About this sample
About this sample
Words: 881 |
5 min read
Published: May 19, 2020
Words: 881|Pages: 2|5 min read
On June 22, 1990 the accused, Kyle Unger, attended a music festival at a sky resort near the town of Roseisle Manitoba. Throughout the night the victim, sixteen year old Brigitte Grenier, was seen dancing with seventeen year old Timothy Houlahan. All parties involved were under the influence of alcohol. All three attended the festival separately. Neither Unger nor Grenier were friends with Houlahan. Grenier and Houlahan were last seen dancing together at 1:30am. They proceeded to enter the wooded area of the ski resort. Unger told his friend that he had seen Grenier “going at it with some guy”. Unger and his friend separated between 2:00am and 2:30am. When Unger rejoined his friends he did not have any dirt on his clothing or scratches on his body. Unger left the music festival by car at 4:00am. Houlahan was seen between 4:00 and 4:30am. He was covered in mud and had scratches on his face as well as blood on his chin. He claimed that he was beaten by an unknown male.
The evidence against Houlahan was strong. The victim’s blood was found on his shoes, a hair found on Grenier’s pants was from Houlahan, as well as a pubic hair found on her sock. The only evidence implicating Unger was a piece of hair that was found on the victim’s sweatshirt. The RCMP met with both Unger and Houlahan after the murder. The RCMP noted that Houlahan had visible marks on his face, yet a statement was not taken. Houlahan gave his first two statements on June 27th where he confessed to having consensual sex with Grenier. Houlahan claimed he had not seen Kyle at the venue but gave a description of his attacker that led the RCMP to believe it was Unger who attacked Houlahan. Houlahan was also asked to give a description of Unger and the description was vastly different from his description of the attacker.
In Houlahan’s second statement he directly implicated Unger as the murderer and gave a detailed description of the murder that corroborated the forensic evidence. He claimed that he was forced to help Unger move the body out of fear for his own wellbeing. The Crown used a jailhouse informant to prove Unger was the murderer. The informant claimed that Unger had shared a cell with him while in pre-trial custody. He claimed that Unger confessed that he had killed Grenier before he was released from the Winnipeg Remand Centre after the Stay of Proceedings, but Unger was released from the courthouse and never returned to the Remand Centre. The informant admitted that he lied on the stand but the Crown tried to suggest to the informant that the confession happened at the Public Safety building in hopes of changing his story. In hopes to get a confession from Unger, the RCMP conducted the Mr. Big operation. RCMP officers went undercover to lure Unger into a fake criminal organization to bait a confession. The Mr. Big operation began on June 13, 1991. Two officers staged a broken down vehicle near where Unger lived. The primary officer Larry Trembay befriended Unger and was tasked with involving him in the criminal organization. Within the first week Unger had mentioned multiple times that he was wrongfully imprisoned for murder. Unger was brought to meet Corporal Larry Forbes who was tasked with the role of “Mr. Big”. Unger initially hesitatingly confessed to the murder. He claimed that it was to please his new boss in hopes of looking better. As the operation progressed Unger began contradicting himself with regards to the murder and details about the murder.
In 2004 the Committee decided that Unger’s conviction fir within their mandate. They retested the single hair that was found on Grenier’s sweatshirt that the RCMP expert claimed belonged to Unger. The hair was scientifically proven not to be his. Innocence Canada filed an application for Unger that requested the Minister order a new trial. On October 23, 2009 the charges of murder against Unger were withdrew.
The RCMP had tunnel vision throughout the whole investigation. They did not follow the path that the evidence led them in but rather they tried to make the evidence fit their agenda. An example of this is when Houlahan gave his description of the attacker that did not match his description of Unger. But with this information the RCMP concluded that it matched the description of Unger. Houlahan’s second statement was vastly different than his first, directly implicating Kyle Unger as the murderer. The police did not recognize this discrepancy and continued pursuing Kyle Unger as the murderer. The forensic evidence presenting by the crown implicating Unger was a single hair on Grenier’s sweatshirt. That was the only piece of physical evidence implicating Kyle Unger while Houlahan had scratches and marks on his face, the victim’s blood on his shoe, hair found on the victim’s pants, and pubic hair on her sock. Yet, with all of the forensic evidence pointing towards Houlahan, the RCMP still pursued charges against Unger. Kyle Unger has launched a lawsuit seeking $14.5 Million in damages. The RCMP has refused to take any responsibility in the wrongful conviction even though one of the prosecutors, George Dangerfield, has contributed to at least three other wrongful convictions including Thomas Sophonow, James Driskell, and Frank Ostrowski.
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