19th-century murder-without-a-body case in Newfoundland

Found this article about an 1833 murder-without-a-body case in Newfoundland. Catherine Snow, Tobias Mandeville and Arthur Spring were tried for the murder of Catherine’s husband, John. He disappeared without a trace, leaving behind bloodstains (or, they assumed it was blood; no way back then to tell for sure) and was never seen or heard from again. All three were convicted and sentenced to death, although Catherine’s sentence was delayed because she was pregnant. She would be the last woman hanged in Newfoundland history. Her husband never resurfaced.

I wonder what the motive for the presumed homicide was. Was it money? Was Catherine having an affair with one or the other co-defendants? Both? Or maybe she was a battered wife? Crime of passion? Lots of possibilities.

A panel including Supreme Court Justices Carl Thompson and Seamus O’Regan, along with defence lawyer Rosellen Sullivan will examine how the case was conducted nearly 200 years ago, and discuss how it would be handled today. The event will take place Thursday, March 29th at 8 p.m. in Hampton Hall at the Marine Institute.

That sounds very interesting. Too bad I have other plans on Thursday and also can’t afford to fly to Newfoundland. Never been there, actually, though I have been to Ontario and Quebec and I think Nova Scotia.

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Linda Bryant gets 42 years

The adoptive excuse for a mother of Austin Bryant and Edward Bryant, both of whom have been missing for years, perhaps ’round about a decade, has been sentenced to 42 years in prison for welfare fraud. She stole about $150k from the state, accepting checks for Austin and Edward’s care long after they were no longer living with her (and, one suspects, no longer living at all).

Given as how Linda is 55 years old, chances are she’ll never see the light of day again. The prosecutor, although she had asked for a “triple digit sentence” (Linda could’ve gotten anywhere from 5 to 648 years in prison), is satisfied with the result. Meanwhile, the boys’ excuse for a father is facing trial on the same welfare fraud charges in a month.

My second (no, wait, third) ET entry from Africa

Last summer I did an Executed Today entry from Equatorial Guinea. I’ve also done one from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Today there’s one by me from Botswana: Modise Mokwadi Fly. He was an activist, reggae artist, politician and possessed an impressive head of dreadlocks. He was also a child killer. He admitted to having killed his two-year-old son with an ax. Whether he did it deliberately or not was open to question; he maintained to his dying breath that it was an accident.

This would be an ordinary enough murder case were it not for the fact that, the month before his death, Fly escaped from death row (the first in Botswana to do so) and was free for a whopping fifteen minutes before the authorities dragged him back inside and, it was said, beat him black and blue and threw him in isolation so no one could see his injuries. Word of the alleged mistreatment (never proven) was leaked to the press on March 23. On March 24, the Botswana prison authorities executed Fly in rather a hurry and without notifying his family. The timing is a bit odd, yes? But there the matter rests.