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CANADA: Judgment of Death

2 minute read

A crippled man in a wheelchair was pushed along a corridor into the death chamber of Montreal’s Bordeaux Jail one midnight last week. Guards lifted the cripple out of his chair and carried him up the steps of the steel scaffold. The hangman fitted the noose, waited for a nod from the sheriff, then sprang the trap. Twelve minutes later, a small notice was tacked on the prison door. “Judgment by death,” it read, “was this day executed on Généreux Ruest.”

Généreux Ruest, 54, was the man who manufactured the time bomb that exploded and killed 23 people (including President E. T. Stannard of Kennecott Copper Corp. and two other Americans) on a Quebec Airways plane in September 1949. A watchmaker, Ruest made the bomb with a stick of dynamite and the mechanism of an alarm clock for his friend Albert Guay, in return for a $10 ring. Guay wanted to kill his wife, who was on the plane, not only because he had a mistress whom he preferred, but also to collect a $10,000 insurance policy.

Ruest claimed later that he thought the bomb was to be used to blow up tree stumps. But there was strong evidence that he knew its real purpose. Although crippled by tuberculosis of the hips, he had hobbled to a vantage point on the terrace of the Chateau Frontenac Hotel to watch the ill-fated plane fly out of Quebec City on the day of the crash.

Guay was hanged 18 months ago. Scheduled for execution in October: Ruest’s sister, Mrs. Marguerite Pitre, who carried the bomb to the airport and checked it on to the plane.

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