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Release and conviction in the murder of Christine Jessop: A look back at two of London’s biggest trials, Ont.




LONDONR, ONT. – More than 35 years after the death of Christine Jessop, Toronto police say Calvin Hoover is the person responsible for her murder.

It was a crime for which Guy Paul Morin was acquitted, then convicted and then finally cleared based on DNA evidence.

From the moment he was appointed suspect in the heinous murder of nine-year-old Christine Jessop, Morin resolutely maintained his innocence, but it was not enough.

Two proofs.

An innocence.

A misconception.

The legal system failed in Morin and Jessop.

Christine Jessop was abducted after leaving her home in Queensville, Ont. on October 3, 1984. Her decomposing body was discovered nearly three months later, on December 31, in a farm field about 55 miles away in Sunderland.

Police said the spill was sexually assaulted and stabbed to death.

Durham Regional Police were initially interested in Morin after Jessops’s mother labeled her neighbor next door as a weird-type guy. In April 1985, acting largely on Morin’s assessment as eccentric, he was arrested. In January 1986 his murder trial began inside a London courtroom.

It was a case where the defense was full of holes. A police officer was charged after it was discovered he had exchanged a cigarette butt found at the murder scene. There was also testimony from a well-known liar, who told the court he heard a prison confession.

A month later, and almost a year after his arrest, Morin was acquitted by a jury in London.

In June 1987, the Ontario Supreme Court ordered a new trial, which resumed in London in November 1991. The retrial was postponed until 1992 by Morins’s own appeals based on the non-disclosure of Crowns of acquittal and other, including double risk rule.

The second trial took place for nine months in 1992. At the time, it was the longest murder trial in Canadian history.

All persons involved in the trial went to London from outside the city, including the judge overseeing the case. They lived in hotels and ate in restaurants for about two and a half years. These costs, plus legal fees, cost taxpayers approximately $ 11 million.

The jury debated for eight days, reaching a first-degree conviction for murder. Morin was sentenced to life in prison.

Courtroom in London
A crowd gathers outside the court in London, Ont. in July 1992 after Guy Paul Morin was sentenced to death for Christine Jessop.

In his recent comments before Justice James Donnelly, Morin maintained his innocence.

It’s a trace of justice throughout this whole ordeal and what happened here today. I am appealing this decision. That’s all I have to say.

Defense attorney Jack Pinkofsky cried in his arms after the verdict was read and could not stand by Morin when the sentence was read.

It was February 7, 1986, when Guy Paul Morin, was acquitted by a jury of his colleagues. Today, an innocent man was found guilty. We intend to appeal this decision and restore the innocence of a person who had nothing to do with the abduction or murder of Christine Jessop, Pinkofsky said out of court.

An emotionally drained Bob and Janet Jessop walked out of court that day, somewhat relieved but still holding the feelings of grieving parents.

Regarding the verdict, no matter what, Christine will not be back with us. The only consolation of the whole affair is that she finally rests and maybe Christine can finally rest in peace, Bob Jessop told reporters.

Janet Jessop expressed relief.

Finally, the culprit has paid for Christine’s murder.

Christine Jessop
Christine Jessop

Crown Prosecutor Leo McGuigan said the evidence proved guilt beyond reasonable doubt. He described the case as difficult because it was based on circumstantial evidence.

“We started to build this issue on small evidence and sought the cumulative effect. Obviously, in the eyes of the jury, that was enough.

Morin appealed his sentence.

Soon after, science brought justice.

Improvements in DNA testing led to a test in January 1995, which ruled out Morin as the killer, just days before his appeal was heard. The trial for Morins’s appeal of his sentence was brief, with the judge handing down a verdict of not guilty on 23 January 1995 in response to DNA evidence that all parties agreed were correct.

I’m alone in heaven. I’am happy. I am free. This is how I feel. Free, told an excited Morin the day of his release. He completely acquitted me in both categories. Proving that I – I, I here – did not commit this crime.

Morins father said, I think there are a lot of mistakes that need to be corrected.

Christine Jessops’s brother Ken, who was 14 at the time of his sisters’ disappearance, broke up in court and apologized out of court for all that was said about Morin. Every time you see the Crown or the police, they come back and tell you that these are the manats that sit this time.

After 10 years of hearing this, Ken said he did not know what else to think. It felt like brainwashing.

Now I have to sit back and realize, and really let him dive, that he (Morin) is not the one who sexually assaulted him. This is what this evidence proves. He is now a free man. I hope he sues a ** off of them.

Ken Jessop
Ken Jessop, Christine Jessop’s brother, speaks after Guy Paul Morin was cleared of her death in January 1995.

Morin told reporters he believed he was simply the son of the fall or the person to lay the blame.

In fact, he said, they did not take the boy.

They just put me under observation and under the microscope and that’s what happened in the end. They accused an innocent man for the last ten years, falsely, and now today, you are seeing me still talking. I got it.

This turn of events, as the provincial cabinet said later, has raised some questions about the administration of justice in Ontario.

Morins’s wrong conviction was the subject of a judicial investigation. The investigation into the Morins case revealed evidence of misconduct by police and prosecutors. The tapes and interrogation tapes were lost or deleted, and the potentially exculpatory evidence was erroneous or tarnished. Evidence of misinterpretation of forensic evidence was also found by the Center for Forensic Science in Ontario.

The Ontario government apologized to Morin for prosecuting him and paid him $ 1.25 million in compensation.

On October 15, 2020, almost 36 years after Christine Jessop was sexually assaulted and killed, Toronto police have identified the man they say is responsible for her murder. Through DNA evidence, police reported, the semen found inside Jessops underwear matched last week with Toronto resident Calvin Hoover, then 28 years old.

Hoover died in 2015.

However, if he were alive today, the Toronto Police Department would arrest Calvin Hoover for the murder of Christine Jessop, said interim Toronto Police Chief James Ramer.

Calvin Hoover
Calvin Hoover

In a statement released through his attorney, James Lockyer, Morin said he is relieved for the Jessops family.

I am relieved for Christine’s mother, Janet, and her family, and I hope this will give them some peace of mind, he said. They have been going through a terrible ordeal for 36 years since losing Christine in 1984.

Morin also thanked Toronto police for prosecuting him many years after the murder.

I am grateful that the Toronto police stood by this case and have now finally resolved it, Morin said. When DNA acquitted me in January 1995, I was sure that one day DNA would discover the real killer and now it has.

Christine’s murder was a horrible and tragic event.

Lockyer, who was helpful in overturning Morins’ conviction, also expressed relief for the news.

At least. Finally, he said.

Lockyer fought for Morin after he was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment. When new DNA evidence came to light, he successfully overturned the conviction.

Something is something I have been waiting for for many, many years, like many others, and it was very satisfying and a great relief to know that the real perpetrator of the crime has been identified.

It is a shame that he could not be caught because he died, but nevertheless identifying the person is extraordinary.

Toronto police had a key test, a sperm sample in Jessops lingerie, but until recently they did not have a DNA match. So they turned to science genetic genealogy, which combines DNA analysis and family tree research.

Genetic genealogy uses existing DNA data to provide a possible family tree from a human specimen. Rather than a suspect, the approach digs a wide family line, from parents and siblings to distant cousins. It is then up to investigators to use classic investigative tools, such as combing historical data, obituaries, social media or other channels to win their search.

In this case, Toronto police sent the DNA sample to a lab in the United States because there is currently no Canadian laboratory that specializes in genetic genealogy.

Staff extension. Peter Code noted that while the findings from the genetic gene test were not considered evidence, they helped investigators establish two possible family trees.

After extensively combining detailed reports and documents, the second trunk of the family produced Calvin Hoover, Code said at a news conference Thursday.

Hoover was 28 when he killed Jessop, police said, adding that he and his wife had a known neighbor relationship at the time of Jessops’s death and that he may have worked with her father.

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