Sunday, 9 October 2011

Self-proclaimed "Beast of British Columbia" succumbs to Cancer

As a Canadian, in a land not as heavily touched by violent crime as our neighbors to the south, Clifford Olson has always been a particularly disgusting blight on our landscape. And for the record, our landscape is not always covered with snow. But some would feel that the country was covered with shame because of the handling of both the investigation of Olson and the aftermath of his arrest.

I can begin by saying that Olson, 71, has succumbed to cancer and died. Not normally a judgmental person, I will say that this is no loss to humanity.

For those who have not heard of Clifford Olson, the British Columbia resident was convicted of killing eight girls and three boys (aged 9 to 18) during a nine-month period in 1980-81. Supposedly, Olson committed five of those eleven murders while under surveillance by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Canada’s Federal law enforcement agency.

Allegations of a botched investigation would haunt the RCMP but Olson had more shame to heap upon the country. Olson, a habitual offender and frequent police informant had knowledge of police investigations as well as the multiple jurisdictions shared by municipal police and RCMP in British Columbia. By murdering his victims in various jurisdictions, Olson relied on the poor communications between police departments to help remain undetected. Likewise, his knowledge also helped him negotiate $100,000 in return for revealing the locations of the bodies. Though subject of a court battle by the families of the victims, the payment was allowed and it went to Olson’s wife and son.

Olson kept himself in the news by his repeated parole attempts, frivolous law suits and letters and phone calls to his victim’s families. He even gave himself the moniker of the "Beast of British Columbia".

Luckily, some good can come out of even so much evil.

Canada enacted several laws as a direct result of Olson’s crimes and his actions while in jail. After abolishing the death penalty, Canada put the “faint hope” clause into effect allowing murderers to apply for parole after 15 years served of the minimum 25-year sentence. Victim’s Rights groups are responsible for excluding serial killers from that right. In 2011, the faint hope clause was abolished completely. The government also disallowed federal prisoners from receiving old age security payments. At the time the law was enacted, Olson had been receiving payments for five years.

One can only hope that with Olson’s death, families of his victims can have some closure and peace.

***UPDATE***

For those that have read my blog on the Michael Marino exhumation case, Michael's mother has won the court case. The hope is the body will be exhumed within a month so DNA testing can be completed. Originally the suit requested that the county pay the $10,000 cost but that was later removed. Lawyers for Sherry Marino are confident that the cost can be raised from the public. The court order was signed almost 35 years to the day that Michael disappeared.

I will keep you informed as developments continue.




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