The Death of Helen Betty Osborne

The Aboriginal Justice Implementation Commission


Chapter 3

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The Casue of Death
The Activities of Betty Osborne before the Murder
The Activities of Johnston, Houghton, Colgan and Manger
The Early Evidence Connecting Johnston, Houghton, Colgan and Manger to the Murder
The Evidence against Johnston
The Evidence against Manger
The Evidence against Colgan
The Evidence against Houghton



The Murder TOP

The Cause of Death TOP

Betty Osborne’s body was found approximately 23 metres into the bush adjacent to the pump house at Clearwater Lake. The evidence showed that she had first lain to the west of some mounds of earth 12 metres from the edge of the bush. She was then dragged further into the bush to the place where she was found. The lack of any melting of the snow at this point suggests that Osborne was already dead when she was left there.

The photographs and the descriptions given by a number of witnesses make it clear that Osborne suffered a vicious beating, particularly to her face. This occurred either during the venting of some unimaginable fury or with the intent of making her identification impossible. Her clothing, other than her boots, was removed and hidden over 30 metres away, below some rocks on the breakwater which extends some 45 metres out into the lake. Obviously, her boots must have been off at one point and then put on again. Whoever murdered her acted in a brutal and bizarre fashion.

The autopsy report adds some details to what was obvious. Along with well over 50 stab wounds, her skull, cheekbones and palate were broken, her lungs were damaged, and one kidney was torn. Her body showed extensive bruising. The massive number of puncture wounds to the head and torso confirmed other evidence that was presented at the trial which suggested that a screwdriver was at least one weapon used. The other weapon or weapons presumably were hands or feet or some other blunt instrument. It is impossible to conclude, from the condition of the body, whether more than one sharp object, such as another screwdriver, was used or exactly what else caused the injuries. Nor is it possible to say with absolute certainty at what point during her violation Osborne died. The autopsy did show that Osborne had not been raped during her ordeal. TOP





The Activities of Betty Osborne before the Murder TOP

At 6:00 p.m. on Friday, November 12, 1971, Betty Osborne arrived home for supper with Patricia Benson. An hour later, she went to St. Anthony’s Hospital to visit a friend. There she met George Ross, an old friend whom she had known from her childhood visits to Cross Lake. Osborne phoned Patricia Benson to ask if she could bring Ross home for a visit. Ross and Osborne bought some beer and together they went to the Benson home and sat talking and drinking until 10:00 p.m., when Patricia Benson asked them to stop. At 10:30 Osborne asked if she could go to the store and Benson agreed.

Osborne and Ross went to the downtown area of The Pas. She passed by the lobby of the Cambrian Hotel where she saw her boyfriend, Cornelius Bighetty, with some of his friends. At this time, around 11:00 p.m., Osborne and Bighetty argued because Bighetty was with another woman. This argument was to result in his becoming a suspect when the RCMP began their investigation. At 11:10, Osborne and Ross left the hotel lobby and went to the Northern Lite Cafe where they sat with other friends.

From the cafe, Ross, Osborne and two of their friends, Eva Simpson and Marian Osborne, went to a shed in the Bensons’ yard where they drank beer. Shortly after midnight, first Marian Osborne and Simpson, then Ross and Betty Osborne, left the shed to return to the downtown area of The Pas. At 12:30 Ross left Osborne and went home. It is not known what Osborne did in those last few hours of her life. She was seen passing the Cambrian Hotel at 12:45 and later seen at a dance at the Legion at approximately 2:00 a.m. At 2:15 in the early morning of Saturday, November 13, 1971, Rebecca Ross, a long-time friend, saw Osborne walking west on Edwards Street away from the dance. Apart from Colgan, Houghton, Manger and Johnston, she was the last person to see Betty Osborne alive.

Although Osborne had consumed some beer during the evening, Colgan’s evidence makes it apparent that her judgment was in no way affected. She did not want to accompany the men and made this very clear. Her conduct, again as described by Colgan, indicated that she did not wish to get into the car with the four, resisted being there and resisted their advances throughout the evening up until her death. It is absolutely certain she was an unwilling participant in the events of that night. TOP





The Activities of Johnston, Houghton, Colgan and Manger TOP

Our knowledge of the movements of James Houghton, Lee Colgan, Norman Manger and Dwayne Johnston that evening is pieced together from the testimony of Colgan, the trial evidence and information in Constable Urbanoski’s report to the Inquiry.

At 8:00 p.m. on Friday, November 12, Colgan borrowed his father’s car, a white, 1967, two-door Chrysler, and went driving around The Pas. He picked up Houghton and Manger. The men purchased beer and continued to drive around the town. After the beer was finished they broke into a friend’s apartment and took some fortified wine.

By the early hours of the morning the men were looking for more excitement. Houghton, Manger and Colgan visited the dance at the Legion, where they drank beer with some other men in the washroom. The three returned to the car and continued "cruising." It was probably during this time that they picked up Dwayne Johnston.

Houghton was driving. Manger was in the passenger side of the front seat. Colgan was behind Houghton and Johnston was seated behind Manger. Colgan’s evidence was that they had formed a common plan to find an Indian girl with whom to drink and have sex.

Driving along Third Avenue, they saw a lone Indian female walking. This is close to where Osborne was last seen alive. We do not know if someone suggested they stop and pick her up or if Houghton did that on his own initiative. If someone else made the suggestion, at least Houghton complied and it was he who pulled the car alongside and then stopped beside her. There is nothing to indicate that any of the occupants of the car recognized the woman as Betty Osborne.

The men attempted to convince Osborne to go and "party" with them. She refused and Manger opened the door to let Johnston out of the car. Johnston then pushed Osborne into the car and she was driven away. Houghton drove 24 kilometres to his parents’ cabin at Clearwater Lake. Confined in the back seat of the car between Johnston and Colgan, Osborne was assaulted, sexually and physically. The two men ripped her blouse and grabbed at her breasts. At the cabin, Osborne was dragged from the car and attacked by Johnston while the others stood around drinking and watching. Others may have assisted in the beating. In his statement to the police on March 10, 1987, Colgan admitted that he assisted Johnston when he was beating Osborne at the Houghton cabin.

When they became concerned that others in the area might hear her screams, Johnston and Colgan forced their victim into the car once more. Houghton drove several kilometres farther away from town in the direction of the Guy Hill Residential School along Provincial Highway 287, to the pump house where the final assault and the murder were committed. There, if we are to believe the testimony of Colgan, Johnston alone pulled Osborne from the car and commenced the final assault upon her while the other three sat in the car and continued to drink.

Colgan told the preliminary hearing and the trial that while he, Manger and Houghton were sitting and drinking in the car at the pump house, he could hear banging against the side and rear of the car. Colgan said at the trial that he assumed Osborne was being beaten. After what Colgan at the trial guessed to be "five to ten minutes," the banging stopped. At some point, Houghton got out of the car. The evidence of Colgan at the trial was that at this time Osborne was still alive. The dome light in the car came on as Houghton left the car and, Colgan said, "I got a fast glimpse of her and I didn’t think she had very many clothes left on." Colgan’s evidence further suggested that after some minutes, Johnston returned to the car, leaving Houghton outside with Osborne. We do not know precisely what Johnston said at this time since Colgan’s testimony varied on this point. Johnston, having found a screwdriver under the front seat, once more left the car.

Shortly after this, Colgan climbed over the front seat into the driver’s seat and turned the car around. He claimed he called out twice to Houghton and Johnston that he was leaving. After the second time, Colgan said, he heard the response, "Just a minute." The evidence given by Colgan suggested that soon after this, Johnston and Houghton returned to the car and one of them announced, "She’s dead."

Colgan drove away from the murder scene back along Highway 287 toward town. He told us he remembered that the screwdriver was wiped off and thrown from the car.

When the men reached The Pas, Colgan said that at least he and Houghton went back to the dance at the Legion, where they stayed for perhaps half an hour. We do not believe that they did. It is more likely the dance was over by this time.

In his testimony at the trial of Houghton and Johnston, Colgan stated that when he and Houghton parted that night, they agreed to "keep it quiet." The next morning, Colgan stated, he washed blood off the back of the car and, looking inside, noticed a small stain on the back seat. Colgan’s evidence at the trial of Houghton and Johnston suggested that over the few weeks following, the four made a pact not to speak about Osborne’s murder. TOP





The Early Evidence Connecting Johnston, Houghton, Colgan and Manger to the Murder TOP

No one but the four men in the car knows exactly what happened that night. The men maintained their pact of silence and for 15 years the police were unable to put together sufficient evidence in order to lay a charge. The investigation was hampered in its early stage by significant police errors. In its middle stage the investigation was allowed to become dormant. When it was renewed with vigour by Constable Urbanoski in 1983, a pattern of evidence emerged to link the men to the abduction of Betty Osborne. But even then the admissible evidence which could be used to support charges was not strong. In this section we will review the evidence, and what it reveals about the actions of the men on the night of the murder and about their behaviour in the years that followed. These are the facts which the police tried unsuccessfully for so many years to uncover and put together into a case against the four.

In Chapter 4 we will examine the various stages of the police investigation which produced this evidence.

Brian Johnson, a 17-year-old acquaintance of the men’s, told the police he had been in the Colgan car at about 1:30 in the morning of November 13 with Colgan, Manger, Houghton and Gordon Buck, another acquaintance. Johnson said he had got out of the car because Colgan was too drunk to drive. Later, Houghton took over the wheel.

Johnson told police that he last saw the car with Colgan, Houghton and Manger in it some time around 2:00 a.m. It was only shortly after this, at 2:15, that Rebecca Ross saw her friend Betty Osborne for the last time.

Some time after 4:00 a.m. that same morning, Philip McGillivary, a taxi driver returning from dropping two customers at the Guy Hill Residence, followed a car along Highway 287 between the pump house and the turn-off to the Houghton cottage. McGillivary told the police on November 17, 1971, that the driver obviously was drunk and was "zigzagging all over the road." As he came closer to the car, he felt he couldn’t pass because it "was all over the road." When the car turned to enter the road to the Houghton cottage, it almost went into the ditch. McGillivary also noticed something with red spots on it on the road about a quarter mile west of the entrance to the airport. In a later statement to police on December 1, 1971, McGillivary described this as a paper or rag with red spots on it. Under hypnosis, McGillivary later remembered four of the six characters in the car’s licence plate. These closely matched the licence number of the Colgan Chrysler.

When they came to examine Colgan’s car, seven months later, the RCMP found a small spot of human blood on the back seat of the car. Under the rear seat they found a piece of brassiere clasp which at one time was part of the brassiere found the day after the murder alongside Highway 287. The police also found under the rear seat some human hair "with similar characteristics" to Osborne’s hair. None of this evidence, however, was linked conclusively to Osborne.

The only statement made by the suspects and known to the police by the end of 1972 was an admission made by Colgan to Cpl. Keith Duncan to the effect that he had been at the scene but had done nothing. He gave no details of who else was present or what was done. TOP





The Evidence against Johnston TOP

The evidence against Dwayne Johnston was that provided by Lee Colgan after he was granted immunity from prosecution in 1987. In addition, there was an admission made by Johnston at a party in the spring of 1972 which did not come to police attention until 1985.

Colgan’s evidence placed Johnston in the car at the time of the abduction and described his assaults on Osborne both in the car and at the cabin. It placed Johnston alone with Osborne outside the car at the pump house when there was noise of banging against the car, and told of Johnston’s coming back to the vehicle to obtain a screwdriver. Colgan’s evidence also spoke of Johnston’s final return to the car and the announcement, "She’s dead."

Additional evidence against Johnston came from a woman who testified at his preliminary hearing and trial, and also before us, about references he had made to his involvement in a murder. When she appeared before us the witness was concerned for her safety and asked not to be identified. Consequently, we will refer to her as Unidentified Witness #1. She said that one evening when she was 14 she had gone to the home of an acquaintance. Six people were there drinking beer and talking when the witness arrived, and perhaps 12 were present by the time she left, approximately half an hour later. Among those at the gathering was Dwayne Johnston. The witness told the court that at one point in the evening Johnston stood up, made stabbing motions and said, "I picked up a screwdriver and I stabbed her, and I stabbed her, and I stabbed her." And then he laughed. The witness said that shortly after Johnston was heard to say, "Do you know what it feels like to kill someone? It feels great." At the time, this witness was threatened immediately by a friend of Johnston’s and told never to mention what Johnston had said. She did not come forward until the RCMP placed an article in the Opasquia Times, seeking information.

This evidence in and of itself did not implicate Johnston in the crime since the name of Betty Osborne was never mentioned, nor were the date, place or event identified. There was no direct link between any of the evidence against Johnston and Osborne’s murder. Nor, at the time of his arrest, was there any other admissible evidence linking Johnston to the murder. The police had learned Johnston’s name from an informant who had heard rumours around town. Rumours are not admissible in a trial. Colgan’s evidence, given after his immunity in 1987, was what linked Johnston clearly to Osborne’s murder.

Johnston, as is his right, did not testify at his trial for the murder of Betty Osborne, nor did he ever make a statement to the police. When called before the Inquiry, he refused either to be sworn or to give unsworn testimony. He was aware that previous testimony both at the trial and at our hearings indicated that he was primarily responsible for the murder. We urged him to avail himself of the opportunity to tell his side of the story. He remained adamant that he would not testify.

Johnston’s refusal to testify has had certain consequences which are worth noting. We have only one version of the events of that evening: that of Colgan. Colgan’s evidence may, of course, be self-serving, but he laid blame firmly on Johnston’s shoulders. Johnston knew that. As we will comment later, we suspect that Colgan changed his evidence at the trial somewhat to assist his friend Houghton, but we have no way of knowing to what extent. We do not, however, think that he changed his testimony so as to place more guilt on the shoulders of Johnston than should properly be there. Colgan’s story has not varied in portraying Johnston as the main instigator of Osborne’s murder.

As far as our examination of the facts is concerned, Johnston’s refusal to testify before us leaves Colgan’s version of the events unchallenged. Johnston’s failure to refute Colgan’s testimony allows us to conclude that it generally is accurate in relation to Johnston’s role. It reinforces the correctness of the jury’s decision in convicting Johnston. TOP





The Evidence against Manger TOP

Colgan’s evidence was that Norman Manger was heavily intoxicated the evening of Osborne’s murder. Manger himself has said he was so drunk that he has very little recollection of the events of the evening. At the trial of Houghton and Johnston he admitted being in the car with Colgan, Houghton and Johnston. He claimed neither to remember how much he had had to drink when he got into the car, nor how much he had while he was in the car.

The police questioned Manger a number of times during the 16 years of the investigation. Until he agreed to testify at the trial of Houghton and Johnston, he denied having any knowledge of the murder. On June 6, 1972, when first questioned about the night of Osborne’s murder, Manger gave an alibi that he admitted later was false.

It was not until November 11, 1987, just before the start of the trial of Houghton and Johnston, that Manger admitted being in the car that night. In his statement that day Manger told the police:

I was pretty drunk that night. I ended up at the dance. Somehow I ended up going for a ride. There were three other guys there with me. There was more liquor being drunk at this time also. I don’t recall picking up the girl or where she was picked up. I imagine she was picked up in town. The next thing I can remember is her being pulled through a snowbank. It was dark and I had this terrible feeling of oh, my god, what’s happened here. I got this awful fear and I covered my ears or something and tried not to think about what was happening. I was in the front seat on the passenger side. (Exhibit No. 27, p. 1)

Even though he finally did admit that he was there in the car that evening, Manger still insisted at the trial and before us that he had no recollection beyond that. He did acknowledge before us that he learned something more of the events of that evening through other people and through rumours that were circulating in town.

Manger’s evidence as to his role that evening is consistent with that of Colgan. Colgan’s evidence at the trial of Houghton and Johnston placed Manger in the car and drunk from the time when Osborne was picked up until the time she was killed. Colgan also said that when the assault was taking place, Manger was cowering under the dashboard of the car.

We are not convinced, however, that Manger has told us all that he remembers of that night. Colgan’s evidence was that it was the intention of all four to pick up a girl with whom to have sex. This implicates Manger in the abduction only if he were able to form the "intention" to commit the act. When he talked with Const. Hank Moorlag in September 1972, Manger at one point seemed willing to talk about what happened at the lake and to take a polygraph test. He was not prepared to talk about what had happened earlier in the evening. While we do not know what he might have said, since he changed his mind after seeing his lawyer, D’Arcy Bancroft, before the police could administer the polygraph, his attitude suggested he knew more about events than he told. It also suggested he was not being truthful when he denied any recollection of the events of the evening.

Because he was willing to discuss the murder with Moorlag, presumably Manger knew little about it, and because he was unwilling to talk about the abduction, it seems likely he knew more about those events than he led us to believe.

The evidence against Manger placed him in the car. He apparently agreed to pick up a woman for sex and, as the passenger in the right front seat, probably had to open the door and move his seat forward to let Johnston out, and to let him and Osborne back in. There is, however, no evidence other than his presence to implicate him in the actual beating. We have heard no evidence that he laid a hand on Osborne or did anything to cause her death. He was present in a drunken state.

The Evidence against Colgan TOP

Colgan told a number of people about his presence during the abduction and murder. In November 1971, very shortly after the murder, he told Catherine Dick of his involvement and mentioned the names of Houghton and Manger. Colgan said that a fourth man was involved but Dick did not remember his name. It was Dick who in May 1972 sent the anonymous letter to police which first gave them the names of three of the participants. In the spring or summer of 1972, Colgan told a young woman, who preferred not to be named when testifying before us, that he and some others "picked up that squaw at the Cumberland Block" and had taken her out to the lake for a "gang bang." There, he told this informant, Johnston had stabbed the victim with a screwdriver.

In September 1972, when questioned by Corporal Duncan, Colgan admitted that he had been at the scene but said he had done nothing.

Colgan obviously had told his father something by September 1972 since Bud Colgan admitted to Cpl. Denys Stewart and Cpl. Charles Koppang at that time that his son knew what had happened but, in Stewart’s words, had "not laid a hand on the girl."

Before Colgan’s marriage in 1973, his mother insisted that he tell his prospective wife of his involvement in Osborne’s murder. In 1976, Arlene Demmings, who was by then separated from Colgan, told the police that during their three-and-a-half-year marriage, he often spoke of the murder when he was drunk.

In the summer of 1977 or 1978, Colgan discussed the murder with Sheriff Gerald Wilson. The two had met at the Legion clubroom and later went outside to Wilson’s camper for a drink. Colgan was upset because a man whom he assumed was a police officer had been sending Screwdriver drinks over to his table. During their conversation Colgan gave Wilson details of the abduction of Betty Osborne and confirmed the identity of the other men in the car when she was picked up.

In 1978 or 1979 Colgan also told Kathy Phillips, a civilian employee of the RCMP, about the murder and that he had been in the car. Moorlag, who retained an interest in the file following his first work on it in 1972, told us that there were other informants who had heard admissions from Colgan but who would not agree to testify in court.

As far as we are able to determine, in all these statements, Colgan claimed that although he was there, he had done nothing. Annette Veito gave a statement to the police in which she said that on December 1, 1984, Colgan said to her, "I can tell you exactly what time she died and where." Veito told the police that Colgan added that he, Houghton, Manger and Johnston had picked up Osborne at the Cumberland Block near the Legion. She told the police, "He told me that they had killed her at the airport and then went to the pump house." Manger, he told her, was passed out in the back at the time. In this statement too, Colgan suggested that he remained in the car while the murder took place. Veito told the police that Colgan said, "Dwayne came back for the screwdriver."

Veito did not testify on this point at the preliminary hearing and did not testify at all during the trial. It seems that her reliability was suspect due to inconsistencies in her recollection. She remembered being stopped by a car and talking to the occupants on the evening of the murder around the same time as Brian Johnson saw them. She, however, believed that it was Colgan’s brother, Rick, driving his own car with Houghton, Manger and Johnston as the occupants. Clearly, she was mistaken on several points regarding the car and who was in it. It was Colgan’s father’s car that Lee Colgan was driving with Houghton and Manger as passengers. None of Colgan’s admissions implicates him directly in Osborne’s murder. His statement to Veito strongly suggests that he knows much more than he has admitted, but it does not contain an admission that he participated in the murder.

Colgan was charged with murder on October 3, 1986, but did not stand trial. Just before he was scheduled to appear at his preliminary hearing to determine if the case should come to trial, Colgan sought, and was granted, immunity against prosecution for "any offence in any way related to the murder," in return for his testimony at the trial of Houghton and Johnston. Until his immunity and subsequent statement, Colgan did not admit circumstances that might have led to charges relating to the abduction of Osborne and the manner in which she was treated in the car. Colgan’s only earlier admission was that "he was there." TOP





The Evidence against Houghton TOP

Houghton, to the best of our knowlege, has never made any admissions regarding the events of November 12 and 13, 1971. Until Colgan agreed to testify, the only evidence linking Houghton to Betty Osborne’s murder was the fact that Brian Johnson and Annette Veito placed him in the Colgan car on the evening of November 12. That would not have been sufficient to support charges or a conviction against him.

In some of his statements to others, Lee Colgan had mentioned Houghton’s name, but such evidence could not have been used against Houghton. It has long been the law in Canada that the statement of one accused person can be used only against him or her and not against others. Colgan’s many admissions would have been evidence only against him and not against the other men.

At the trial of Houghton and Johnston, Colgan told the court that the day after the murder he met Houghton and the two of them discussed the events of the previous evening. Colgan was asked what was said. He replied, "Just that we should keep it quiet for now." Manger said much the same thing. After he had told the court that he and Colgan had agreed to "keep it quiet," he was asked if he had spoken to Houghton about the incident and what had been said. He replied, "It was similar to the same thing, just like we were all in it even if it’s circumstantial, the evidence–kind of like it happened, but just to keep it quiet, I guess." Apart from this, there is no evidence that Houghton ever talked to anyone about his role in the abduction and murder of Betty Osborne.

Like Johnston, Houghton did not testify at his trial. When he was called before us, his answer to all the questions about his activities that evening was that he had "no recollection." He did not deny that he was involved; he would say only that he did not remember. At no time did he say that he was not there or that he was not involved in the murder. The evidence of Houghton was much more revealing than he intended it to be. Clearly, he was unwilling to challenge Colgan’s testimony.

It was not only in relation to the events of that night that Houghton claimed his memory was faulty. He said he could not remember speaking with D’Arcy Bancroft, the lawyer who claimed to be representing him after he had become a suspect. He said he could not remember signing the letter which Bancroft sent to the police on September 26, 1972, demanding that the police desist from "harassing" Houghton. He also would have us believe that he remembered nothing of his discussions with the RCMP about taking a polygraph test on September 25, 1972. He displayed a good memory of other matters but suggested he has no memory of any matter even remotely connected with the murder or the events that followed.

He claimed that, although he knew he was a suspect in the murder along with Colgan, Manger and Johnston, he at no time discussed the murder with the other suspects and made no inquiries about the incidents of that night. We do not believe him. Nor do we believe that he has no recollection of the events of that night. We are satisfied that Houghton was there during the abduction and murder of Osborne. We are satisfied that he knows what happened that night and that his claim to have no recollection of that night was a complete fabrication.

Colgan’s evidence was that Houghton was the driver of the car which pulled over next to Osborne. Houghton was a party to the plan to take Osborne to the lake for sex. Colgan said that it was Houghton who drove the car out of town, to his parents’ cabin, and then to the pump house. From Colgan’s evidence at the trial it is clear that Osborne was alive when Houghton got out of the car at the pump house, and dead when he got back in. The drag marks and footprints on each side of the body made it clear that two people dragged Osborne to the spot where she was left.

The jury acquitted Houghton of the charge of murder. The reason he was acquitted is not known and the law forbids anyone from asking a juror why a particular decision was reached. We assume that either the evidence satisfied the jury that Houghton was not a party to the murder, or that they were not satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that he was. An unwillingness to rely on the evidence of Colgan may have been a factor. Regardless, he has been acquitted of murder and can no longer be tried on that charge. We will consider later whether the evidence could have supported other charges against Houghton. TOP





Conclusions TOP

Much of the evidence about what occurred that night comes from Lee Colgan, an admitted alcoholic, drug-abuser, wife-beater and thief. There is reason to question the testimony of such a witness and we have looked carefully at all that he has told us. We do not hesitate in saying that we believe that Colgan was not fully forthright and honest in his testimony before us or at the trial of Houghton and Johnston. We believe that Colgan was less than truthful in describing his role and that of Houghton during that night. We do not believe that Betty Osborne’s treatment and injuries came at the hands of one man alone. We accept Colgan’s evidence about Johnston’s actions that night but we believe that Colgan has withheld facts from his testimony about his and Houghton’s actions that night.

What is clear from the evidence is that all four men decided to pick up an Indian woman for sex. They approached Betty Osborne. When she refused them, she was abducted. In the car she was physically and sexually assaulted by at least Johnston and Colgan. At the Houghton cabin the beating continued with Johnston and one or two others involved. At the pump house where the murder took place, Johnston and Houghton got out of the car. All four men participated to some extent in the events leading up to the murder. Manger may have been so intoxicated that he could have avoided a criminal conviction for his involvement, but all four men are morally, if not legally, responsible for Betty Osborne’s murder.

We do not believe that it was Johnston alone who assaulted Osborne at the pump house, dragged her into the bush, hid her clothes and left her. We believe that at least one other person assisted Johnston while he was out of the car at the pump house. The first officers at the scene of the crime remain convinced that two persons dragged the victim into the bush. There were many tracks of footprints from the parking place of the car to the place where, apparently, it was first intended to leave the body of the victim. The evidence was that two sets of bloodstained footprints led back from the place where the body was finally left to the place where the car had been parked. All this suggests that more than one person participated.

In Chapter 7 we will discuss the Crown’s decisions with regard to the laying of charges against the four men. TOP

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