Canadian True Crime - 137 Colin Thatcher and the Murder of JoAnn Wilson—Part 3

Episode Date: May 21, 2023

[ Part 3 of 3 ] Accusations of coaching witnesses and shaky alibis are levelled at the defenders and supporters of Colin Thatcher. His own contribution from the stand? Deny, deny, deny. And though the... jury comes to a verdict, this story doesn’t end there.Content Warning: this episode contains mentions of domestic abuse.Canadian True Crime donates monthly to help those facing injustice.This month we have donated in memory of JoAnn Wilson to the Regina Transition House, an emergency crisis shelter for women and children in the city. Learn more at information:A Canadian Tragedy: JoAnn and Colin Thatcher: A Story of Love and Hate by Maggie SigginsPodcast recommendation: True Crime BylineFull list of resources, information sources, credits and music credits:See the page for this episode at Hosted on Acast. See for more information.

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Starting point is 00:01:39 Canadian True Crime is a completely independent production, funded mainly through advertising. You can listen to Canadian True Crime ad-free and early on Amazon music included with Prime, Apple Podcasts, Patreon, and Supercast. The podcast often has disturbing content and course language. It's not for everyone. Please take care when listening. This is the final part of a three-part series. Where we left off, it was 1984, and Colin Thatcher was on trial for the murder of his ex-wife Joanne Wilson. The crown had finished laying out its case, which included testimony about the various statements Colin gave to Gary Anderson and Charles Wilde about arranging to have Joanne killed. There was the recorded
Starting point is 00:02:25 conversation with Gary and statements reported by Colin's Palm Springs girlfriend, Lynn Mendell. There was his purchase of a revolver, special ammunition, and a holster in the United States, which Lynn said had been hidden in a Barbie doll shower box and taken to Canada, and the fact that the police found those items at his home in Moose Jaw. There was the blue Oldsmobile seen surveilling Joanne's house in the days before she was murdered that matched a car that Colin Thatcher had borrowed from the government, and the fact that his credit card receipt was found feet from the crime scene when it had no reason to be there. But there was one more surprise witness that the crown hadn't banked on, and he likely wouldn't have come forward had he not
Starting point is 00:03:14 had a chance encounter with investigators after the trial had started. The last witness for the crown was Richard Dick Culver, Colin's close friend and former leader of the Saskatchewan Progressive Conservative Party, who wooed Colin Thatcher over from the Liberal Party. You might recall that after Colin and Joanne first separated, Richard Dick Culver invited him and the kids to visit at his family ranch in the United States over Christmas. Colin showed up with his three kids, as well as their longtime babysitter, Sandra, who was 17 years old at the time. Richard and his wife were shocked to hear Colin and Sandra referring to Joanne as that bitch in front of the kids. Richard Dick Culver told the jury
Starting point is 00:04:10 that the next morning he initiated a private conversation with Colin to talk about the fact that he seemed obsessed with Joanne and their separation, so much so that he wasn't paying attention in Parliament. Richard testified that Colin told him, quote, I have only one solution for the bitch. When Richard asked him what he meant by that, Colin reportedly replied, The only solution is I've got to hire somebody to kill her. He then asked Richard to do him a favour and contact some of his own acquaintances who reportedly knew some awful people and see if he could be put in touch with them. Richard told the jury that he flat out said no and scolded Colin for crossing the line of their friendship and even bringing
Starting point is 00:05:01 the subject up. He pointed out how ridiculous Colin's obsession had become and asked him to leave the ranch and not visit again until he'd dealt with it. On cross-examination, Colin's defence lawyer suggested to Richard that the hit man conversation was facetious and both men were either drunk or hungover. Richard stood firm and denied this. Richard continued telling the jury that after Colin left the ranch, he decided to seek legal advice because he was concerned about his friend's behaviour. Ultimately, he gave Colin the benefit of the doubt, hoping it would all blow over. But it didn't. Richard testified about the following year, 1980, when Colin asked him to contact Joanne as a favour and try to negotiate a custody
Starting point is 00:05:56 agreement. Colin commented that the legal costs were blowing out and this might save him some money. He told Richard that quote, Bottom line is I must have the boys. Richard told the jury that Colin seemed obsessed with his boys and carrying on the Thatcher name. After that, he met with Joanne and they reached a new agreement with Ease, an agreement he recommended Colin accept. But he was surprised that Colin remained defiant. The bitch isn't going to get anything. The court heard that this was the last straw for Richard and he ended his friendship with Colin. After he heard that Joanne had been shot in the shoulder, he again contacted his legal counsel to ask what his obligations were and was told he was under no legal obligation to
Starting point is 00:06:50 come forward. He decided not to. After Joanne was murdered, he said he received the same advice and made the same decision. But soon after the trial started, Richard happened to be in Saskatoon and was approached by investigators. He would say he made a decision to testify for the sake of civic duty. The trial was paused for a voir dire to determine if his evidence was admissible and then he was called to testify. So that was the Crown's case. They had laid out the evidence to show that either Colin Thatcher murdered Joanne Wilson himself or he aided and abetted someone else. But the jury wouldn't need to determine which of those were true. Their only decision would be whether Colin Thatcher was ultimately responsible for causing Joanne Wilson's
Starting point is 00:07:50 death. The defense focused on corroborating Colin's alibi for both of the times Joanne Wilson was shot. Seven witnesses were called to testify for the defense, including Colin Thatcher, his teenage sons Greg and Regan, their former babysitter Sandra, Colin's custody lawyer Anthony Tony Merchant and two others. When Colin took to the stand in his own defense, he denied any involvement in his ex-wife's death. He described Joanne Wilson fondly as the kind of person you marry and have children with. He denied ever physically abusing her. He denied having any hatred or bitterness towards her and he denied that she lived in fear of him. He also denied making those comments about hiring a hitman to Richard Dick Culver.
Starting point is 00:08:52 Colin told the jury that it was actually Richard who brought up the idea of hiring a hitman as a joke. Colin said he was disappointed because he wanted to have a serious conversation with his friend about his marriage situation, but Richard couldn't handle his liquor very well and he suggested ingest that Colin should hire a hitman to take care of his wife. Quote, Dick is the cheapest drunk in the world. Colin also specifically denied that he or the babysitter Sandra ever referred to Joanne as that bitch. His oldest son Greg would testify that he remembered that visit to the ranch and denied that Sandra ever said anything unkind or derogatory about his mother. Gary Anderson had testified about Colin Thatcher requesting the first meeting with him at an
Starting point is 00:09:47 abandoned farm in the fall of 1980, just a few months into the contentious custody battle over Regan. How Colin had asked him if he would kill his ex-wife Joanne and Gary replied he wouldn't but would have a think about someone who would. Colin testified that it was the other way around. The reason he called the meeting with Gary Anderson was to discuss leasing more land from his family and during that meeting Gary asked him if he was interested in, quote, doing a number to Ron Graham. As you'll recall, Ron Graham was Colin's former business associate who had a brief affair with Joanne and helped her when she first decided to leave the marriage. Colin told the jury that Gary informed him Ron had cut corners in a construction job and wanted to get him back for
Starting point is 00:10:42 that. Colin said he wasn't interested. He denied giving Gary any money. He denied Gary's story about Charles Wilde. He denied that Gary had been the middleman and he denied ever meeting Charles in person after the failed hits. He also denied ever giving him money to travel to the United States to kill Joanne there and denied that he provided information about Joanne's Easter travel plans as well as her parents address. Denied, denied, deny. Colin was also asked about Gary Anderson's testimony that after the hired hitman plans fell through, Colin asked him to acquire a firearm and rent him a vehicle. Gary had purchased a 303 bolt action Lee Enfield rifle, the high powered main firearm of the British military along with
Starting point is 00:11:37 ammunition to go with it. Colin denied that these purchases had been at his instruction and he also denied that the contract Gary signed for a rental car was at his instruction. Colin Thatcher described Gary Anderson as volatile and irrational and claimed that he fabricated his testimony about what happened behind the scenes based on details published in the press. A large part of Colin's testimony focused on his alibis. Joanne Wilson had been shot and injured in her Regina home the first time at about 10 p.m. on May 17th of 1981. Colin told the jury that he was at home in Moose Jaw with his middle son Regan who was 11 years old at the time. His eldest son Greg was at a friend's place and didn't return until 10 30 p.m. after the shooting
Starting point is 00:12:35 had taken place. So Regan was the only person who could corroborate Colin's alibi for that shooting. Now 15 he testified that he was at home that night as his father opened up the swimming pool and that's where he remained the entire evening. On the stand Regan also spoke briefly about his experience during the prolonged custody battle when his father refused to speak about his whereabouts. The teenager acknowledged that the judge awarded his custody to his mother and also that she didn't know where he actually was for many months. Regan testified that he refused to live with his mother but didn't give any reasons or an explanation about why. He said that during that time he'd been in the United States living with his grandmother Peggy Thatcher and attending private
Starting point is 00:13:32 school there. He testified that his father visited him from time to time and sometimes his lawyer Anthony Tony Merchant would come as well. Regan explained that during those times he had to avoid visiting the condo so the lawyer wouldn't see him. Tony Merchant of course was at the time representing Colin Thatcher in the divorce and Colin was claiming that he didn't know where his son was a strategy that could have been jeopardized if his lawyer actually saw Regan in Palm Springs himself. Regan told the jury about returning to Canada to live with his father in Moose Jaw which he said was about two weeks before his mother was shot the first time in Regina. As you'll remember Joanne was scared for her life after that and during her recovery in
Starting point is 00:14:26 the hospital she made a decision to back out of the custody fight for Regan's sake so Colin effectively won by default because he had outlasted her. According to a court document Regan testified that he quote was happy that an application was made to change his custody after the first shooting but there was no emotion expressed about the shooting itself or the impact it had on his mother. The court document noted that Regan described the babysitter Sandra as someone who was close to us. Colin Thatcher's former girlfriend Lynn Mendell had testified about several things he said to her after the first time Joanne was shot including a comment he made that the only thing that saved him was quote that the police didn't go actually go physically to my house to see that I was there.
Starting point is 00:15:25 He denied saying this to her he also denied telling Lynn in an amused tone that quote gee I didn't gauge the thickness of the glass so the bullet obviously deflected because I only got her in the shoulder. Colin denied that he told Lynn he'd driven to Regina in a car someone else had rented for him and that he'd put on a disguise consisting of a wig a long shaggy beard and overalls he denied telling her that he'd approached Joanne's home with the high powered rifle and shot her through the glass denied telling her that he'd taken back roads to drive back to moose jaw and that he'd thrown the rifle the wig and the overalls in a field somewhere. Colin confirmed that he and Lynn spoke frequently on the phone during their long distance relationship
Starting point is 00:16:16 but denied making any arrangement for coded messages. While Lynn had testified that Colin asked her several times to marry him he told the jury that she was under a misconception. He confirmed that she lived in his condo in Palm Springs and travelled with him back to moose jaw many times where she met his family but he stated that he was not looking for a lasting relationship. Just as he had done with Gary Anderson Colin Thatcher suggested Lynn Mendele had fabricated her own testimony based on details she'd read in the press about the man seen fleeing from Joanne's home just after the first shooting. Both Lynn Mendele and the gun shop owner in Palm Springs had testified about Colin's purchase of a Ruger Security 6 357 Magnum revolver
Starting point is 00:17:15 and then in a separate transaction special ammunition and a holster for it. Colin acknowledged this purchase and confirmed Lynn's testimony that he had practiced shooting with the revolver in Palm Springs. He told the jury he just wanted to try out the special bullets. He denied packing the revolver up in the Barbie doll shower box to take it back to Canada though and claimed that it had actually been stolen from his Palm Springs condo probably by a cleaning lady. Colin testified that he did report the revolver as missing to the authorities in Palm Springs but a court document notes that the police there had no record of such a report. Because Colin claimed the gun never went back to Canada he of course denied asking Gary Anderson to have a silencer made for it. He also
Starting point is 00:18:10 denied knowing anything about the holster his executive assistant found in the car or how it got there. Denied, denied, denied. On the stand Colin detailed what he'd done the day that Joanne was murdered leading up to his alibi. This included him driving between his home in Moose Jaw and his ranch near Karen. As you'll remember Moose Jaw is about 70 kilometres from Regina where Joanne was murdered and the ranch is even further out than that an additional 25 kilometres from Moose Jaw. Colin testified that he spent the morning at the ranch and then left it around lunchtime to drive the 20 minutes into Moose Jaw for lunch. He spent the early afternoon there doing paperwork before leaving at about 4pm to drive back out to the ranch where he said he spent some
Starting point is 00:19:08 time checking his livestock. One of the defence witnesses was the wife of Colin's long-time ranch manager. Her name was Barbara and she testified that she saw Colin at the ranch at about 5pm and then she saw him leave to head back to Moose Jaw at about 520 or 530pm. But on cross examination she was asked why she never told the police this when she was first interviewed. Barbara told the jury that when the police arrived she didn't think of Colin as a suspect in Joanne's murder so she didn't think to tell them that she'd seen him at the ranch. But the crown pointed out an inconsistency. One of the police officers noted that Barbara told them she hadn't seen Colin Thatcher for months. Barbara denied saying this quote why would I tell him I hadn't seen him for
Starting point is 00:20:08 months he practically comes out to the ranch every day. After Colin Thatcher was arrested several people provided sworn affidavits in support of his application to be released on bail. Barbara was one of them. It was on this affidavit that she first reported seeing Colin at the ranch at about 5pm. On the stand she admitted that before the affidavit was prepared she'd received calls from Colin Thatcher, his son Greg and his lawyer Anthony Tony Merchant but she denied that any of them coached her on what to say. Between work deadlines coordinating my kids social lives or getting that spring yard work out of the way it often feels like I don't even have time for a dash to the grocery store let alone cook a meal and clean up the kitchen. When life gets a bit too
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Starting point is 00:22:59 Jaw at about 5 30 p.m. give or take five minutes and they waved at each other he said he recognized Colin's truck because he worked on it from time to time but on cross-examination the crown pointed out several inconsistencies when the police first spoke with Patrick he never mentioned anything about seeing Colin Thatcher that afternoon almost 18 months later he was one of the people who submitted a sworn affidavit in support of Colin's bail application and reported for the first time that he'd driven past Colin in Moose Jaw between 5 and 5 30 p.m. this would have been in direct conflict with Barbara the ranch manager's wife who said Colin left the ranch after 5 20 but at trial Patrick testified that he saw Colin closer to 5 30 a time that was more aligned with the testimony
Starting point is 00:24:02 of Barbara when Patrick was asked about these inconsistencies he said he'd since remembered that he was trying to get to a paint shop that closed at 5 30 sharp and he was now confident about the time and as for why he didn't mention this to the police when they first showed up Patrick testified that the police showed him a sketch of the bearded man seen leaving Joanne Wilson's garage a sketch that didn't resemble Colin Thatcher so he wasn't prompted to think about where he'd seen him the crown pointed out that one of those police officers noted that when they visited Patrick to investigate Joanne Wilson's murder he called her a few nasty names Patrick confirmed this and added quote I did not like the woman I don't pull any punches
Starting point is 00:24:57 Colin Thatcher himself had testified that he walked in the door of his moose jaw home at about 5 45 p.m. 15 year old Regan Thatcher and 19 year old Greg Thatcher testified separately that their father arrived home at around 5 30 p.m. They said they sat down to eat a hamburger dinner with him and their babysitter Sandra at about 6 p.m. After Colin's arrest both Greg and Regan provided sworn affidavits in support of their father's bail application a court document notes that their evidence at trial was consistent with the information they gave in their sworn statements and despite rigorous cross-examination their evidence was not shaken Sandra the babysitter testified that she didn't know when Colin arrived home
Starting point is 00:25:56 because she was in the kitchen at the time the 22 year old said she arrived at the house at around 5 p.m. and started making hamburger helper for dinner a dish made with pasta and ground beef the first time she said she saw Colin was when they sat down for dinner at about 6 p.m. The same time they always ate she told the jury that the family ate their dinner really quickly and it was their turn to clean up so she left the Thatcher home at about 6 15 p.m. Sandra had also provided a sworn affidavit to support Colin's bail application and on cross examination she acknowledged that she may have spoken to him before the affidavit was prepared so Colin his two sons and the babysitter had testified that they sat down to eat dinner together
Starting point is 00:26:51 at around 6 p.m. the same approximate time that Joanne Wilson pulled into her garage in Regina which is 70 kilometers from Moose Jaw the jury heard part of the recorded conversation with Gary Anderson where Colin alluded to his alibi he said he was lucky that night because quote I was home with four people four people pretty pretty solid and that's pretty hard what about you are you covered at the time Gary said yes he was but asked under questioning or if something ever happened would they ever crack those your witnesses never never never never they tried during cross examination crown prosecutor Serge Kuyava suggested to Colin that his family had rehearsed and fabricated testimony to give him an alibi he also suggested that Colin had used his
Starting point is 00:27:47 children by bringing them into the courtroom and arranging front row seats for them at their own mother's murder trial Colin denied this and got more and more aggravated as he explained that he wanted his kids to be close to him during the trial quote if you think they did not tell the truth Mr. Kuyava then why don't you take the appropriate action rather than asking me about it the leader post reported that sparks flew when the crown asked Colin to remain calm he refused and shot back quote it's very easy to say my sons have lied why don't you step out on the courthouse steps and say that we don't have immunity it was the equivalent of Colin Thatcher asking the crown prosecutor to meet him under the bleachers after school if the goal of this line of questioning
Starting point is 00:28:42 was to give the jury a taste of that Jekyll and Hyde persona that Lynn Mendel mentioned it had been a success the next part of Colin's alibi was about what happened after dinner the crown had presented evidence to fit with two possible narratives that Colin had either hired a hitman to murder Joanne or he'd committed the murder himself the jury had already heard the driving reconstruction evidence that suggested it was possible for Colin to have murdered Joanne and Regina just before 6 p.m. and then speed back to moose jaw in as little as 28 minutes just in time to take the first phone call from his lawyer the crown wasn't trying to prove that Colin murdered Joanne himself but just show that it was technically possible if the jury assumed of course that the
Starting point is 00:29:38 testimony of his sons and babysitter about sitting down to dinner with him was inaccurate the defense chose to counter the crown's evidence by attempting to establish the exact timing of that first phone call today it would have been easy with precise phone records but the court documentation indicates that SaskTel the phone company automatically deleted phone records after three months and these records were not available for the trial so the defense relied on the recollections of witnesses Colin Thatcher testified that this first call from his lawyer came about 15 to 30 minutes after dinner but when his lawyer Anthony Tony Merchant took to the stand for the defense he testified that he first called Colin at 6 15 the implication was that it
Starting point is 00:30:36 would have been impossible for Colin to commit the murder just before 6 p.m. and be back at home in time for Tony's phone call at 6 15 this earlier time was also corroborated by Colin's sons Regan and Greg in their own testimony but there were some inconsistencies in his sworn affidavit in support of Collins bail application Tony Merchant stated he received a call from his law partner with news that something had happened at the Wilson home sometime before 6 30 and he called Colin immediately afterwards this statement would have fallen in line with the crown's theory that it was possible for Colin to have committed the murder himself but by the time Tony testified he had adjusted his recollection to 6 15 the crown asked him how he managed to shave those minutes
Starting point is 00:31:36 from the time frame and Tony responded that his lawyer advised him not to be too specific about the time in his affidavit Anthony Tony Merchant took the jury on a bit of a roller coaster ride as part of his testimony he claimed that he had previously obtained his own personal phone records for the first and second phone calls he made to Colin Thatcher that night but they'd been stolen during several breakings at his office he said the records appeared to be the only thing that was stolen and suggested that the Regina City police might have been involved in the theft as they would have benefited from having those records but the next day Tony admitted that he'd clarified the timing of the office breakings and realized that he was wrong to infer that the
Starting point is 00:32:33 police were somehow involved to this the judge commented quote I find it incredible that Merchant would make such an inference about the police without any basis in fact the roller coaster continued with Tony revealing that he actually had backup copies of the stolen phone records which he produced but under cross examination he acknowledged that the records weren't precise and they only indicated that the first phone call was made sometime between six and seven p.m they were of no help to the timeline at all Colin testified that after he took the first phone call from Tony Merchant he immediately called his girlfriend Lynn Mendel in Palm Springs and repeated what Tony had said
Starting point is 00:33:27 the precise timing of that phone call wasn't established either including by Colin or Lynn herself but in closing arguments Colin's criminal defense lawyer Jerry Albright would suggest out of nowhere that the police had details about a long-distance phone call made at 6 24 p.m that night from Colin's moose jaw home to Palm Springs this might have supported the defense narrative that it was impossible for Colin to have murdered Joanne himself but the judge would point out that no such evidence was admitted or presented at trial the jury would be cautioned to totally disregard this comment about the long-distance phone call there had been a lot more back and forth about the timing of phone calls that evening but overall there was nothing specific
Starting point is 00:34:23 or factual enough to prove or disprove anything about whether it was possible for Colin to have committed the murder himself it was all a bit of a moot point anyway because again the crown wasn't trying to prove who murdered Joanne only that Colin Thatcher was ultimately responsible for it Colin testified about the rest of that evening stating that the first time he learned that his ex-wife had been fatally shot was a subsequent phone call he received from Tony Merchant after 7 p.m he said he felt sick upon hearing this and decided to go jogging to deal with it later that evening he said his friends came over to console him and he drank a lot of alcohol on cross-examination Colin Thatcher was asked about Lin Mendel's testimony about a specific
Starting point is 00:35:21 comment he made after Joanne was murdered Lin told the jury that when Colin returned to Palm Springs he was paranoid about the condo being bugged but once they were outside he told her quote I have to admit it is a strange feeling to have blown your wife away on the stand Colin denied that the conversation went like that and provided an alternative explanation quote we were in bed and she asked me very quietly did you blow her away and I said I cannot imagine what a strange feeling that would be no of course not the crown asked him if he ever told Lin that he killed Joanne Colin replied no certainly not it was said that the main reason Colin insisted on testifying in his own defense was so he could explain the recorded conversation between himself
Starting point is 00:36:22 and Gary Anderson and he did line by line Colin told the jury that the comments had been taken out of context to cast a shadow of guilt on him and he provided alternative explanations for each of the comments that depicted him in a much better light the jury had heard the recorded call in its entirety including the part where Gary told Colin he cleaned the 1974 mercury and gotten rid of the stuff out of the car the black jacket sunglasses and tuft of hair that seemed to come from a wig Colin was heard saying good in response to this comment but on the stand he claimed this comment was about a topcoat scarf and gloves he'd left in the car he said he was happy that Gary had retrieved those items for him because he didn't want anyone else to find them when it came to that
Starting point is 00:37:21 $500 payment that Colin left for Gary the money that the police went back and retrieved Colin essentially said he paid Gary off because he'd mentioned having some difficulties with his car and he didn't particularly care to see him again in another part of the conversation Colin told Gary they shouldn't be seen together but he shouldn't worry about being caught the jury heard Colin stating it ain't coming to that because they have no way of there's only two places to put the connection together and they got zero else you know what there is to put together and it ain't possible and it ain't coming from me I mean just always remember that if they ever say that I said this or that it's a crock of garbage it's just always deny deny deny Colin was
Starting point is 00:38:11 asked to explain this comment in the context of his protests of innocence he replied quote when you have done nothing wrong I see nothing wrong with saying it the crown prosecutor told him that he took deny deny deny to brand new heights lastly at the end of the recorded conversation Gary shouted back at Colin I'm glad you got her and Colin replied okay Colin testified that he thought this reference was about his daughter Stephanie and the fact that he showed up at her friend's home the day after Joanne's murder to take back physical custody Colin Thatcher had an alternative explanation for almost everything but he wasn't able to provide an explanation about why his credit card receipt for the purchase of gas was found a hundred kilometers away at the crime scene he
Starting point is 00:39:10 didn't deny that the receipt was his but under cross examination he suggested it may have been planted there by someone Colin Thatcher described all the circumstantial evidence as bad luck the crown prosecutor told him he'd had a lot of bad luck the high-profile trial lasted 17 days with onlookers lining up for hours each day in freezing cold temperatures in the hope that they might get a seat in the courtroom in closing arguments defense lawyer Gary Albright asked the jury to acquit his client Colin Thatcher and said that the key to the case was that credit card receipt found by the police outside the garage it was an indication that Colin had been framed because quote only a madman an insane person would drop their calling card at the scene of a murder where
Starting point is 00:40:10 it could be found the defense reminded the jury that Collins Alibi had been corroborated by his two sons Sandra the babysitter Anthony Tony Merchant and the others who testified about seeing him that evening the lawyer asked the jury to consider quote how many people do you know who would lie under oath at a first-degree murder trial crown prosecutor Serge Kuyava pointed out the inconsistencies between their original statements to police their sworn affidavits and the evidence they gave a trial whereas the testimony given by Lynn Mendel was consistent with the testimonies of Gary Anderson and Charles Wilde even though Lynn had never met either of the two men and didn't know them the crown described the argument that Colin Thatcher had been framed as absurd pointing out that the
Starting point is 00:41:07 murderer would have had to brutally beat and shoot Joanne Wilson to make it look like it was a crime of passion committed by him before the jury retired to deliberate justice J H Ma reminded them that Colin Thatcher did not have to kill Joanne Wilson himself to be found guilty of first-degree murder the job of the jury was only to determine whether he was responsible for it and if they did they should find him guilty the jury deliberated for four days and on November the 6th 1984 Colin Thatcher was found guilty of the first-degree murder of Joanne Wilson the leader post described him stiffening closing his eyes and lowering his head his face suddenly drawn and gray as he clutched a Bible to quote the newspaper the decline and fall was now complete confidence
Starting point is 00:42:08 crumbled and the arrogance died Joanne Wilson's parents Betty and Harlin Geiger described the verdict as a tremendous relief Betty said quote we feel it was a just and appropriate verdict though there is not a great deal of happiness after her daughter Joanne was shot the first time she thought the bitterness Colin felt had subsided and assumed it wouldn't go further than that quote it's just hard to believe anyone could hate anyone that much no matter what she added that it would have been nice if any of the people who knew about the first shooting would have come forward before the second Joanne's father commented in reference to Richard Dick Culver's testimony that he saw legal advice after both times Joanne had been shot and was told he had no
Starting point is 00:43:03 legal obligation to come forward Harlin Geiger said quote I think the legal profession ought to take a look at moral as well as legal responsibility if they had Joanne might be alive today after the verdict a journalist from the Canadian press asked Colin if he was going to appeal and he said quote no I'm not going to appeal it doesn't matter now I am innocent I didn't do it but it wasn't in the cards and now I will not be appealing Colin Thatcher was sentenced to life in prison with no eligibility for parole for 25 years he would serve the first part of his sentence at the maximum security Edmonton institution after the trial the eldest Thatcher boy Greg assumed the role of running the ranch and the role of parent to his younger siblings
Starting point is 00:44:07 after all their mother was dead and their father was serving a life sentence for her murder they would soon have to sort out their father's financial problems including the foreclosure of some of his property and they were also facing a years-long battle over their mother's estate Joanne Wilson second husband Tony Wilson resigned from his job and moved to Toronto where he had a new job lined up the star Phoenix reported that he said it was hard to live in the fishbowl that was Regina the leader post published a 15 page special on the case with full coverage of the trial superintendent Jim Kane who directed the investigation for the Regina police spoke about what a huge investigation it was and how they had help from the RCMP and other police departments
Starting point is 00:45:03 across Canada and the northern United States in the early stages of the investigation he said that many of the investigators formed the opinion that it was a hired killer who committed the killer who committed the murder but quote as time went on and we eliminated possible suspects and possibilities we began to concentrate on Thatcher himself and as we gathered bits and pieces and circumstantial evidence why we were convinced that it was Thatcher he said they were further convinced after comparing the separate stories of Lynn Mendel in California and Gary Anderson in Gary Anderson in Saskatchewan in conjunction with the manor of Joanne's death quote whoever was responsible had to have hated her and wanted her to suffer first before killing her
Starting point is 00:45:58 the superintendent also mentioned several curveballs that investigators had to deal with that pulled them away from the investigation including nine-year-old Stephanie's abduction the day after her mother was murdered there was also a mysterious delivery of red roses that Colin said he received the day after Joanne's funeral investigators tracked down the sender in case it was related to the murder and they apparently cleared three men from Vancouver who sent the flowers for unknown reasons but it was still a diversion from the murder investigation after the trial many were talking about the number of people who knew about Colin's intentions or suspicious behavior and didn't come forward perhaps if someone did
Starting point is 00:46:51 Joanne's murder might have been prevented in fact the leader post reported that it went all the way to the top of provincial politics in Saskatchewan during question period NDP opposition leader Ellen Blackney referred to two different newspapers that reported from a cabinet meeting that happened around the time Colin Thatcher's divorce was finalized he was quoted as saying why do i have to pay the divorce settlement when a bullet only costs a dollar when premier Grant Devine was asked if he ever heard this conversation all he would say was that what happens in cabinet is confidential Colin changed his mind and launched an appeal of his conviction
Starting point is 00:47:41 his main issue was the fact that the crown presented two theories to the jury that he actually killed Joanne Wilson himself or that he aided and abetted the killer and either way he was guilty Colin's legal team argued that these two theories were factually inconsistent many of his other issues centered around the trial judge's charge to the jury about how they should evaluate all the evidence and he claimed the crown deliberately withheld material evidence the appeal was dismissed but because the vote wasn't unanimous one out of the five judges dissented this meant Colin was eligible to take his case to the Supreme Court of Canada in May of 1987 the Supreme Court acknowledged that the crown did present two factually inconsistent
Starting point is 00:48:36 theories but quote the overwhelming mass of the evidence against Colin Thatcher however was consistent with both theories and pointed only to his participation in the murder Canada's highest court concluded the jury was correct in convicting Colin Thatcher and affirmed that it wasn't necessary to decide on the form of Colin's participation in the murder whether he was the killer or the mastermind both amounted to first-degree murder and Colin's appeal was dismissed this meant he had exhausted all his appeal options there were other tactics available to him but they would come a few years later the murder of Joanne Wilson and the entire story of her relationship with Colin Thatcher had captured the attention of many Canadians both in the
Starting point is 00:49:32 province of Saskatchewan and across the country a year after the trial the first books were written on the case including a Canadian tragedy Joanne and Colin Thatcher a story of love and hate author Maggie Siggins told the star Phoenix that she was overwhelmed by how many people still believed that Colin Thatcher was innocent she speculated that had there been a smoking gun had Colin Thatcher been found standing over Joanne's body maybe the people would be satisfied but quote that's not the way first-degree murders are planned her book was quickly turned into a TV miniseries by the cbc called love and hate the story of Colin and Joanne Thatcher there were other books released including Colin Thatcher deny deny deny first edition by Garrett Wilson and
Starting point is 00:50:28 Leslie Wilson this book noted the privilege that Colin Thatcher had as both a wealthy rancher and a prominent and influential politician and how he disregarded the law time and time again the authors joined many who criticized the Saskatchewan legal system for allowing him to get away with behavior that was both evasive and combative he was already ruthless determined to get his own way no matter the cost and each time he was able to get away with evading the justice system it only emboldened him to continue doing it the authors referred to the custody battle over Regan pointing out that if anyone else had behaved in court the way Colin Thatcher did over custody of his own son if anyone else evaded a custody order and refused to speak on the whereabouts
Starting point is 00:51:24 of an 11 year old child they would have been jailed but because Colin Thatcher was a sitting member of the legislature by law he could not be jailed in a civil proceeding he was effectively given the benefit of the doubt time after time the book also stated that Colin Thatcher benefited from the fact that many people were reluctant to speak out about behavior they witnessed that was at least suspicious and usually incriminating quote whether they were motivated by fear or a desire to protect the result was that Colin walked secure behind a shield of silence for at least three years between the first shooting of Joanne and his arrest Richard Dick Culver and Lynn Mandel were two examples given of people who knew of Colin's intentions before
Starting point is 00:52:17 Joanne was shot the first time and said nothing that may have been so back in 1985 but these days we know more about the power imbalances in abusive relationships both had very different relationships with Colin Thatcher and very different risk factors when it came to speaking out Lynn Mandel had testified to being in an abusive relationship with a man 12 years older than her she knew Colin was a well connected and influential politician in Saskatchewan and she was an unmarried woman in her early 30s at a time when women faced immense societal pressure to find a husband and start a family while the clock was still ticking Lynn testified that she wanted to get married even after she knew Colin had shot his ex-wife in the shoulder
Starting point is 00:53:12 and was planning to have her murdered and after he beat Lynn up for asking about marriage she still wanted to marry him Lynn had a lot to lose a lot to worry about if she spoke out yet Richard Dick Culver had no such worries Colin Thatcher started off below him on the political totem pole and became his peer and his friend Dick's actions and seeking legal advice about whether he was obligated to speak out suggested he wasn't scared about any repercussions he just didn't want to speak out and even though he finally changed his mind it was only because of a chance encounter after the trial had started 1994 marked 10 years since the trial and it was announced that Colin Thatcher and his lawyer Anthony Tony Merchant launched a defamation lawsuit
Starting point is 00:54:14 against CBC and Maggie Siggins claiming that the mini series based on her book was rife with insidious and disparaging comments about Colin according to the leader post Colin said his children had hired their own private investigator who poked holes in all the crowns evidence and identified some anomalies he was planning to put in a mercy application to have the federal justice minister review his case but was angered when CBC decided to re-broadcast the TV mini series because it could have a negative influence on his case review there's no evidence that the defamation suit went anywhere and federal justice minister Alan Rock did agree to review the case but it didn't go Colin's way the minister made a note of the three pieces of evidence that most
Starting point is 00:55:11 stood out to him the first was Colin's statements to his former girlfriend Lynn Mendel I have to admit it is a strange feeling to have blown your wife away there was Richard Dick Culver's testimony about Colin telling him I have only one solution for the bitch the only solution is I've got to hire somebody to kill her and lastly the statement Colin made in the recorded conversation with Gary Anderson deny deny deny the federal justice minister found there was no justification for a new trial Colin's next tactic would be the faint hope clause but it would be another six years before it would become available to him what if you were trafficked into a cult over shot nine times or fell in love with a vampire or went into a minor surgery and woke up one week later paralyzed what would you do
Starting point is 00:56:20 I'm wit missile dine the creator of this is actually happening a podcast from one tree that brings you extraordinary true stories of life changing events told by the people who lived them from a young man that dunes his entire future with one choice to a woman who survived a notorious serial killer you'll hear their first person account of how they overcame remarkable circumstances each episode is an exploration of the human spirit and personal discovery these haunting accounts sound like hollywood movies but i assure you this is actually happening follow this is actually happening wherever you get your podcasts you can listen ad-free on the amazon music or wondery app a cast powers the world's best podcast here's a show that we recommend
Starting point is 00:57:20 hi i'm david boris and i'm frankie c and we are the hosts of the music podcast everybody sucks exploring the struggles and triumphs of the journey from amateur to professional our guests include a wide variety of music industry people from hit songwriters to establish artists to leading edge producers we begin each episode by hearing a piece of music from their earliest days and then going along for the ride as they evolve from amateurs to the professionals they are today check us out on all platforms and remember everybody sucks a cast recommends by 2000 collin thatcher was eligible for the faint hope clause which allowed prisoners serving life sentences to apply for early parole after 15 years of their sentence instead of 25 as of
Starting point is 00:58:19 2011 the clause is no longer available but the official intent behind it was to motivate lifers to work towards rehabilitating themselves and hopefully reduce the risk of violence towards prison guards in 2000 collin thatcher appeared before a special faint hope jury to ask permission to appear before the parole board it was the first step and if approved he could apply for early parole the 62 year old was described as a model prisoner so model in fact that just a year earlier he'd been transferred from the maximum security edmonton institution to the minimum security ferndale institution in mission british columbia a facility that includes no fences a nine hole golf course and horse stables collin spoke fondly of his time so far at ferndale which included the
Starting point is 00:59:20 fact that he was able to have his own horse from home shipped into the institution there was public outrage when the media reported on this which prompted corrections canada to investigate the horse was reportedly sent back to the ranch collin thatcher maintained he was innocent of joe an's murder and didn't express any remorse for it he did say he was a changed man and had become a born-again christian a psychologist testified about interviews with collin thatcher where she tried to get him to identify other victims in joe an's murder like her husband tony wilson and her parents and siblings in the united states but collin struggled to feel empathy for anyone except perhaps his own three children but even then he showed a poor understanding of the trauma
Starting point is 01:00:16 they must have suffered he praised them for their resilience and told the psychologists that he didn't believe they had been shattered by their mother's loss even the two psychiatrists hired by the defense said many of the tests they performed found that collin could quote easily be mistaken for a narcissistic psychopath his scores on other tests were less clear they said although he did show feelings of regret and shame for the pain his conviction had caused his children overall these two psychiatrists for the defense told the jury that in their opinion collin's refusal to admit guilt had no effect on his chances of reoffending the crown presented documentation from some of the custody hearings where joe an wilson told the judge that she was afraid of collin thatcher
Starting point is 01:01:12 and described him breaking plates of food against her kitchen cupboard she reported that he once told her that quote if i didn't shape up as a wife he would bring someone else into the home and embarrass me out and after their separation she said he vowed that she would never get the children the jury heard about justice sandy mcpherson's ruling at the time where he noted it had been increasingly apparent to him that collin thatcher was determined to win by any means at all quote his methods and purposes have been to destroy his wife in the minds of their children this faint hope hearing also included the opportunity for victim impact statements where the loved ones of the victim describe how the crime and the loss affected them
Starting point is 01:02:10 Greg Regan and Stephanie Thatcher by this point grown adults were among those who gave victim impact statements since their own mother had been murdered but as reporter barb poholic wrote for the leader post they quote spoke largely about the loss of their father what it was like to visit him in prison what it meant not to have him at home as they grew up how he was missing his grandchildren and of the need to make up for lost time the three Thatcher children were unanimous in their support of their father and stated they wanted him back home as soon as possible Greg the eldest son was 18 when his father was first arrested and 34 when he told this faint hope jury about the difficulties he faced after that having to drop out of university to take
Starting point is 01:03:05 care of his younger siblings and having to stay home raise a family and run the ranch while he watched his friends without those obligations continuing with their lives the middle son Regan spoke about how difficult it was to live under media scrutiny and how strangers would whisper as he or his siblings entered the room he felt like he was always walking on eggshells to avoid the judgment of strangers and told the jury he was lucky to have friends who didn't judge him he stated that he missed his father at his own wedding and other family events and he also missed his father's insight and opinions Stephanie was 10 years old when her father was arrested but 26 as she told the jury that the hardest part of
Starting point is 01:03:56 growing up was having her father in jail quote watching him take orders from someone else and being told what to do and when to do it Joanne's two siblings and her mother Betty Geiger from the United States attended the parole hearing as well in their victim impact statements they spoke of Joanne as a person who was beautiful stylish and loved by her family they said her loss was still felt by them every day her sister Nancy Geiger wore a bead ring she said was given to her by Greg when he was still a child and the family was still intact the court heard of their heart break that since Joanne's death the Geigers had had no contact with a Thatcher family including Greg Regan and Stephanie the two families did not speak Nancy Geiger told the jury that she was
Starting point is 01:04:58 certain in her heart that Colin Thatcher was responsible for Joanne's brutal death and it was difficult listening to his protests of innocence Nancy said she was afraid of Colin Thatcher and spoke of being haunted by thoughts of opening her front door and being shot in the chest or entering her garage and being shot in the back she told the jury she believed their family's appearance at the hearing effectively put a target on their backs but she was glad they attended to represent Joanne quote our preference would be that Colin stay in prison Joe is never coming back to us the jury rejected Colin Thatcher's first faint hope application he applied again in 2003 now 65 years old he told the jury that he was still innocent and that's why he didn't
Starting point is 01:05:58 express any remorse and also why he refused to participate in some jail rehabilitation programs including a required violent offender program he conceded that things would be easier for him if he just admitted his guilt in Joanne's murder but the only thing he would admit was that he'd come to realize he wasn't always the best husband to her quote if you ever want a roadmap to stupidity just look at what I was doing toward the end of my marriage he told the jury that while in prison he'd written a book and a former Hell's Angel member had taught him the electrical trade the jury heard that Colin had also been married in prison but was divorced by the mid 1990s the woman was originally a pen pal who started writing to him in prison after she saw all the media reports
Starting point is 01:06:56 she helped him with some of his appeals and the preparation of his request to the federal justice minister but as christie blackford wrote for the national post when she first asked to visit him in prison for the first time quote thatcher was not so overwhelmed by her kindness that he didn't first check to make sure she was up to scratch he asked her to send a picture and after she passed inspection he agreed she could visit him in jail the crown presented a letter written by the woman Colin thatcher married and she reported he was too controlling and treated her like one of his cows Colin denied that issues around control were the cause of his marriage breakup and told the jury that any prison marriage is difficult when asked if he
Starting point is 01:07:48 thought he might get married again he said it wasn't likely and he'd be pretty hesitant to give a woman that power over him again Colin told the jury he poses no risk to anyone and his only goal was to be with his children and live quietly on the ranch quote i'm very happy and content and love the rural isolation this time his three adult children were described as making direct and emotional appeals to give them back their father cbc news printed a comment from Greg Thatcher who told the jury there was nothing they could do to bring their mother Joanne back give Regan and Stephanie their childhood back or give him back the future he'd planned on but quote what you can do is give a father and grandfather back to his family so that we might have a few more
Starting point is 01:08:43 happier moments before our time together is over Greg also spoke about public opinion questioning how they could be so vocal in supporting their father after he'd been convicted of murdering their mother quote both my brother and i were alibi evidence and i think a lot of people forget that they might ask why do we think the way we do well we know more about the situation than anyone does Greg had a family of his own and so too did his younger brother Regan who was by this point a lawyer in Winnipeg Regan told the jury that it wasn't fair to make his kids visit their grandfather in prison quote my kids deserve a grandfather as you'll recall Colin Thatcher's father Ross Thatcher had been the premier of Saskatchewan for seven years until he lost his seat in an election
Starting point is 01:09:43 and died just a month later he was only 54 years old and had reportedly suffered heart issues as well as complications from diabetes Stephanie Thatcher referenced this as part of her plea for her father's release tearfully telling the jury quote i am constantly worried that something will happen to him in prison especially now he is 65 years old and has had an angioplasty just a few years ago so i am worried about his health this time the faint hope jury decided Colin was eligible to take the second step appear before a parole board and ask for early release his first appearance was in 2004 and the board unanimously rejected his application a result that many legal experts said they expected but two years later in 2006 the board approved day
Starting point is 01:10:47 parole at a halfway house and a few months after that Colin Thatcher was released on full parole after he started his life sentence the conditions of his parole were that he live on his family ranch near moose jaw attend counseling sessions and report any romantic relationships to the parole board a year or two after colin's release from prison the Saskatchewan government caught word that he was planning to publish the book he'd written with the title final appeal anatomy of a frame because of the intense public interest in the case and the fact that the other books written about it had been bestsellers there was a worry that Colin would be able to somehow profit off the crime he'd been convicted of the government rushed to pass a law specifically
Starting point is 01:11:43 prohibiting this before the book was published as expected Colin Thatcher challenged this law in court arguing that it didn't apply to his book because it wasn't about the murder itself but his personal dealings with the justice system he also argued that the law was unconstitutional because it violated his freedom of expression the court didn't agree after all he wasn't being prevented from publishing his freedom of expression just from profiting off it Colin would need to turn any money he made from the book including an advance and royalties to the ministry of justice Colin Thatcher's book final appeal anatomy of a frame was published in 2009 in an interview with journalist Byron Christopher for McClain's magazine Colin said his motive was not
Starting point is 01:12:42 profit but to counteract the other books written about the case he complained that his case was basically double jeopardy because the crown took two separate cases and rolled them into one that he murdered Joanne himself and that he hired someone else to do it and the jury was given the choice between them he claimed that the crown had tunnel vision and their attempts to convict him and cherry picked the evidence that suited their case he mentioned that the private investigator hired by his children had found additional evidence that favored the defense but had been kept from them one of these pieces of evidence was a suspicious package that the private investigator heard had been sent to the Regina leader post newspaper it reportedly included a letter of confession as
Starting point is 01:13:34 well as a hatchet or small axe that the anonymous writer said was one of the missing murder weapons apparently the newspaper turned it over to the Regina police but it never went anywhere in his book Colin names the executive director of the Saskatchewan Department of Justice who he says forwarded the details to Collins lawyer six years after the trial and admitted that the police had since lost the hatchet the package was also mentioned in a second edition of the book Denied Denied Denied by Garrett Wilson he reported that the crown determined the hatchet didn't fit with the crime scene injuries and believe the entire package and letter was a hoax which Colin obviously disputed it should also be noted that the book stated a fellow inmate came forward to report
Starting point is 01:14:29 that Colin had confessed he killed Joanne Wilson in exactly the way the crown suggested a trial Colin called this person a snake but it should be noted that the crown didn't call evidence from this person either in his own book Colin Thatcher referenced that credit card receipt that had been found close to the murder scene and claimed the private investigator came across an obscure police statement that questioned the authenticity of Colin's signature on the slip noting it had a different number on it from Colin's actual credit card he pointed to this as evidence that the credit card slip had been falsified and planted to frame him Colin claimed that the crown withheld several key pieces of evidence that would have helped the defense for example he disputed the
Starting point is 01:15:24 color of the Ruger Magnum revolver he purchased in Palm Springs and he also referenced the account of an additional witness who apparently saw Colin driving into moose jaw on the way from the ranch at about 5 30 p.m and then followed him into town Colin said the crown provided the reasons for why this evidence was discounted but he disagreed and claimed that if his own lawyer had been given this evidence as part of disclosure his case would never have made it past the preliminary hearing in Colin's interview with Byron Christopher for McLean's he praised his children for how they handled the situation after he was arrested especially Greg he said he was extremely proud of his children pointing out that they never got into any trouble he also spoke about a group of
Starting point is 01:16:20 his supporters who banded together unsolicited after his conviction to fundraise for a defense fund reviews of Colin Thatcher's book were not great on Goodreads the book has a rating of 3.22 stars out of five and there's only one full review for one star the book is described as an editorial fail quote incredibly convoluted off-putting in tone aimless and rife with redundancies and repetitions the reviewer points out that Colin Thatcher praises the people who helped his case and demonizes those who hindered it with personal and petty comments about them as an example he criticized the personal appearances of many of his detractors including Maggie Siggins the author of a Canadian tragedy Colin Thatcher described her as a squat woman with the face of a frog and her
Starting point is 01:17:19 book as quote vicious blatantly one-sided atrociously researched and poorly written and when he wrote about the defamation suit against her he said he hoped the cbc miniseries based on her book quote would have the usual low ratings of a cbc production but he was disappointed when it was actually a rare cbc production success in a scathing review of the book for the Globe and Mail author and former trial lawyer William Deverell noted that Colin Thatcher's prison counseling and anger management training seem to be ineffective in expanding his quote limited emotional range or self-awareness he pointed out that Colin had described Joanne's divorce lawyer as a sanctimonious hypocrite the Regina police as goons in suits and an abhorrent collection
Starting point is 01:18:17 of thugs in this review Deverell wrote that Colin Thatcher was quote born again in jail but it appears that Christian forgiveness was not part of the package received the reviewer on Goodreads concludes quote Thatcher does nothing to benefit his case via this book all he does is further validate his arsehole reputation which is probably the last thing he needs two years later the ministry of justice reported that the book's profits of about $14,000 had been turned over to them it all went to organizations that support victims of crime in 2010 the media reported that 71 year old Colin Thatcher had remarried and was approaching his first anniversary with his new wife the information came from parole board documents that noted quote from all
Starting point is 01:19:20 appearances and file information the marriage identifies no concerns from both your new wife and family things remained fairly quiet for the next 12 years but Colin Thatcher hit the headlines again in 2022 in October of that year the Saskatchewan government held their annual throne speech a prestigious event where a government announces its goals for the year and how it plans to achieve them this throne speech was held during violence prevention week and the focus was a crackdown on crime in Saskatchewan when the media reported that Colin Thatcher had been invited as a special guest there was public outrage photos showed the 84 year old in a tan suede blazer a bolo tie a large cowboy style belt buckle and his trademark scowl
Starting point is 01:20:20 and when he was asked if he thinks the province needs tougher on crime measures he laughed and said enough so how was it that Colin was invited to this event well back in the 70s and early 80s when Colin was the MLA for Thunder Creek he was close with an executive assistant named Lyle Stuart the two were members of the progressive conservative party and Lyle considered Colin a mentor in the years after Colin was convicted of Joanne Wilson's murder Lyle Stuart decided to run for the Thunder Creek seat himself as his progressive conservative party merged with the liberal party to form a coalition to defeat the new democrat party this new party the Saskatchewan party was elected to government in 2007 and have held a majority ever since
Starting point is 01:21:19 Lyle Stuart was an MLA and sometime minister in this government until his retirement in 2018 and he was entitled to attend the throne speech and bring a special guest when the press announced the 71 year old special guest was Colin Thatcher he defended his decision telling the Canadian press that Colin had been a longtime MLA a friend of his and a fine individual who had a tough life because of his time in prison quote if anyone has a right to be here it's Colin Thatcher but many pointed out that Joanne Wilson had a right to be there as well the government was criticized for its lack of self-awareness and inviting a convicted wife killer to a government speech about getting tough on crime in a province with one of if not the highest rate of intimate partner violence in
Starting point is 01:22:20 Canada the minister of corrections and policing Christine Tell told cbc news that the party wasn't concerned about the optics of it the former Regina police officer said Colin Thatcher was a citizen of the province who has quote gone through the justice system gone through the courts did his time in incarceration he has now paid the debt to society that society has deemed but according to a government of Canada website that lists the myths and realities of parole quote a life sentence means life lifers will never again enjoy total freedom offenders on parole are not free to live their lives as they please and parole does not reduce the sentence imposed by the courts quote if they abide by their conditions of release they will remain under
Starting point is 01:23:15 sentence in the community until their sentence is completed in full Colin Thatcher was serving a life sentence so by the government's own definition he had not paid his debt to society he was continuing to pay his debt while on parole that said his appearance at the throne speech didn't exactly breach the conditions of his parole but it's not like the event was open to the public and any other person in Colin's position could have attended he was a special guest and there was still a question about appropriateness but it seemed to come down to a matter of opinion when premier Scott Moe was asked if he was going to apologize he said what would I apologize for but five days later after the public outrage he changed his mind quote this individual was
Starting point is 01:24:09 invited by a government MLA and while I do not review or approve MLA invitation lists as premier and leader of the government caucus ultimately I am responsible I offer my unequivocal apology CBC News spoke with Joanne Doozle an advocate for victims of domestic abuse and the executive director of the provincial association of transition houses and services she said she was glad the party had admitted to an error in judgment but at the same time she was concerned that it sent a message to victims and survivors of intimate partner violence that what happened to them doesn't matter quote the message perhaps to those using violence in their relationship is equally or more so disturbing that you can do the ultimate form of intimate partner violence
Starting point is 01:25:07 which is homicide or femicide and you do your time and then it's good you get welcome back to your former life yet the victim doesn't have that opportunity thanks for listening in addition to court documents and other sources we relied on the Regina leader posts extensive reporting on this case and the trial which included the journalism of Jim Nisley Bruce Johnston Lynn Hines and Kyle and later the papers city editor Barb Paholic and about that I have a podcast recommendation for you it's called true crime byline and in each episode the host Canadian journalist Kathleen Goldha speaks to a crime reporter about a case they've covered and what it was actually like to report on those stories sit in courtrooms
Starting point is 01:26:12 chase down leads get to know family members and talk to witnesses true crime byline also explores how these crimes changed and affected their lives and their careers episode three is called we should have seen Joanne Wilson's murder coming with special guest Barb Paholic from the leader post it's an interesting discussion about the failure of the justice system to recognize that Joanne Wilson was a victim of domestic violence and protect her accordingly that's true crime byline and you'll see there's other episodes on cases like the Renfrew County murders the Saskatchewan freezing deaths and the trials of Dylan Millard and Mark Smitch Paul Bernardo Robert Picton and more see the show notes for links to true crime byline and for the full list
Starting point is 01:27:03 of resources used in this series and anything else you want to know about the podcast visit this podcast donates monthly to those facing injustice this month we have donated in memory of Joanne Wilson to Regina transition house an emergency crisis shelter for women and children in Regina visit regina for more information thanks to Gemma Harris for research in this series audio editing and production was by We Talk of Dreams who also composed the theme songs production assistance was by Jesse Hawke with script consulting by Carol Weinberg writing narration sound design and additional research was by me and the disclaimer was voiced by Eric Crosby I'll be back soon with another Canadian true
Starting point is 01:27:56 crime episode see you then

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