Steven Murray Truscott (update – Steven Truscott has been acquitted in the 1959 murder of Lynne Harper)

I penned the following post this morning, but as of around 11 AM Steven Truscott has been acquitted in the 1959 murder of Lynne Harper.

“On behalf of the government, I am truly sorry,” said Ontario Attorney General Michael Bryant

On September 30, 1959 Canada sentenced a 14 year old boy to hang from the neck until dead. Today Steven Murray Truscott, is still alive and trying to prove his innocence. He could remain quite as his sentence was commuted and he has served his time, but he would like his three children to use his real name. Steven Murray Truscott has been living under an assumed name since the 1970’s. Since his arrest and subsequent release he has committed no crime. He now awaits a new trial by his own request to clear his name.

In 1959 Pierre Berton penned the following poem, I think the appeal will add a new stanza, and make it not such a sad lament.

By: Pierre Berton

In Goderich town
The Sun abates
December is coming
And everyone waits:
In a small, dark room
On a small, hard bed
Lies a small, pale boy
Who is not quite dead.

The cell is lonely
The cell is cold
October is young
But the boy is old;
Too old to cringe
And too old to cry
Though young —
But never too young to die.

It’s true enough
That we cannot brag
Of a national anthem
Or a national flag
And though our Vision
Is still in doubt
At last we’ve something to boast about:
We’ve a national law
In the name of the Queen
To hang a child
Who is just fourteen.

The law is clear:
It says we must
And in this country
The law is just
Sing heigh! Sing ho!
For justice blind
Makes no distinction
Of any kind;
Makes no allowances for sex or years,
A judge’s feelings, a mother’s tears;
Makes no allowances for age or youth
Just eye for eye and tooth for tooth
Tooth for tooth and eye for eye:
A child does murder
A child must die.

Don’t fret … don’t worry …
No need to cry
We’ll only pretend he’s going to die;
We’re going to reprieve him
Bye and bye.

We’re going to reprieve him
(We always do),
But it wouldn’t be fair
If we told him, too
So we’ll keep the secret
As long as we can
And hope that he’ll take it
Like a man.

And when we’ve told him
It’s just “pretend”
And he won’t be strung
At a noose’s end,
We’ll send him away
And, like as not
Put him in prison
And let him rot.

The jury said “mercy”
And we agree —
O, merciful jury:
You and me.

Oh death can come
And death can go
Some deaths are sudden
And some are slow;
In a small cold cell
In October mild
Death comes each day
To a frightened child.

So muffle the drums and beat them slow,
Mute the strings and play them low,
Sing a lament and sing it well,
But not for the boy in the cold, dark cell,
Not for the parents, trembling-lipped,
Not for the judge who followed the script;
Save your prayers for the righteous ghouls
In that Higher Court who write the rules
For judge and jury and hangman too:
The Court composed of me and you.

In Goderich town
The trees turn red
The limbs go bare
As their leave are bled
And the days tick by
As the sky turns lead
For the small, scared boy
On the small, stark bed
A fourteen-year-old
Who is not quite dead.


5 thoughts on “Steven Murray Truscott (update – Steven Truscott has been acquitted in the 1959 murder of Lynne Harper)


    It makes no sense that every kid and adult in this story is a liar except Steven Truscott.

    It makes even less sense that the stranger who happened along within a few minutes after Steven left Lynne Harper all alone–was the one stranger who would happen to kill her.

    It makes absolutely no sense that this stranger who just happened by also just happened to be a pedophile and who just happened to be in his raping, killing mood.

    It makes absolutely no sense at all that this stranger pedophile would drive miles away and then turn-around and take poor Lynne back to the very area where people are looking for the missing girl and are eyeing every strange movement.

    There he would defy all logic by parking his car near the road, walking her into the woods, laying out her clothes neatly, raping her, and strangling her—doing it all in the dark and in the very area where people are searching for her. This happens to be in the same area where Steven and Lynne were last seen together and where Lynne’s body will be found.

    The difference between real crime and TV crime is that in real crimes we should think with our heads and not our hearts.

    The Clue Master SDM

    Perhaps it was Truscott’s kind heart that caused him to give his young 12-year old girl friend a ride down the road. Unfortunately, this character of kindness was unable to wait a few minutes until the little girl hitched a ride. If he had been with Lynne when she got a ride the driver would have known that there would be a witness if anything happened to her. (Maybe Steven was in a hurry to meet up with his other girlfriend. It matters not because the real evidence shows that Trescott made up the hitch-hike story.)

    Even if Truscott’s unbelievable story were true he still should be held partly responsible for Lynne’s death because he took her to a vulnerable spot and left her all alone. At the very least he should give the C$6.5 million to the Harper family and consider the ten years in prison as justice deserved.

    • I know little about DNA and little about this case besides what I have read in the media. Which is also your source as I can tell this does not mean you are wrong in your assumption. But what I do know and trust is the legal system. Which contrary to most claims made by amateur historians is usually more correct than they are which does not make it infallible but at the moment it is the most workable process to determine guilt. However this does not mean Mr Truscott is innocent. This young man could have done the crime but more than one judge seems to think he he MAY not have. This is reasonable doubt not a fallacy, people believe there is reasonable doubt. Reasonable doubt is better than possible guilt. The pithy saying that if it looks like a duck does not cut it in law.

      You refer to critical thinking which is a term used for a first year course in logic at university. In this course you are taught to recognize logical fallacies.You use more logical fallacies in your claim that Truscott was guilty than truth, you are not applying critical thought. First you use the words “It makes no sense” repeatedly which relates to the logical fallacy”Appeal to probability” which assumes that because something might or might not happen, it is inevitable that it will or won’t happen. You state that “It seems that many people today, on juries or not, thinks if there is no DNA the defendant must be given reasonable doubt and considered not guilty.” This is another logical fallacy and In law precedent is used and as you point out the use of lack of DNA evidence has been used as reasonable doubt. This is Begging the question (petitio principii): where the conclusion of an argument is implicitly or explicitly assumed in one of the premises. No one needs to prove Truscott innocent they just need to prove there is reasonable doubt of his guilt and that is what has been done. He is innocent until proven guilty as long as reasonable doubt exists he has not been proven guilty.

      If you want to prove Truscott guilty find something that removes this reasonable doubt. Simply stating “it makes no sense” or implying that it is unlikely that all the persons would lie (a Prosecutor’s fallacy: a low probability of false matches does not mean a low probability of some false match being found) proves nothing.

      The entire Truscott case is an Argument from ignorance (appeal to ignorance): The fallacy of assuming that something is true/false because it has not been proven false/true. For example: “The student has failed to prove that he didn’t cheat on the test, therefore he must have cheated on the test.”

      That said if we accept that because there is reasonable doubt he has not been proven guilty, and we are innocent until proven guilty under the law Truscott is innocent whether he is or isn’t in reality. thus his sentence was by legal definition unjust.

      And please do not use the age old conservative term common sense as because something is common does not make it correct. Most times I find it is not and most so called common sense is nonsense.

      • Well said Billerends. Thanks

        I would like to point out that the legal system that acquitted Steven Truscott in 2007 made their decision 48 years after the crime was committed. It appears that they were driven to their opinion by Truscott mania.

        On the other hand, the legal system that unanimously found Truscott guilty in 1959 was based on reliable testimonies from real live witnesses who were actually involved in the incident. They were not under duress during their decision making process.

        In 1960, the Court of Appeal for Ontario dismissed Steven Truscott’s appeal. Canada’s top judges ruled 8 – 1 against Truscott getting a new trial. The judges found Truscott’s testimony confused and vague. To be fair, Truscott did say that his lawyers (all highly qualified) did not properly prepare him for his testimony before the Court of Appeal. (How much time and effort does it take to prepare yourself to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?)
        In not finding Truscott innocent one court of appeal wrote as follows: “. . . certain immutable facts cast some suspicion on Mr. Truscott. He was the last known person to see the victim alive and was with her at a location very close to where she was murdered.”

        Consider the evidence, dear reader, with an open mind. Picture objectively the only two routes that can be considered. Either Truscott rode Lynne to the highway intersection and left her there alone to an unknown fate or he took her into Lawson’s bush to look for a calf, or whatever. This would be the same Lawson’s bush where Lynne’s body will be found two days later.

        Then consider what the only jury of his peers actually saw and heard from the witnesses directly involved in this incident; the same jury that in 1959 unanimously found Truscott guilty of murder. Among the overwhelming evidence presented was that his own friends and classmates were teasing him about being in Lawson’s bush with Lynne and what may have happened to her. These conversations took place in the days BEFORE Lynne’s body was found.

        Consider every piece of evidence objectively. Especially, do consider that Truscott did see Lynne get into a car and speed off down the highway. Consider the different scenarios and all of the possible psychopaths and pedophiles who could have picked her up within the few minutes of being left alone by Steven. Consider every possibility no matter how unlikely it may be. Then objectively see if it fits into the overall picture of this crime.

        To the minds of many inquisitive Canadians the rendition of events makes Steven Truscott’s innocence highly unlikely. It appears that Truscott’s reduced prison sentence and campaign for innocence were driven mostly by tainted media advocacy.

        The facts of this case implicating Steven Truscott go well beyond preponderance of the evidence, they comprise a moral certainty.

        • No it is not rocket science in fact it is not science at all that is why there is a preponderance of doubt not evidence. Once again just because someone makes a statement does not make it so.

          Just becase “To the minds of many inquisitive Canadians the rendition of events makes Steven Truscott’s innocence highly unlikely.” does not remove resonable doubt.

  2. As crimes go, dear reader, this is a simple crime. We have only two choices in this case. Either Steven Truscott took Lynne Harper 90 feet into Lawson’s bush and strangled her at his favorite spot or a stranger pedophile picked her up after Truscott left her all alone, drove around for several hours, and then returned her in the dark, not at the intersection but 90 feet into Lawson’s bush at Truscott’s favorite spot–the same place where Lynne’s body would be found two days later.

    This is not rocket science folks; just searching for truth and justice using critical thinking.

    The facts of this case implicating Steven Truscott go well beyond reasonable doubt and preponderance of the evidence, they comprise a moral certainty.

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