Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Clifford Olson


 We were like moths around a flame, said McNeney, referring to that sultry day in August when he danced with the devil.

August, 1997

Provincial Court of B.C. where Olson's parole hearing was held (Jan Bouchard-Kerr)
Provincial Court of B.C. where
Olson's parole hearing was held
(Jan Bouchard-Kerr)

What the jury has to decide about me is my character, said Olson, beginning his case, in the high security courtroom in Surrey. Who is Clifford Olson? What has Clifford Olson done since he was sentenced? He finished his rambling, at times contradictory, opening statement.

After Olson served 16 years, he applied under Section 745 of the Criminal Code, the faint-hope clause. The parents were grief stricken, having to engage in a pointless exercise of the hearing.

At 57, Olson appeared even slighter than in 1981, when he was 41 years old. Wearing a tattered red T-shirt, with his legs shackled, behind a bulletproof partition, Olson leaned over the rail of the prisoners dock at times, for emphasis. Acting as his own attorney, he appealed to the six-man, six-woman jury hearing his bid for early parole, claiming that the had many unsolved crimes to confess, some murders that he committed alone, others with a friend. He said that they were involved in the unsolved string of Green River Murders. The Vancouver Province, a local newspaper, reported that the man in charge of the Green River investigation scoffed at such a claim, saying that he would have had to be a magician, able to tunnel his way from a prison somewhere in Canada and make his way to Seattle to have killed any of the women. According to Bruce Northrop, Nothing he has said, or will say, can be believed unless it can be substantiated by independent means.

Olsons own character witness, Dr. Tony Marcus, a court-appointed psychiatrist, claimed that Olson is still as devious and animated as he was when he was convicted in 1982 and shows no signs of burnout. This actually makes him more dangerous, having spent most of his life in prison. Olsons second character witness said almost the same thing: that there was no safe way that Olson could ever be released, believing that he was virtually unchanged

Forensic psychiatrist Dr. Stanley Semrau called Olson completely untreatable, more dangerous than in 1981 because he thoroughly enjoys celebrity status, trying to claim the title as ultimate serial killer. He told the jury that Olson is addicted to murder and is the most extreme sexual deviant, the most disturbed, most pathological personality I have ever encountered.

 Ladies and gentlemen, said Olson in his summation to the jury, you have seen me before you. Do I look like a raving lunatic? Members of the jury remained calm, but the victims family members laughed uproariously, and a resounding Yeah! was heard throughout the courtroom.

At the end of the trial, amidst the clapping and yelling, some standing up, Justice Richard Low of the B.C. Supreme Court terminated the proceedings, Weve all had enough of this nasty businesswell adjourn. Olson was quickly becoming a paper tiger.

Although Olson had been sentenced to a minimum of 25 years without parole, he believed all along that he would make parole in 15 years. But, it took only 15 minutes for the jury to return a verdict rejecting Olsons bid for parole. His next opportunity will come in the year 2006. He is confined in a maximum-security institution in Quebec, probably until his death. Since his Section 745 hearing in 1997, he has not been allowed to harass the victims families with phone calls and cards.

The last time Maile saw Olson he asked him: What would you do if you got out, Cliff:

Olson grinned, Id take up where I left off.



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