Three days before his execution date of Jan. 23, 1953, and with the hammering and sawing by workers building the hangman’s scaffold in the United Counties Jail courtyard drifting into his tiny condemned-man‘s cell, the anxious prisoner had a visitor.
It was United Counties Sheriff McNaughton. In his hand was a telegram from the office of the governor-general in council’s office.
An appeal by his skilled defence lawyer, J. C. Horowitz of Ottawa, to have the death penalty commuted on grounds of mental incompetence was successful.
Instead of being executed on Jan. 26, 1953, he was sent to Kingston Penitentiary to serve a life sentence for the murder of a young Harrison’s Corners farm wife.
The 21-year-old district native was a hired hand for the dead woman’s husband. She had been brutally beaten and stabbed to death.
It took two trials to convict the man. At each trial, Horowitz argued that his client was mentally ill. In all, five psychiatrists testified at the trials as expert witnesses. Three agreed with the defence, two disagreed. For whatever reason, the jury in the second trial accepted the opinion of the two doctors who sided with the prosecution, that the accused was of sound mind.
Horowitz called the conviction and death penalty a colossal miscarriage of justice and launched an appeal.
After receiving the news of his successful appeal, Horowitz urged the judge to asked that his client be evaluated by an independent psychiatrist in Kingston.
ALSO THIS MONTH IN 1953 – The local Bell Telephone office reported it took 118 telephone operators at the Pitt Street exchange to handle 102,566 operator-assisted local calls on Dec. 31 and 71,767 calls on New Year’s Day. In addition to the local calls, there was a total of 2,970 long distance calls over the two days. Overseas calls had to be booked in November. A large number of the calls were to Great Britain. … A total of 6,500 discarded Christmas trees were burned over a six-day period at the city dump on Ontario Street. … The Cornwall Police Commission turned down a request by the Cornwall Taxi Association to have meters installed in cabs. Meanwhile, the commission gave permission to Club Radio Taxi to open a stand on Water Street East. … Alex Abugov purchased The Fashion Shoppe at 244 Pitt St. He would later open the Vogue Shoppe on Montreal Road. … The United Counties passed a resolution asking the Ontario government to establish a central location for hangings. It also asked the provincial government to replace appointments to school boards with elections. … White bread enriched with vitamins removed during the baking process appeared in Cornwall with much fanfare which claimed it was equal that of whole wheat bread in nutritional value. … Fern Gosselin was elected president of the Cornwall Community Sports Club. Marcel Bourgon was vice-president. … The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, the Ontario Cheese Producers and Ontario Federation of Agriculture all urged the federal government to ban the sale and use of vegetable oils. They said it was a threat to the dairy industry. … St. Columban’s Youth outscored Canadian Legion 10-7 in a City Junior Hockey League game. Lutt Bergeron led the Legion with three goals for the winners. Roger St. Jean, Rheal St. Jean, Norm Baril, Earl Landon, Harley Desnoyers, Luke Emard and Rousseau also scored. Doug Hawn, two, Ed Herrington, Floyd McRae, Stu McConkey, Garry Grant and Ron Riley had one apiece for the Legion club.
If you want to pay out of pocket to avoid an hours-long wait in the Cornwall Community Hospital emergency department for a non-emergency, there is an express lane about 30 minutes away.
Know of two residents who took their non-emergency (aka non-life threatening issue) to a medical clinic in Massena.
One tells of waiting seven hours in the overwhelmed crowded Cornwall ER after having an x-ray for a suspected respiratory infection.
He decided to throw in the towel and drive to a Massena clinic. Within half an hour of arriving he was examined by a doctor on duty, given the test result and sent on his way with a prescription for bronchitis. The cost: $80 US.
Another resident tells of a similar experience at a Massena clinic after giving up on a 10-hour wait in the local ER. Said it was the best $80 he ever spent. Said the wait was less than 20 minutes.
HERE AND THERE There could be a slight Cornwall connection with the new owners of the Ottawa Senators. According to one media report, Farm Boy is one of the key bidders. Farm Boy was started in Cornwall by the Belmare family back in early 1980s. It is now part of a national grocery chain. … Just a thought, do they cancel family court on Family Day? … Do you still call in sick with the sniffles if you are working from home? … The Sir John Johnson House out in South Glengarry has received a Parks Canada heritage site grant of $625,000 to upgrade its fire and entry alarm systems. When it comes to the entry alarm, might be cheaper to buy a pitbull. … If that half-full un-opened bag of potato chips has been keeping you awake nights, an outfit called the Nuts and Snacks Manufacturing Association has the answer. It has nothing to do with “shrinkflation”. The association says the air space in the bags is designed to keep the chips fresh and serve as a cushion to keep the chips from breaking up. Still the same number of chips. … Can somebody find meaningful employment for Harry and Meghan? … Bold forecast by those who make a living gazing into the murky energy crystal ball is that pump prices will climb to $2.60 a litre this summer. Some of that boost will include another carbon tax hike.
TRIVIA ANSWER Cornwall lawyer S. E. (Stan) Fennell served one term as president of the Canadian Bar Association, the only Cornwall lawyer to hold the prestigious post.
TRIVIA In February 1969 former Cornwall Royals trainer Ray Moquin became the first Cornwall/United Counties resident to undergo this medical procedure 1) Open heart surgery, 2) Lung transplant, 3) Kidney transplant, 4) Hip replacement, 5) Knee replacement.
QUOTED – “A consultant is an ordinary guy who lives more than 100 miles from your home.” – Eric Sevareid.