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.


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.


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.


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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Episode 282: Aurore Gagnon is probably one of the most tragic figures in twentieth-century Canadian history. She was only ten years old when she died of exhaustion and blood poisoning in her hometown of Sainte-Philomène-de-Fortierville, Quebec, on February 12, 1920. An autopsy revealed at least 54 wounds on her body, presumably inflicted over time by her stepmother Marie-Anne Houde and her father, Télesphore Gagnon. Both were later convicted for their roles in the little girl’s death. Aurore Gagnon’s story has left a lasting impact on Quebec’s cultural memory, inspiring plays, films, and discussions about child abuse and children’s rights in the province.


Aurore! The Mystery of the Martyred Child


Fortierville, Quebec, Canada: Church of Saint Philomena of Fortierville


GAGNON, AURORE – Volume XIV (1911-1920) – Dictionary of Canadian Biography

Généalogie Aurore Gagnon

Centre d’interprétation de Fortierville | Église Ste-Philomène de Fortierville

Monument funéraire d’Aurore Gagnon – Répertoire du patrimoine culturel du Québec

Marie-Aurore-Lucienne “Aurore” Gagnon (1909-1920)…

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Episode 281: On the night of Saturday, October 25th, 1857, in Beaver Lake, a part of Simond’s Parish in St John County, a heinous crime was committed unlike anything ever seen in New Brunswick up to that point. Sure, there had been murders and arsons, but those were often the result of heated arguments or drunken brawls. But this crime was different. It’s hard to believe that anyone in New Brunswick would coldly and calculatedly murder a man named Robert McKenzie, his wife, and his four helpless children, all for the sake of money, and then burn down their property to destroy the evidence. The perpetrators, three Irish Catholics, Hugh Breen and Patrick Slavin Sr. and Slavin’s teenage son, Patrick Jr., targeted the protestant Mackenzie family, robbing and murdering them. This crime, committed on that fateful Saturday night, was, to that point, unprecedented in New Brunswick. Some still feel the crime rivals the worst in the province’s history.


The Beaver Lake tragedy | Internet Archive

The Victorian Era Crime That Shocked New Brunswick: The Beaver Lake Tragedy

McKenzie Murders | Cases | Crime and Punishment | Projects | Faculty of Arts | UNB

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Episode 280: In the early morning hours of July 8, 2019, Vancouver Island RCMP launched a manhunt for two inmates who had escaped from William Head, a minimum security federal institution in Metchosin, south of Victoria. The two men, James Lee Busch and Zachary Armitage had walked away from William Head the day before. The fugitives were arrested on July 9 after an off-duty RCMP officer spotted them in Esquimalt. On July 12, RCMP found the body of 60-year-old Martin Keith Payne, who had not shown up for work, at his home on Brookview Drive, in the community of Metchosin.

Payne’s suspicious death initiated an 11-month investigation led by the Vancouver Island Integrated Major Crime Unit, involving several police agencies. On June 12, 2020, an RCMP news release reported that the escapees, Busch and Armitage, had been charged with first-degree murder concerning Martin Payne’s death.

This event sparked serious debate about the decision-making process that led to these two individuals, both with histories of violent crime, being housed in a minimum-security facility. How had they simply walked away from their incarceration to murder Martin Payne?


RCMP in British Columbia – Two men arrested and charged in the 2019 Martin Payne homicide investigation


The behind-the-scenes story of how ignored warnings at William Head allowed a killer to escape

William Head Rd · Metchosin, BC

Correctional Service on Twitter

The Province 09 Jul 2019, page A13

Archive.org | CAPTURED – Prisoners who escaped from William Head Institution now in police custody

Archive.org | Suspicious Death Investigation Continues in Metchosin

Archive.org | Persons of interest identified in the murder of Martin Payne

Victim died of multiple stab wounds and blunt force injuries, murder trial hears

Woman sentenced for role in murder | CBC News

Metchosin seeks permission to use emergency alerts for prison breaks

Globe and Mail | Inmate tells B.C. court he ‘felt like dying’ while in solitary confinement

Loved ones remember joyous Metchosin man as his killer is sentenced

Family of murdered Metchosin man speaks as killer sentenced to life in prison

Paul Bernardo transfer to a medium-security prison was ‘sound’: review – National

CSC staff ‘worried the circus would begin’ before Bernardo transfer: emails – National

‘My father could have been anyone’: Daughters of murder victim speak out

July marks 4 years since inmates escaped William Head prison, murdered Metchosin man

2019 BCPC 311 (CanLII) | R. v. Armitage | CanLII

2022 BCSC 1407 (CanLII) | R. v Armitage & Busch | CanLII

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Episode 279: In Quebec City, on October 21, 2004, Dario Gallese got an alarming phone call from his younger brother, Eustachio Gallese. In the call, Eustachio admitted to killing his girlfriend, Chantale Deschesnes, 32, and, following his brother’s advice, contacted the police to report the crime. Eustachio was arrested, charged, and convicted of the second-degree murder of Chantale. In late 2006, Eustachio was sentenced to life in prison without parole eligibility for 15 years. 

In 2019, Eustachio was placed into a halfway house on day parole. In September, in what would be a controversial decision, his case management team allowed Eustachio Gallese to visit sex workers to have his sexual needs met, as long as he was ‘transparent’ with his case management team about these visits. 

On the night of January 22, 2020, Eustachio Gallese walked into a Quebec City police station and admitted to having murdered another woman, a 22-year-old masseuse named Marylène Levesque, whom he’d become obsessed with. Marylène’s body was found in the Sainte-Foy (Sant-Fwa) hotel room where Gallese said she would be. She’d been stabbed 30 times.

A month later, Eustachio Gallese, then 51, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years. After a public outcry inciting parliamentary debate, the Correctional Service of Canada and the Parole Board of Canada announced a joint investigation into Gallese’s release.


2004 CanLII 56627 (QC CS) | R. c. Gallese | CanLII

2009 QCCA 1071 (CanLII) | Gallese c. R. | CanLII

Meurtre de Marylène Lévesque: une vigile contre les féminicides

Meurtre à Sainte-Foy: «C’était prévisible», dénonce la fille de la victime

Debates (Hansard) No. 14 – February 4, 2020 (43-1) – House of Commons of Canada

Stigma and Criminalization of Sex Work Facilitated the Murder of Marylène Levesque

Correctional services missed signs leading up to Marylène Levesque murder, says report | CBC News

Warning signs were missed prior to murder of Marylène Lévesque: report | Watch News Videos Online

Internal investigation into the murder of Marylène Lévesque: Pierre Paul-Hus calls for the immediate reopening of the internal investigation | Pierre Paul-Hus

Joint National Board of Investigation: Correctional Service of Canada – Parole Board of Canada

Enforcing prostitution laws could have saved Marylène Lévesque | The Star

Marylène Lévesque – Investigation Report | PDF

Capitalism Is Killing My Fellow Sex Workers

How Canada’s sex work laws put lives at risk | CityNews

Quebec City man sentenced to life with no parole for 25 years for 1st-degree murder of sex worker | CBC News


Correctional Service Canada takes concrete actions in response to Board of Investigation results

Why Sex Work Should Be Decriminalized

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Episode 278: In this episode, we plunge into the perplexing saga of Grace Marks and James McDermott. Their story, a blend of mystery and controversy, revolves around the savage murders of wealthy Richmond Hill farmer Thomas Kinnear and his housekeeper, Nancy Montgomery, in 1843. This tale continues to ignite debates about guilt, innocence, and the essence of criminality.

We’ll lay out a tangled web of facts and speculations surrounding these infamous figures and their crimes. We journey through Grace’s life, from her hazardous upbringing in Ireland to her immigration to Canada and her involvement in one of the 19th century’s most notorious crimes. We also delve into James McDermott’s role and his complex relationship with Grace Marks, a subject of relentless speculation.


Grace Marks | The Canadian Encyclopedia

Life in the Clearings versus the Bush by Susanna Moodie – Free Ebook

The trials of James McDermott and Grace Marks | Digital Archive | Toronto Public Library

An Historical Enigma: the real Grace Marks and Alias Grace | Anna Mazzola

Is ‘Alias Grace’ a True Story? Separate Fact vs. Fiction

Beyond Grace: Criminal Lunatic Women in Victorian Canada

The Trial and Testimony of Grace Marks, Murderess: Gender Performance in a Colonial Courtroom, Upper Canada 1843 by Ashley Banbury

Early Days in Richmond Hill

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Episode 277: On January 26, 2012, Jo Anne Alexander called 911 from her residence in Richmond, B.C., pleading for help and mentioning that she had ingested sleeping pills. Upon arrival, police found Jo Anne and her husband, John Alexander, in their bed with their deceased family dog. John was dead and had suffered blunt-force injuries. His death was ruled a homicide. Jo Anne was rushed to a nearby hospital, where she was arrested after a conversation with police and subsequently charged with second-degree murder.

A B.C. Supreme Court jury found Jo Anne Alexander guilty of the second-degree murder of her husband in March. She was sentenced to life in prison with no parole eligibility for 11 years. The court heard that the couple had been in severe financial distress, living off the proceeds from the sale of their home and borrowing from friends and family. In a letter to her family, Jo Anne, apparently suicidal, said the couple was facing “financial ruin” and that her husband didn’t understand.

John and Jo Anne’s son, David, will share his experiences over the past 11 and a half years since his father died in the next part of this episode.

The following episode includes talk of suicide. If you need help, you can contact a crisis responder to get help without judgement, twenty-four / seven, 365 days a year at 1-833-456-4566. For more information, please go to talksuicide.ca. You matter and are deserving of help. 


Get Help | Talk Suicide Canada

2014 BCSC 293 (CanLII) | R. v. Alexander | CanLII

2014 BCSC 1306 (CanLII) | R. v. Alexander | CanLII

Richmond woman, 63, gets 11-year prison term for murder of ailing husband – Richmond News

Richmond woman charged with murdering invalid husband of 40 years | Globalnews.ca

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Episode 276: On March 27, 2020, Jacob Sansom, 39, and his uncle, Maurice Cardinal, 57, both Métis, went hunting in Glendon, Alberta. They later began driving along Range Road 484, where they were mistakenly suspected of planning a burglary by Roger Bilodeau, a white property owner. Bilodeau, 58, and his 16-year-old son, Joseph, gave chase, reaching speeds up to 150 km/h. Another son, Anthony Bilodeau, 33, was called to join during the chase. He did and brought a gun. 

After a confrontation at an intersection near Glendon, Alberta, Anthony shot and killed both Sansom and Cardinal. The Bilodeaus fled the scene, offering no aid, nor did they contact authorities. The victims’ bodies were discovered by a passerby hours later.


Justice for Jacob and Morris

Obituary of Jacob Christoper Sansom | Northern Lights Funeral Chapel

Obituary of Maurice David Cardinal | Northern Lights Funeral Chapel

Justice For Jake and Morris | Facebook

Métis National Council

2022 ABQB 576 (CanLII) | R v Bilodeau | CanLII

2023 ABKB 13 (CanLII) | R v Bilodeau | CanLII

Global News | Search: Jacob Sansom and Morris Cardinal

Métis hunters’ families reacts to Anthony Bilodeau’s sentence | APTN News

Surveillance footage shows Metis hunters’ deaths | Toronto Star | YouTube

Alberta father and son both guilty in killing of two Métis hunters | The Star

Metis hunter in Alberta says threats not new in province | APTN News

Experiences of discrimination among the Black and Indigenous populations in Canada, 2019

History of Racism in Canada – Anti-Racism Learning Toolkit – Library and Academic Services at RRC Polytech

White Canadian man found guilty of murder of two Indigenous hunters | Canada | The Guardian

Edmonton Journal | Jacob Sansom and Morris Cardinal Murdered

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