 19 Jul 1928, page 10

Edmonton Journal 24 Jul 1928, page 1

Langsner on the Stand: The Vancouver Sun 26 Sep 1928, page 1

Edmonton Journal 29 Apr 1996, page 1

Edmonton Journal 29 Apr 1996, page 7

Hypnotically Enhanced Testimony in Criminal Proceedings

Book: Strange Days: Amazing Stories From Canada’s Wildest Decade by Ted Ferguson

Book: The Big Book of Canadian Hauntings by John Robert Colombo

Book: Murder: Twelve True Stories of Homicide in Canada by Edward Butts

Detective Maximilian Langsner and the Murderer’s Mind Part 1

Detective Maximilian Langsner and the Murderer’s Mind Part 2

After 17 years, Stephen Trochym admits slaying

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Episode: 285: The 1612 Lancashire trials of the accused Pendle witches, one of the most notorious witchcraft trials in English history, took place during the reign of King James I. Twelve individuals from the area around Pendle Hill in Lancashire were accused of practicing witchcraft and brought to trial at Lancaster Assizes. Of these, ten were found guilty and hanged, one was found not guilty, and another died in prison. The trial is particularly remembered for the testimonies of the accused, especially that of the young girl, Jennet Device, whose evidence played a significant role in the convictions.

While the immediate aftermath of the Pendle trials saw heightened witch paranoia, the extremity of the trials and the nature of the evidence also sowed seeds of skepticism. Over time, as more and more trials took place, some segments of society began to question the validity of witchcraft accusations and the reliability of the testimony of children and confessions obtained under pressure.

It’s believed that from the early 15th to the early 18th centuries, the total number of executions from English witch trials was just under 500.

Sources:

The Lancashire Witches: A Romance of Pendle Forest by William Harrison Ainsworth

Discovery of Witches by active 1612-1618 Thomas Potts

Daemonologie. by King of England James I

The Pendle Witches, a famous witch trial in Lancashire

The History Press: The Pendle Witches

The Demonology of King James I by Donald Tyson – Ebook

Malleus Maleficarum Index

The mark of the Devil: Medical proof in Witchcraft Trials by Sarah Dunn

The Pendle Witches | Lancashire Witch Trials | English Witchcraft

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Episode 284: On the evening of June 24, 1992, after she failed to pick her daughter up from school, 41-year-old Gladys Wakabayshi’s estranged husband, Shinji and her daughter, Elisa, discovered her body in the hallway of their home in Shaughnessy, a posh Vancouver neighbourhood. Gladys had been brutally slashed and bled out on the floor. 

Early on, after uncovering an affair between Derek James, a long-time family friend, and Gladys Wakabayashi, Jean Ann James, 52, Derek’s wife, became the number one suspect in the murder. Jean Ann refused to talk, leaving the police without enough physical evidence to lay charges.

The crime would go unsolved for more than 15 years before Jean Ann James was arrested after she confessed to the murder of her friend during an intricate Mr. Big sting.

Sources:

2013 BCCA 11 (CanLII) | R. v. James | CanLII

2012 BCCA 162 (CanLII) | R. v. James | CanLII

Search — Newspapers.com: Gladys Wakabayashi

Woman confessed to killing husband’s mistress with box cutters, court told

Jean Ann James | Murderpedia, the encyclopedia of murderers

Not So Sleepy Jean

Accused Killer Seen in Victim’s Bedroom 2 Days Before Murder

‘Volatile’ elderly killer loses bid for private visits with cheating husband | CBC News

The “Mr. Big” Police Tactic in Canada Leads to False Confessions…

华人女富豪被割喉家中 血贱温西豪宅 – 温哥华专栏 – Vansky.com

The case of Nelson Hart: 2 girls, 3 years and a mystery ‘Mr. Big’

No New Friends: A Look at the Law Relating to Mr. Big in R. v. Hart : Royle Law | Criminal and DUI Lawyers Toronto

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Episode 283: In this episode, we venture into a controversial and tragic chapter of Canada’s legal history. It intertwines public health, personal relationships, and the weight of the law. We’re talking about the history of HIV non-disclosure cases in Canada.

Part of our journey takes us to the early 2000s, zeroing in on Johnson Aziga, a Ugandan-born Canadian resident. His name would soon become synonymous with a landmark legal battle challenging the boundaries of consent, deception, and responsibility. Aziga was diagnosed with HIV in 1996, but his numerous subsequent relationships would cast him into the national spotlight. Two women, specifically, would become central to his story: both entered into relationships with Aziga, and HIV-related complications tragically took both. The women’s names are protected under publication bans, so we cannot speak to their biographies. Regardless, their untimely deaths would raise a storm of questions about trust, disclosure, and the duty one owes to their intimate partners. Aziga was convicted of murder and deemed a dangerous offender, but argued that his race and status as an immigrant weighed against him. In 2023, the murder convictions were overturned and replaced with manslaughter charges substituted in their place.

NOTE: In this podcast, the names of survivors will be kept confidential, and initials or aliases will be used instead.

Sources:

A history of HIV/AIDS

HIV 101: The History of HIV & AIDS in Canada – Freddie Magazine

The legacy of the HIV/AIDS fight in Canada

R v Cuerrier

After Cuerrier | Publications – Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network

African immigrant damnation syndrome: The case of Charles Ssenyonga

2006 CanLII 42798 (ON SC) | R. v. Aziga | CanLII

2007 CanLII 38 (ON SC) | R. v. Aziga | CanLII

2011 ONSC 4592 (CanLII) | R. v. Aziga | CanLII

Canada: HIV “murderer” Aziga now also a “dangerous offender,” locked up for life

HIV-positive man convicted of murder apologizes to victims

2014 HRTO 144 (CanLII) | Aziga v. Ontario (Community Safety and Correctional Services) | CanLII

2014 HRTO 1465 (CanLII) | Aziga v. Ontario (Community Safety and Correctional Services) | CanLII

Court overturns murder convictions against Ontario man who gave two women HIV, killing them

2023 ONCA 12 (CanLII) | R. v. Aziga | CanLII

Update — Canada: Murder convictions for HIV transmission reduced to manslaughter

HIV Criminalization

Criminal HIV Transmission

Canada: Ontario leads the world in the over-criminalization of HIV non-disclosure

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