CRIME HUNTER: Monster of Pont-Rouge escaped rope, not justice

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In Canada, the last call for the noose was in 1976 when capital punishment was abolished.

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By that point, there had not been an execution in nearly 14 years, but we went on sentencing people to hang.

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And many should have swung.

Among them were cop killers Richard Ambrose and James Richardson, child sex killer Gary Alexander McCorkell and, last but not least, Quebec serial killer Léopold Dion – aka the Monster of Pont-Rouge.

Dion may be the Canadian serial killer you’ve never heard of.

Born in 1921 in the hamlet of Pont-Rouge, just west of Quebec City, Dion arrived at deviance early – and stayed. He was around 17 years old when he was convicted of gross indecency, which earned him six months in the slammer.

As the Second World War began raging in Europe, the patriotic pervert joined the Canadian Army in 1940, but his twisted urges could not be tamed. During his time in service, Dion tried to kill a prostitute but was acquitted.

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Later that year, the future killer and his brother snatched a young woman off the street, then raped and stabbed her, leaving the victim for dead. She survived and testified against the sicko siblings.

Leopold Dion was sentenced to life in prison along with the lash while his brother got 10 years.

Years behind bars did not temper Dion’s evil urges.

Dions four young victims. POSTMEDIA
Dion’s four young murder victims. POSTMEDIA

By the time he was captured, Dion had raped at least 21 young boys – killing four of them. And in an everything-old-is-new-again moment, he was out on parole for those earlier rapes. He had served 17 years of his life sentence.

His first victim was 12-year-old Guy Luckenuck in April 1963 who was in Quebec City for clarinet lessons at the Conservatoire de Musique du Québec. Dion saw young Guy every week on the train and lured him by taking snapshots with an old camera that had no film.

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Dion later asked the child to continue the photoshoot in the country. There, the child was raped, strangled and buried in a shallow grave.

Leopold Dion: Worst of the WORST. POSTMEDIA
Leopold Dion: Worst of the WORST. POSTMEDIA

The killer later said he gave the boy two minutes to pray before he ended his young life.

“I didn’t want him to tell anybody because I didn’t want to go back to the penitentiary,” Dion later told a Quebec City court.

Eight-year-old Alain Carrier and ten-year-old Michel Morel were next. On May 5, 1963, the boys encountered evil. Dion once again used the photographer gambit, then played “prisoner” with the pair to tie them up.

He then strangled Michel using a garrot and smothered Alain.

On May 26, 1963, 13-year-old Pierre Marquis was swimming not far from where Dion had buried Luckenuck. Again, he used the bogus photog ruse and asked the boy to pose naked. Then Dion struck.

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The terrified boy fought for his life but the hulking killer proved too strong.

But before trying to snatch young Pierre, the burly killer had tried it on with another boy who got away. He gave detectives a description and they caught up with Dion a day after Pierre’s slaying.

On 26 May 1963, 13-year-old Pierre Marquis was murdered by Dion. POSTMEDIA
On 26 May 1963, 13-year-old Pierre Marquis was murdered by Dion. POSTMEDIA

At first, the killer was tight-lipped but after a month, he broke and spilled his guts to detectives. Dion then led cops to where he had buried the boys’ bodies.

The Crown wanted Dion to swing from a rope for his sinister actions. He would only be convicted of his final murder, the slaying of Pierre Marquis.

Criminal headshrinkers testified at his trial that Dion was “a sexual monster with a human face.” Only pain and sadism provided him with any sexual relief, the “only driving factor in his life.”

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Experts testified that if Dion hadn’t been captured, he would have kept on killing.

The jury took only 15 minutes to find Leopold guilty of capital murder.

“I have something to say – these hands, these damned hands, have taken the lives of four children … What I am today I didn’t become myself. I have always said that to those who questioned me. Society should be satisfied with what they have done – 43 years and I have never lived life. That is all,” the killer said.


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Judge Gerald Lacroix replied: “There are four children dead, and these four had the right to their lives. You were defended well, with much heart and courage.

“On April 10 (1964) you will be taken to a place determined for your execution and there you will be hanged by the neck, until dead. May God have mercy on your soul.”

Dion, like a lot of other killers, would never swing. His sentence was commuted to life in prison. But as the Rolling Stones said, “You can’t always get what you want” but sometimes “you get what you need.”

On Nov. 17, 1972, Dion was stabbed to death at Archambault Prison by fellow jailbird Normand “Lawrence d’Arabie” Champagne, who thought he was Lawrence of Arabia.

He was found not guilty by reason of insanity.

And Dion? He was finally where he rightfully belonged.

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