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I'm your host, Ashleigh Flowers, and I'm Brit. And today I'm bringing you a story from Canada's East Coast.
The story of a man who tortured and killed four innocent people, escaped police custody in terrorized the residents of Miramichi in New Brunswick for nearly seven months back in 1989. This is the story of Alan this year, the monster of Miramichi.
Our story starts on June 21st, 1986, when John and Mary Glendinning are just beginning their evening now it's a Saturday, they had just locked up their general store for the weekend and they were headed for home for like a little bedtime snack and some much deserved sleep. Now, both John and Mary are in their 60s at this point, and they've been operating their little grocery store in Black River Bridge, which is this like small community on the Miramichi River for more than 30 years.
So by the time John settles in to watch some TV, it's like the little after 10:00 p.m. at this point, which is why he's surprised to hear commotion coming from downstairs. So he kind of yells down the stairs like, hey, what's going on down there? But before he can do anything. Three men burst through his front door. One of them immediately rushes John and hits him in the side of the head with a rock. Now, according to the book Terrors and by Rick McLean, Andre Vino and Sean Waters, John is not a small man like he's nearly six feet tall with a broad chest.
But because of his age, he is no match for these much younger men. The blows take John by surprise, and he kind of staggers Backwords falls to the floor. He's bleeding pretty badly at this point and he just keeps asking these guys over and over, what do you want? Just tell me what you want. I'll go get it for you. But they don't even acknowledge his pleas. Now, at this point, one of the men noticed that Mary was in the kitchen doorway.
So he rushes her, pushes her down on a chair and begins to tie her hands to it. Now, while he's doing this, Mary gets a good look at the men, too. Are young, like really young, probably not even older than twenty.
And the third man is a little older, maybe in his 30s or 40s. Now, this whole time, John still pleading with them. Leave us alone. I'll give you whatever you want. And they finally tell him what they want. The safe Mary says, Listen, it's upstairs. I will open it for you. Take me to the safe. So one of the younger men and the older guy shoves Mary up the stairs and she goes immediately to the safe in their bedroom.
She kneels on the floor, reaches for the dial, and just as she does, she is momentarily stunned by a strong blow to the head. Now she writes herself and reaches again for the dial. And again, another blow to the head, this one even more severe. And Mary loses consciousness.
Wait, like if they want what's in the safe, why incapacitate her like she's the one who can open it?
Will the plan all along was to take the safe with them.
So maybe they didn't care about actually opening it like they're going to deal with that later. And that's exactly what they did in the end. When Mary wakes up, she's in the bedroom, though she has no idea how she got there. She crawls to the phone and dials 911 one. Now, at this point, it's just after midnight, but police immediately dispatch a car on the way to the Glen Jennings house. The officer on the other end of the line keeps Mary talking while she waits for the car to arrive.
And when officers finally get to the scene, what they find is shocking. The front door is smashed to smithereens, broken glass everywhere and blood. So much blood. It is on the floors, on the walls.
It is even dripping from the ceiling. When responder's finally get to Mary, she's barely conscious and so badly beaten that she is virtually unrecognizable, like bruised, swollen. She's bleeding from her nose, from her mouth. She even has this scarf that's tied tightly around her neck. Like whoever was in that house that night. They had left Mary for dead and first responders even worried that Mary wouldn't survive her injuries. Literally, they were like, sure that the ambulance could not get there fast enough to save her.
But once the ambulance does arrive, they start to wonder, where's John? Because they haven't seen any sign of him. Like, is he even still in the house? Did the intruders take him with them? So they begin to search the rest of the home until they find him behind the bedroom door, slumped over, covered head to toe in blood with a shirt tied around his neck so tightly it had crushed his Adam's apple.
Now, unlike Mary, he had not survived this vicious assault. Now Mary is rushed to a local hospital, literally clinging to her life. She has broken facial bones to black eyes that are swollen, bruising, swelling on her necks, arms just like literally unrecognizable. And she'd been sexually assaulted. She is in rough shape, but luckily she's going to survive. Now, back at the house, police start to process the crime scene and they're trying to chase down any lead that they could.
Now, most of what they knew about what had happened in that home had come from Mary and from the bloody scene that the assailants left behind.
So police are like barely scratching the surface, like they're on their first day of this investigation when an anonymous tip comes into the station, a tip that pointed the finger. Squarely at three local men, Todd Matchett, Scott Curtis and Allen Ledger. Wow, that's like a really specific tip. You're not kidding. And it wasn't entirely off base either. These three were no strangers to police. Now, Todd was 18, Scott was 19, and they had been getting into trouble together for a while, like kind of escalating trouble.
But murder seems like way above anything that these literally kids were like into.
Alan Leasure, though, was a whole nother story. Alan was well known around the Miramichi, but he'd been born there, raised there, spent most of his adult life there. He'd been in and out of prison on various charges. I mean, everything from robbery to assault for close to two decades at this point. Now, when they look at him, he's 38, much older than his teenaged counterparts with a history of violence. So if any one of these three was leading the charge, police thought right away it had to be Allitt.
So they track him down, arrest him, and eventually, after the totality of evidence pointed to him, charged him with the murder of John and the assault of his wife, Mary. Now, it took a bit longer to track down Todd and Scott. Both had been hiding in Toronto, but they couldn't hide forever. And eventually they, too, were arrested without incident and charged. Now, it would take some time for police and prosecutors to piece together a timeline of what happened that night.
But they had the physical evidence, including hairs left at the scene and a shoebox full of cash hidden in the basement of Scott's house, along with the powerful testimony of a now recovering memory. So all in all, I mean, for as much as they didn't have as much as this is a question mark, it only took the town just six months to try and convict all three men for murder and assault. That's like a really short amount of time based on like what we usually hear in these stories.
Oh, yeah. I mean, six months. That kind of timeline is practically unheard of today. But in those days with kind of this whole community anxious to kind of have this all wrapped up, it wasn't impossible. So Scott and Ty, the teenagers, both ended up pleading guilty in the end and they were sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for six years. And I had to talk to somebody from Canada because look at the way they phrased like that.
Their legal system confuses the crap out of me. But basically, they're in life, in prison. They can't get parole for six years. But the 16 year mark is when he would be eligible for parole. So it works actually a lot like it does here in the U.S.. OK, now, Alan stood trial and even testified in his own defense and he basically maintained his innocence throughout the entire thing. He said, yes, I was there, but it was Scott and Todd that had been the ones who escalated the crime from what was supposed to just be a robbery to a murder.
But the jury wasn't having any of it. And Alan was also found guilty of murder and sentenced to life in prison with no parole eligibility for 18 years.
And if you're thinking like many people, well, this is like the shortest crime junkie episode in the history of show.
Today's story doesn't end when the bad guys go to jail. In today's story, we're only just beginning now with the men responsible for this vicious attack on the Glenn Denning's behind bars. It was like everyone in the Miramichi breathed a sigh of relief. All three were serving life sentences. And even though Allen kept trying to appeal his conviction, he was always turned down. Now, to kind of take you back to this place like and this time the Miramichi had always been a friendly place, a safe place, a place where people didn't lock their doors.
And it was finally starting to feel like that again with these men in prison. Now, today, in 2020, Miramichi is a city. But back in 1989, when our story takes place, they called it the Miramichi, which referred to like a bunch of small communities nestled around this Miramichi River. So when you put them all together, it's like about a population of fifty thousand people. And it would take a couple of hours at least to make your way from one end of the river to the other.
OK, so it's like a pretty rural area. Exactly. Now, during the trial and really during Alan's life, he had always been difficult. Like he hated authority. He'd say anything to anyone. He had this short fuse. He was quick tempered. If he felt threatened, he'd be the one that would throw the first punch like no questions asked. He just had this reputation around this small town. Like if there was something shady going on in the Miramichi, this guy was probably involved.
But in prison, he was a totally different person. In an episode of Born to Kill called Monster of the Year, they refer to Allen during this time as, quote, no fuss, no muss, no trouble, end quote. Like he was cooperative, he was polite. He was easy to talk to. He never. Sure. Yeah. Never making trouble for the. ARG or the caseworker's, like he was a model prisoner, or so it seemed, so about a year or so into his sentence, Allen started to get these ear infections all of the time.
Now, ear infections are usually pretty easily treated with antibiotics, which could be done by the medical staff in the prison. But anyone with kids don't get me started might know that your infections can keep coming back even when you get them treated. And that's what was happening with the infections would go away. And in fact, they would come back and then just keep getting worse and worse and worse. So the prison medical staff arranged for him to see a specialist outside of the institution at a local hospital.
Now, his first visit was in October of 1988. Then he made a second one in November. But even with this specialized treatment, his infections kept continuing. So on May 3rd, 1989, he was scheduled to make yet another visit to the same specialist. So the guards load him up to make the trek from the prison to this hospital. And during the two hour drive, Alan, again, perfect passenger. And they're thinking, you know what?
This is not going to be a bad day of work. Once Alan and the guards are inside the hospital, Alan asked to use the washroom, so the guards sent him into a small washroom next to the nurse's station. And they just kind of wait outside a minute or so later, he opens up the door, a crack, and he asked the guards if they could get him some more toilet paper. But here's the thing. When Alan popped his head out and asked that small favor, there was a lot that the guards didn't know, stuff that if they had known, would have completely changed the way they handled Alan Leasure.
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Terms apply. What the guards didn't know was on that day, Alan, last year's chronic ear infections weren't just like run of the mill, bad luck. He had been causing them himself by poking his ears with metal objects. And get this, he would even pour urine inside of his ears, anything to make the situation worse. Also, what the guards didn't know was that he had fashioned himself like his own handcuff key, which he'd hidden inside of a cigar.
The other thing they didn't know was that he had broken a metal antenna off his prison issued television set to use as a weapon. And of course, they never would have expected that. When polite, easygoing Alan this year was asking for a riff on toilet paper that day, what he was really after was more time. Time to quickly pick the lock on his handcuffs and shackles, time to retrieve the antenna from his hiding spot, which was, in fact his rectum, and time to make one final attempt at freedom.
But the guards would find all of this out soon enough because moments after the toilet paper is handed to him, Allen bursts out of the bathroom, swinging that TV antenna around like a weapon and bolting past the guards and out the front door of the hospital. OK, wait, hold up. How did he even get the stuff out of the prison in the first place? Like, wasn't he searched?
So from what I could tell, the guards did a visual search and a body cavity search right before they loaded him into the van for that ride to the hospital. But like I said, the key that he'd use to open the cuffs he had hidden inside a cigar, which he put back in the wrapper. And I mean, like to me, that was like the explanation I had always, like, Red was like, oh, well, the key was in the cigar.
And in my mind, I'm like, why is this guy like, is it normal to transport prisoners with cigars to a hospital? Right. Like you're not going to the birth of your first born. You're like you're in custody. I don't know. I don't know why he has it, but that's kind of the excuse for everything, is that it just got, like, missed, I don't know. But anyways, this was like before the use of any kind of like body scanning technology like we have now.
But the book I read on this case says that the guards did like the whole bend over, spread them search, too. So how they missed the antenna is still kind of a mystery to me. But before the guards could really register what was happening, Allen was out the front door and sprinting towards the parking lot. He jumps into the driver's seat of the first car. He sees kidnapping the driver and speeds away from the hospital. Now, by the time police can catch up to the car, Allen year is gone.
Now, bad news travels fast in a small town, so it took virtually no time for everyone in New Brunswick to hear that Allen had escaped and the manhunt was on. Every other house had a police scanner in those days, so there were no secrets. Now, most people thought that he would get out of town pretty quickly. Like, of course, he's going to be recognized immediately by anyone in the New Brunswick area and he's going to get turned in like it seemed too risky to stay.
So for the next few weeks, police just kind of kept their eye out. They were taking in tips, random sightings here and there. But the thing is, all of the sightings kept coming in and around the Miramichi, like, for example, one woman caught a guy peeping into her window and later found out that her jewelry was missing. Another guy caught someone trying to break into his garage like he did a full on run, the suspect down in his car, but the suspect still got away and someone else uncovered a pair of glasses in their backyard.
And they were found to be the same style and prescription that Allen had worn in prison.
So tension is like rising in this small town. And while it must have been really unnerving to know that this convicted killer was hiding out somewhere in your town, I think most people thought at the time that it was going to be over soon. Someone is going to catch him and that's going to be the end of it. But that thinking quickly ended on the night of May 28th. On that night, Nina Pham said goodnight to her sister in law, Annie, and she headed up the stairs of the home that they had shared together for decades.
Now, Annie Flamm ran a popular little like community convenience store that was actually connected to their house.
Oh, just like John and Mary, exactly like John and Mary and much like them. Annie was kind of this like community gramma type. All of the kids would head to her store. They would buy a tree. She knew them all. And even at 75 years old, it was Annie who worked in the store every single day from 8:00 a.m. until she locked the doors at 11:00. So that night, Neinas says good night to Annie around ten thirty and knows that Annie will be up for the night in about a half hour.
So 9:00 A chats briefly with one of her daughters by phone before settling in to read for a little bit. And then she's like planning on just like calling it a night.
Now, at some point she must have dozed off because when she wakes up, she wakes up with kind of this like startle and she notices that all the. The lights are still on, and then she notices a masked man standing in the doorway of her bedroom, as soon as Nina can open her eyes, the man rushes over to her, covering her mouth and pressing a knife to her neck. And he tells her, listen, do not move, do not make a sound.
And she doesn't. She's too terrified to do anything. He ties her to the bed with a pair of nylons and he tells her that his name is Gerald and he needs three thousand dollars, that his girlfriend can get an abortion. And he demands to know where Annie keeps the money. So she tries to tell him. But either she's doing a bad job explaining it or he's doing a bad job listening because he can't seem to find it like he'll go look for the money.
He'll come back and he's more mad. He'll go look and he's more mad and he's getting like more and more upset that she's not cooperating or not cooperating in a way that he knows how to, like, work with. Every time he comes back into the room, he hits Nina and I mean, he hits her hard, demanding to know where the safe is. But Nina keeps telling him, like, I don't know about any safe. I can tell you where we have some money.
But as far as I know, there is no safe. And he just continues to beat her more and more viciously and eventually he rapes her. By this time, Nina is downright hysterical. More than anything, though, more than her own safety. She's worried about Annie and she keeps asking about her. But this assailant tells her, listen, Annie's fine. But no matter how much she wants to believe that something in Nina won't let her, she knows Annie isn't fine.
As the assault continues to escalate, the masked intruder tells her that he's going to burn down her house and that he's going to make it look like she died in a fire. And I mean, as he's telling her this, as he's making these threats, he's actually in her closet setting a fire. And in that moment, Nina is sure that she is going to die that night. Now, he continues to set fires all around her, one, even right next to her on the mattress.
And as he is doing this, she just keeps wondering herself, like, how is he going to kill me? What is the end going to be? But then he does something completely unexpected. He talks her into bed like really tight under the covers. We what? Yeah, he talks her into the bed, the one that is now on fire and then leaves her. Now, again, she's terrified. She has a thousand thoughts running through her mind.
So she waits a minute or two, then gets herself out of bed, walks to her doorway and then makes it to the hallway. But as she approaches the hallway, she can see that the man is still there, like worst, absolute worst fear. And he spots her. He lunges back at her and pushes her angrily back into her bedroom, right on top of the fire that he just set. And then he flees again, this time for good.
Now, at this point, wounded and burn nine summons all of her energy to move her body step by step down the stairs where she starts to drift into unconsciousness.
Now, according to some information I found in the Allen last law library at the University of New Brunswick, it's at this point that two police officers just happen to drive by the farmhouse. And this is like 4:00 in the morning, mind you. And they see the flames when they pound on the front door and don't get any kind of answer. They move around the house to the back where they find that one of the doors is unlocked. Now, the entire upstairs of the farmhouse is like engulfed in flames by this point, like and thick black smoke is filling the air, but they're at the bottom of the stairs is 61 year old Nina Pham, half naked, badly beaten, barely conscious with burns covering half of her body.
And somehow, somehow, Nina was able to tell police that she had been attacked, assaulted and left to die in the fire.
Now, when they are talking to her, trying to get as much information as they can, they ask where Annie is. And all Nina can do is weakly point her finger toward the upstairs. What first responders find in Annie flams bedroom chills their blood, even with the fire raging all around them, Annie is tucked tightly into her bed. But unlike her sister in law, Nina, she had not survived the same attack. Now, later, when they did an autopsy, it would show that she had been physically and sexually assaulted.
And really police were pretty confident that the attacker hadn't meant to leave any witnesses behind that night, like he had wrongly assumed that both women would die in the fire and any evidence of what had happened would burn along with any store. But now they had a witness. And listen, it wasn't a perfect match to what had happened three years earlier in the Glendinning house.
But like for being a small area, it was awfully similar. And police had to wonder, could this be the work of Alan lousier like it had to be? Nothing else made sense. But here's the thing. Nina said no way. She knew she'd actually not just like from the news. She's actually known him for years and she was sure that her attacker was much smaller, had lighter colored hair, and police even played her a sample of Alan's voice.
And she's like, no, this is I promise you, this is not the guy who attacked me. So for a brief moment, they thought, well, like maybe we are on maybe it wasn't Alan. Like, plus, he wasn't the only suspect on police radar. Like, in fact, he wasn't even the only fugitive in town at the time.
Wait, so there are like other escape from prison fugitives in the area? Yes. So, I mean, it's almost impossible to believe, but not one. But there are actually two other men, two brothers that had escaped from two other prisons nearby and were also on the run in New Brunswick during this exact same time. And it turns out that those brothers actually knew Annie Flamm like I mean, again, I said this before. Everyone kind of knew Annie Flamm.
So police were like, OK, well, maybe we need to look at these two.
But police were able to locate them pretty soon after the crime and they were basically out like a hunting camp in the woods. They were questioned and ultimately eliminated as suspects in the case. So with other potential suspects cleared as they continue to investigate, police kept coming back to Alan last year as the person responsible for Annie flams murder, like again, even with Nina insisting it was someone else, police are sure and so is the community.
And that's when things start to change in the media machine. People who had left their doors unlocked for decades started to install security systems. I mean, they put metal bars on their windows. And again, this is like a very rural part of Canada. And so there were a ton of street lights in some of these residential areas, but people literally started paying out of pocket to have streetlights put up or they would just do it themselves. And they wanted their backyards to be like bathed in light at all times.
And literally back then, people would call them leisure lights, and many still do even to this day.
So with the community in a frenzy, with police sure that he's now responsible for more crimes, there is this like renewed effort to find information leading to his capture. So according to the UNBE, which is the University of New Brunswick Law Library, police got 50 tips like around this time when they do this renewed interest, all pointing to signs of Alan kind of all over the place as far away as even Toronto. But for whatever reason, the police just still had this feeling.
He's here like he doesn't believe what he knows. He's here, he's hiding and he's just waiting. So police keep searching. They do several intensive manhunt through the Miramichi woods during the summer of 1989. I mean, we're talking dogs, helicopters, floodlights, the whole nine yards. And at times they get close. In that episode of Born to Kill that I mentioned earlier, one of the police officers who worked the case said that at one point he and a partner were literally running through the woods alongside a train track and they could literally hear Alan running.
Right. And follow them like footsteps, twigs snapping. But they lost him in the middle of the dark woods. And that kind of close call happens on more than one occasion with Alan. Like, I don't know if he was smart. I don't know if he was lucky, but he kept getting away.
Eventually, summer passes and by mid September, people kind of start to wonder if maybe this was the end of the line for Alan this year. Maybe he did finally get out of town. Maybe he's laying low somewhere else. Maybe he's deceased. Who knows? Like, he just wasn't popping up anymore. Like, people were still watchful, but the panic was starting to break a little bit. That is until mid October, Friday the 13th, to be exact, when the terror in the Miramichi started all over again.
It was shortly after 11:00 p.m. on Friday, October 13th, when Linda Dony arrives home after grabbing coffee with a friend.
Now, as she approaches the back door of her home, where she usually enters a little prickled, goes up her spine, something is off. It's the light. Her back porch light was off. Now she and her sister Donna lived together and they always leave that light on for one another. Now, like so many of our brains do, I think her started to try and rationalize it like, oh, the bull must have just blown nothing crazy.
So she makes a mental note to kind of change it in the morning. At this point, she's just a few feet from her back door when out of absolute darkness, someone leaps toward her and drives a fist into her face with enough force to break both her upper and lower jaws in one swift blow. And that same punch shatters her glasses and sends her flying backwards to the ground. Now, from inside the house linta, Sister Donna hears the commotion and runs the back of the house to see what's going on.
Now she reaches for the light switch, but of course, it doesn't work. Just then, a man comes charging toward the back door and I mean charging, like breaking through the glass and plastic and wood like it's nothing. Donna tries to fight this guy. I mean, she's strong, but she is no match for him. He is on her in seconds, punching, kicking, forcing her to the ground. She fights back with everything she has, knowing that she is fighting for her life.
At some point, Donna breaks free and runs up the stairs to her bedroom, trying to close the door to keep her attacker out. But it doesn't work. He's on her again. And before she can even react, she loses consciousness. Her attacker continues to be hurt so badly that he breaks her jaw, her nose blackens both her eyes so badly that they're both nearly swollen shut. He chokes her, breaks five of her ribs and continues to wail on her head so hard that a blood vessel in her brain actually erupts.
But her attacker isn't finished yet. He pulls her up to bed where he cuts her skin on her face, her neck and her chest using like this knife for I mean, no other reason, it seems, than for his own sick pleasure. And whatever he's doing, like, must get him off, because later at the scene, police would find her attacker's semen on her abdomen. Now, when the assailant is done with Donna, if he's gotten everything he wants from her, that's when he remembers Linda, who he had left in the backyard, unconscious and bleeding.
And he heads down to get her.
He undresses her and pulls her up the stairs before laying her on the floor beside Donna's bed. Now, what police later determined is that this attacker stayed inside the dony home until 4:00 in the morning hours and hours after his initial attack, which started just after 11:00. Now, fingerprints and blood smear showed basically he walked around every single room. He was pulling underwear from drawers. He was tossing them around. He emptied purses, emptied jewelry boxes. And before he left, he came back into the room, sexually assaulted Linda and then pulled the covers around Donna, whose body was still lying in her bed and tucked her in tightly.
And then, just like we saw before, he sets small fires throughout the house before he left. Now, it wasn't until seven thirty in the morning when somebody who was driving by saw the smoke and called for help. Now, by the time first responders arrived and got the women, it was too late. Both Donna and Linda had died, but first responders had a problem. They knew the Donny sisters like of course they did. Everyone in the Miramichi knew them.
But it was impossible because of the condition of their bodies to tell which woman was which, like their skin was so dark and from their fire, their faces were almost without form because they were so swollen and bruised.
So as far as first responders knew, the fire could have been a terrible accident. And like the Donny sisters, found themselves kind of caught in the middle of it. But that would change as soon as police hit the scene. They knew what the firefighters didn't because right away they could tell what happened. And it seemed obvious to them who was responsible. The beating victims, the sexual assault, the fire, even the timing of the crime. Exactly 11:00 p.m. this was the work of Alan Leasure.
Now, as you can imagine, everyone kind of spirals right back in to that panic. And police told the public very little about their investigation into the deaths of Donna and Linda. But behind the scenes, they were gathering whatever evidence they could to pull from the women's bodies and the torched crime scene that would hopefully, you know, again, connected to Alan and get one step closer to figuring out where he is. So like they had been doing even with Annie Flams murder, I mean, they packaged everything up and sent it to the lab in Ottawa for testing.
Now, again, I mean, the public knows police are working on this, but they don't know what's being done. They don't know that police for sure know who it is. They don't know if they're even close to catching Allen last year. And so I was talking to somebody who actually grew up in the area, like at this time, and she was telling me that literally Halloween for kids was like canceled. No one wanted children roaming around after dark, especially not wearing masks with a convicted murderer, maybe serial killer on the loose.
So the kids would literally have to gather like community halls and legions instead. So this really became like a almost a lockdown for the entire community until they could find this guy. And the whole time police kept searching the woods, they kept searching everywhere and they kept thinking, you know, he can't hide forever. But they were on a time crunch because they knew they needed to find him. Before the monster of Miramichi struck again around nine o'clock on the evening of November 15th, a Catholic priest named Father John Smith hears this sound in the backyard of the rectory where he lives.
But when he walks out to the back patio to investigate, he doesn't see anything out of the ordinary. But while he's out there, he hears another strange sound. Except this time the strange sound is coming from inside the house. So he heads back inside to check.
I feel like I know where this is going before you can even get his bearings from the darkness. A man lunges at him, quickly drags into the kitchen of the house and away from the windows that face the street. Now what follows is a beating and torture so severe that it leaves Father Smith with virtually every bone in his face broken along with almost all of his ribs. And he has cuts to his face and neck made with a knife. But again, this isn't to injure.
Like the cuts are about torture, just like he did to Donna. Exactly. And also, like Dorna, Father Smith ultimately died from his injuries and he was 69 years old. Now, the interesting thing is that the intruder spends the next hour or more doing everything he could to get into Father Smith's safe. But nothing worked. By the time he gives up on that, the sun is coming up and he knows he can't risk leaving the house during daylight hours.
So what does he do? He just makes himself at home, like amid all of the carnage, the broken furniture, the bloody walls, the body of Father Smith growing cold on the floor of his study. According to the Unbe Law Library Archive, Allen spent the daylight hours of November 16th inside the rectory where he just basically like changed his clothes, washed his boots, helped himself to some food out of the refrigerator, had a couple of cocktails, like any normal day for you and me, he's just killing time.
And at one point the phone rings and he actually answers it. When the voice on the other end asked to speak to Father Smith, the killer calmly just says wrong number and hangs up. Now, if you fast forward a little bit to 6:00 p.m., the same day Father Smith's murderer is preparing to leave the rectory now as the sun is setting at the same time, back at police headquarters, RCMP finally announce an update in the investigation, too, and eagerly awaiting public.
They came forward to say, we now have results from DNA testing, which officially links Almagor to both the Flamm and Dony crime scenes. But this news of a major break was short lived. I mean, this should have been exciting. It should have shown the public that police are making progress. But just one hour after the police's announcement, people are gathering at the church for their evening prayers. But there's no father by 10 after 7:00, they're worried enough to send someone to go check on him.
By the time they find Father Smith, the killer is already long gone, vanished again into the night. But this time, police aren't so far behind him. They had gotten a report at nine thirty that night about a potential stolen car. It was actually Father Smith's car. It was found at a hotel near a local train station.
And they immediately thought, OK, this is Alan. He's finally leaving town. So the first thing they do is they go question a guy who works the counter at the train station. And he recalls selling a last minute ticket to Montreal to a man who might just be their guy. So in the middle of the night, more than a dozen officers boarded that very train with a description of Almagor and a mandate to question anyone who even vaguely matches the description they're looking for a dark haired man, about 200 pounds, probably with a mustache or beard.
Now, mind you, these are not officers who know Allen this year. They're actually from Quebec. But in a. Listen to the description of what he looks like, they also know one important thing, they know that Lazear has two very distinct tattoos on his right arm, one of an eagle and one of a star. So they're going to use that. I mean, that's like super easy to find your guy, even if he's changed his description.
So they walk up and down the length of the train. They're heavily armed. Like I mean, this is quite a presence. They're shining their flashlights in the faces of every single man on the train. I imagine it's kind of like a SWAT team situation. Exactly. They're asking for I.D. or checking for tattoos. And there's only one person who even comes close to matching the description they had of Alan. And it wasn't even that close. This guy was way smaller than 200 pounds.
He had dark hair. Yeah. But like, it was cut pretty short. He was clean shaven. And when they ask him for I.D., he provides it. His I.D. says his name is Fernand Savoie of Bucktooth New Brunswick. Now, one of the officers is paying attention because he thinks it's strange that Fernande speaks only English to the French speaking officers, even though Bucktoothed is very much a French speaking town. But he kind of brushes it off and, you know, they're like, there's a quick way to figure this out.
They asked the man to stand up, roll his sleeve up to show them his right arm. So the man stanza, he rolls up his sleeve just to like the elbow. And I see nothing.
But they're not totally convinced yet. They say, no, no, no, like all the way up. So he pulls his sleeve all the way up. But there's nothing, no tattoos.
So, you know, they think the guy for cooperating and they get off the train and they call the officer standing by New Brunswick there. I mean, obviously they're anxious for an update and they're basically like, listen, are the guys not on the train? Like we talked to everyone, we searched everything. He's not here. This is this is a red herring. So disappointed police turn their attention back to the Miramichi deep, dark woods. He has to be in there somewhere, but it's like chasing a ghost.
Meanwhile, though, on that train to Montreal, Allen, leisure counts every lucky star in the sky because those tattoos, they're actually on his left arm, not his right.
And that was a close call. Back in, the Miramichi police are planning what is now a country wide manhunt. They are reasonably sure that Allen must have associates in town who are helping him hide. So they focus their energy on shaking those people out. They urge any accomplices to give Alan up, to take advantage of the cash reward, to bring this nightmare to an end.
And mind you, like the thoughts in town, have kind of shifted, like after the death of Father Smith.
Things were different. I mean, they were always bad. But the people are thinking like, my God, at this point, nothing is sacred. If you can kill an elderly priest, a man who dedicated his entire life to service of his community, to making this place better, who else is safe? Yeah, no one is safe. So, again, like gun sales are spiking, more iron bars go up, like chains are going across the door.
More your lights go up. It is like an all out panic. And police are under an immense amount of public and media pressure to track down Alan dead or alive. But when they finally do, it's nothing like what they expect. It's nearly 10:00 p.m. on November 23, third and a young taxi driver is out in a snowstorm hoping to make some easy money. He's just outside a bar in St. John, New Brunswick, three hours south of the Miramichi.
When a man hilson down and this guy hops into the front seat and says he wants to go to this town just like an hour and a half away. So the driver radios into dispatch, asks with a flat rate for this like it's kind of a long drive and they radio back and say, listen, it's a hundred dollars and you know, that's not bad for a night's work for this guy. So when the driver turns to the man in his passenger seat to tell him it's going to be 100 bucks, he sees a sawed off shotgun pointed directly at him.
And the guy in the passenger seat says, I'm the one they're looking for. I'm Alan Leasure. Now, the cabbie goes white as a ghost and fearing the worse, he follows man's instructions just to drive. Now, while he drives, Allen talks about how the police could never catch him, how he lived in the woods. And like all these makeshift camps, he made friends with squirrels like and basically tells him he only left because he was getting too cold out there to sleep.
And so he says now he has a new plan. He's going to go to the airport to jump a plane to the Middle East. Now, mind you, while he's going on with all of these kind of like bizarre ramblings, he keeps instructing the driver to go fast, faster, faster, faster.
And he gets mad when he won't or like can't. Now, during this time, the snow is really coming down now and the driving conditions are extremely treacherous. So at some point, Alan demands that the driver pull out to pass a truck. And when he does, he loses control of the car and actually drives into a snowbank. Now, this isn't a critical crash. So they are able to get out of the car. And Alan forces the driver to walk with him until they can track down another driver.
So just after midnight, that driver comes. But guess what? It is an off duty police officer making the long drive home. Yup. She sees that the taxis in a ditch and that two men are on the side of the road. So she pulls over to just be a good Samaritan and offer them a ride.
And she says, listen, I'm only going as far as the next motel. Like that's where I'm planning on stopping for the night to kind of wait out the storm.
But I'll take you guys there, like you guys should probably do the same. So both men climb into the car and almost right away, she has this uneasy feeling. Something isn't right. So she tells them that she's a member of the RCMP and that's when the man in her passenger seat draws the rifle and says, I'm the one they're looking for. I'm Alan Luzier. Take me to Moncton. Now, the roads are getting worse at this point.
And she tells Alan that if she's going to drive him all the way there, she's going to need fuel. Now he agrees. So she pulls into a service station where Alan takes the keys and his gun and gets out to fill the tank. And to everyone's surprise, Alan actually runs inside to pay for the gas. And in that split second, the off duty officer looks at the second passenger and says, I have a spare set of keys.
Do you want to run for it? In that next moment, Alan sees the car fishtailing away through the shop window and he runs out to chase them for a minute. And then he ends up disappearing between two parked tractor trailers. The off duty officer makes it as far as the nearest RCMP detachment and uses the phone at the station to call outside police. And immediately there is a province wide bulletin for Allen's arrest and several cars racing toward the service station where he was last seen.
But Alan was already gone. Apparently, he had poisoned his gun at a truck driver, told him who he was and said, we are driving. And the truck driver almost didn't believe him at first. Like again, he kept thinking, this isn't the Alan Lesieur, whose picture had been in every newspaper and every TV broadcast, like all year long.
This guy was so small, his hair was short, like he didn't have any facial hair at all. He looked nothing like that burly, crazy haired lumberjack looking to do that everyone's been looking for. But, you know, he didn't even have time to think about that. Who was he to argue? Whoever this guy was, he had a gun and he had been told just to drive, which is what he does now. Another truck driver, though, spots the vehicle heading up to the side road.
That isn't like the typical route for truckers. And he thinks like something about this is strange. So he decides to radio at it. Now, because police had made that province wide alert, it meant that police were at the ready and before long, they have the truck in their sights. Then finally, after seven long months, four murders, countless foot chases, the time had come.
They turn on their lights and sirens and follow the truck until it slows and pulls to the shoulder. Two officers carefully approach and they order the man out of the truck. Now his hands are already up. He tosses the gun out on the street and with no. Prompt or circumstances, whatever, and with no fuss, no muss, he surrenders, he says, you got me and it's finally over.
Now, people who'd known Alan Lesieur all their lives were shocked at how much his appearance had changed. Brett, I'm going to send you a couple pictures of him because it was so hard for me to wrap my head around the story that literally not only were people not spotting him, but he's telling people who he is and they're like, no, man, that's not you. But it is crazy, the transformation he made. So I'm not 100 percent sure.
Other three they sent you. So the first one, I'm not 100 percent sure when that was taken, but that's kind of what everyone around town knew him as the second picture was taken sometime before his escape from prison. But it looks very mug shot. So I think it was taken in prison. So they're when they're when he escapes, like they're showing people these two pictures. And then that third picture I sent you is what he actually looked like when they captured him.
So I'm going to post these on our website as well. But it is shocking how different he looks in all three pictures, like, can you just maybe describe them a little bit? Yeah. In the first picture you sent, the first thing that comes to mind is kind of like the Marlboro Man kind of look like he's kind of rugged. He's got this kind of long ponytail and a mustache and honestly, like isn't terrible looking, especially like the 80s.
But the second picture, you're right, does look like a mug shot. He looks a little bit like disheveled, like his hair is really long. He's grown like a full beard.
He's very even so bright. Like I get why people like a lumberjack. He's a big burly guy and like he's a very intimidating figure to me at least. And then this last picture, like he's he looks honestly like 25 years older.
He looks haggard, he looks tired. You know, he's obviously been through some stuff from this picture. He's got that nice little shiner on his eye. Apparently that happened during his arrest.
I kind of made that assumption.
But he looks like a completely different person. Yeah.
One of the officers who actually worked the case and knew Allen well was quoted in the book that I mentioned Tears End, saying that he literally could have passed this man on the street and not have even known that it was their guy.
Oh, definitely. So, you know, once they have him in custody, officers are obviously like collecting hair samples. They're looking him over for injuries, for weapons. And Allen told them about his escape back in May, about the times he tried to escape before, about how he'd built like five different camps in the woods of the Miramichi like switching between them to avoid police. He said he'd only travel at night. He would talk about the police searches, the helicopter, the dogs, like all of it.
He told them like he could, like, hear them. He knew it was going on. And then he even bragged about that train ride in Montreal and how they came like this close to catching him. So it was clear to everyone that for Allen, it was actually this that was his moment.
This was his story. This is how he would go down in history. Like he was proud of being the Monster of the year, MASHI and honestly, he liked it. By day break, the news of his capture was already swirling around town. CBC's Jonah Brewer, who was in the Miramichi when he was captured, actually described it this way in the 2014 Look Back article, quote, Bad news travels fast in a small town. Good news in a community that's been frozen by fear spreads like wildfire.
As daylight broke, people left their homes. I saw many crying and hugging each other in the downtown, end quote. Yeah. I mean, it had to have been just like a huge collective sigh of relief and safety. Yeah.
I mean, with him behind bars, the people of the Miramichi were finally free. So Alan Lesieur stood trial in November of 1991 on four counts of first degree murder for the deaths of Annie Flamm, Donna, Danny, Linda, Danny and Father John Smith. Now, the DNA evidence that I mentioned earlier, it was a big part of the case and one of the first times that DNA was actually used to support a murder conviction in Canada. A jury deliberated for thirteen hours before finding was your guilty on all four counts.
He was eventually sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole for 25 years, which is the maximum sentence for first degree murder in Canada, where sentences are served concurrently or, you know, at the same time. So even with four life sentences, he actually is still eligible for parole in 25 years. Now, he was given a dangerous offender designation, which we've kind of spoken about in the show a little bit before.
And this is kind of reserved for convicted murderers and violent sex offenders who present like an ongoing threat to the public. And this designation comes with an indefinite sentence. So while he technically might get parole like it is very unlikely that he will. Ever get out, he's 72 years old today and hopefully will spend every day of the rest of his life behind bars for what he did.
To see all the pictures and our source material for this episode, you can find that information on our website, Crime Junkie podcast dot com. And be sure to follow us on Instagram at Premji podcast. We'll be back next week with a brand new episode. But stick around for an important profit of the month.
Crime junkie is an audio production.
So what do you think, Chuck, do you approve?
Hey, guys, it's Ashley here. This is normally where our Prophet of the Month segment goes, just to give you guys a little behind the curtain. The way it normally works is Brittny will record an episode a couple of weeks in advance and then we usually put in the Prophet of the month story later. So we record it at a later time. Well, unfortunately, I don't have Brett here with me because I have some really sad news. Her puppet is actually missing right now.
He's been missing for almost a week. I hope and pray that by the time you guys hear this episode in a couple of weeks, that she has found Niall's and that he's home safe with her and she knows where he is, but we just couldn't come on and tell a story when Bror is so torn up over missing her own dog right now. So we are going to post something on our website where we normally have our puppet blogs with his picture and some information.
She lives in South Bend, Indiana. As of the time of this recording, the last sighting we had of him was on Saturday, the 7th of March. He was seen in downtown South Bend. So any of our listeners in northern Indiana, if you can please keep your eye out for Nichols, he's about 50 pounds, a white dog with a little brown spot over his one eye. We're going to post pictures on our website. We've also posted pictures on our Instagram as we've been looking for him.
Anything you can do to help would be hugely appreciative. I will be back next month to tell you a story no matter what. But any of you who listen to these obviously love your pets.
You know what has to be going through and it's just wrecking her inside. I can't imagine losing Charlie.
So no happy, sad story this month. Just one sad, very personal story to me and Brett. So please go take a look at that post. Keep your eyes out if you're in the Indiana area, and we will resume our normal profit of the month next month.