29 mars 2009



I Francis Gabriel Thompson’s personality;
II The Miami events;
III Notary J. Conrad Moreau’s trip;
IV Thompson’s alibi;
V Thompson’s credibility;
Vi Conclusions.

Excerpt from the Brossard Report, Vol. 2, Chapter 8: Bottles of alcoholic liquor


(A literal translation by Clément Fortin)
On the list of objects found in the pick-up truck abandoned by the American hunters, or near that pick-up truck, two bottles of alcoholic liquor were mentioned; this list, drawn up for the use by the police at the trial, was made available to the defence attorneys.
In the course of this enquiry, officer FAFARD mentioned on exhibit No. 25: “An empty bottle of brown colour” and “An empty bottle of Seagram’s Blended Whisky, containing one pint”. It was, so he thought, Canadian whisky; information obtained from the Quebec Liquor Commission confirmed that the “Seven Crown” was in fact American Rye Whisky.
Officer SINNETT stated that he was present with sergeant Doyon when those empty bottles were found; he forgot to pick them up, but he knows that no finger prints were taken on the bottles and pretends that no special precaution was taken in picking them up, that they were simply put in a box and taken to inspector Maurice Hébert of the Provincial Police.
Mr. HÉBERT, who is in charge of the Department of Judiciary Identity for the Eastern Province for some years, stated that sergeant Doyon never suggested to him to take prints on the bottles, not more than on other objects and that no one else had asked him to do some.
Mr. HENRI BERNIER, technician at the employ of the Québec Provincial Police, more specifically, with regards to fingerprints, explained to this Commission the science of taking fingerprints; he stated having taken notice of a temperature chart of the Gaspé peninsula, at the time of the murders, showing that a fair amount of rain had fallen and that there were temperature gaps, his experience of thousands of identical cases, studied by him, gives him the certainty as to the bottle left outside during more than a onth, the chances of taking fingerprints on it are « almost null not to say null », and that, as to a bottle that would have been left in the pick-up truck for more than a year, parked and abandoned in the woods, the chances of taking fingerprints are excessively weak. His experience also tells him that it is excessively difficult if not impossible to take fingerprints on objects sent to other parts of the province, even if they are packed with much care in an air tight package and that fingerprints that we might take are not legible. At the time of the Coffin affair, he was asked to take fingerprints on two rifles but he was not able to take any identifiable fingerprints. He does not seem to have been invited to take fingerprints on the liquor bottles.
Mr. MAURICE HÉBERT informed the Commission that he had taken fingerprints on two « human » hands that were identified later on and one of them belonged to one of the victims. .
Dr. JEAN-MARIE ROUSSEL, medical expert, who went to the Gaspé bush at least on two occasions states that it is possible that he saw one or more bottles coming from the places where the truck had been found, or from where a corpse had been found, but he does not remember; it was not mentioned before him that fingerprints be taken on objects other than the hands of the victims and on a rifle. He says that it would have been impossible to take fingerprints on a bottle « left like that in the bush » exposed to bad weather outside of the pick-up truck.
Let us underline that the lists of objects found were at the defence attorneys’ disposal, as well as the objects found and that had not been filed before the jurors, that all the preceding witnesses, with the exception of Mr. Bernier, testified at the trial and were in Percé, that if Coffin’s attorneys had decided to present a defence, it would have been easy for them to bring to the knowledge of the jury the fact that no fingerprints were taken on the found bottles, this would then have justified the Crown to prove the very great difficulty, if not the impossibility, of taking fingerprints and that finally nothing was hidden to the defence regarding this particular matter.
Lastly, Mr. HERBERT PALMER, a gaspesian guide and a witness at the trial, stated before this Commission having never been a guide for Lindsey and Claar, that he only met them on one occasion in 1951 for merely half an hour, knowing nothing of Eugene Lindsey’s « drinking habits » and never having seen him drink.
Therefore, how is it possible not be flabbergasted by the two following paragraphs quoted from Mr. Jacques Hébert’s book:
Page 37 :
« But Berth Palmer was not home; his family informed the police that he was working on the North-Shore. It is surprising, however, that he was not called to testify at Coffin’s trial, if it was only to inform the court on the other Lindsey’s hunting parties, to which he had himself participated. The court was satisfied with the police testimony. Page 120 :
« On the other hand, Burt Palmer, a Gaspesian who had guided Eugene Lindsey in previous hunting parties, knew well the habits of the Pennsylvanian. Lindsey’s confidential man, Palmer did not drink at all. “I was on four hunting trips with him in the four seasons preceding the murder. Eugene Lindsey never brought liquor with him”.
And by the following paragraph:
Page 121 :
« As these bottles were not mentioned at the trial, they were not filed in court. Doubtlessly, they were prematurely destroyed with the exhibits, a few days after Coffin’s execution. »
The allegations of this last paragraph are false as to the destruction of the bottles. It was established before us that, with the exception of the personal belongings of the Lindsey and Claar families that were returned to them, no exhibits were destroyed; and we know that those exhibits were at the disposal of the defence attorneys who could have had them filed in the court should they had thought it timely.
On the other hand, in his book Mr. Hébert has described what follows at page 121:
« This time, however, according to Claar, Lindsey had a whisky bottle purchased, surely Canadian. He did not buy any in Gaspesia: all those who had sold something to the Lindsey party were summoned to the trial. As to Lindsey’s son and to his young friend Frederick Claar, they did not drink. On the other hand, it is impossible that Coffin himself had bought American whisky since the Quebec Liquor Commission did not import any at that time.
If the police had investigated, they would have known Lindsey’s particular taste for Canadian whisky and would have concluded, like me, that neither Coffin nor any of the three hunters could not have, logically, brought the American whisky bottles where the detectives found them.
And even although Lindsey, unlikely hypothesis, had hidden in his luggage two bottles of whisky of a kind that he did not like, could he have drunken them alone, the same day, at the same place, before his young son?
The empty bottles found near the victims’ remains showed the proof that unknown people had been on the crime scene before or after Eugene Lindsey’s death. »
Mr. Thomas Miller who guided Lindsey in his hunting parties in 1951 and 1952, and consequently before that of 1953, reported to us a) that Mr. Eugene Lindsey had sometimes « a little » alcoholic liquor b) that he drank scotch, but he is not sure about that and he does not recall that he had a preference for Canadian liquor as opposed to American liquor.
In the first three paragraphs that I just quoted, it is a question of facts purely hypothetical for which no proof was submitted to the Percé jury and for which no proof was presented to us; it is childish to state that Mr. Lindsey, senior, had a particular taste for Canadian whisky which would have prevented him from bringing with him bottles of American whisky. On the other hand, Mr. Hébert forgot to mention that before meeting Coffin for the first time, the Lindsey party had previously met a party of four Gaspesians in company of whom they were photographed with the camera of one of the young people (those photographs were filed in court); how may one conclude, like Mr. Hébert does it in an off-hand manner, that the two bottles were emptied by Mr. Lindsey himself? In fact, only a bottle and a half was found empty, one of the two bottles was still half full.
Under the circumstances, it is not surprising that Coffin’s attorneys did not raise, in their pleadings, the argument that the empty bottles found near the remains of the victims showed the proof that unknown people had been on the crime scene before or after the death of Eugene Lindsey, since they knew that Eugene Lindsey had, before his first contact with Wilbert Coffin, met four Gaspesians. And who might have said that Coffin himself had not touched those bottles with Eugene Lindsey or after the death of the latter?
If one may forgive Mr. Hébert for his imagination that has nourished his hypotheses, a faulty memory which might have him to forget the four Gaspesians who had previously met the Lindsey party (unless he ignored this meeting because he did not care to read the proof that was made at Coffin’s trial) and the faulty argumentation, one cannot excuse him for having stated untrue facts to attempt to justify his hypotheses and conclusions.

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