Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The FLQ and the Quebec October Crisis

Arrests and Trials

The federal troops were withdrawn from Quebec on Christmas Eve. Four days later, police arrested the three other members of the Chenier cell, the Rose brothers and Simard. Betrayed by an informant, they were found hiding in a 20-foot tunnel beneath a farmhouse outside Montreal.

The three revolutionaries and their comrade Lortie were charged with kidnapping and murder. Heavily publicized trials played out over the ensuing year.

Bernard Lortie
Bernard Lortie

Simard was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison. Lortie got 20 years for kidnapping. Jacques Rose was acquitted of kidnapping and murder, but was later sentenced to eight years on a conviction for being an accessory to the crimes.

The trial of cell leader Paul Rose was punctuated by angry rants from the accused. He was convicted and sentenced to life in prison, like Simard. At sentencing, Rose screamed an obscene defense of his actions, blaming everyone but Pierre Laporte himself.

Before the judge cut him off, Rose shouted in French, "Your verdict has no importance. I tell you the establishment finds me guilty of being Québécois. I'M GUILTY OF BEING QUEBÉCOIS AND I'M PROUD OF IT!"

None of the four ever owned up to killing Laporte.

In a prison interview, Paul Rose said that as "a matter of solidarity," he would forever maintain that the FLQ and the Chenier cell were collectively responsible.

However, Paul Rose and Bernard Lortie were not in the hideout when Laporte was killed, according to an accepted version of events that came to light years after the crime. That left Jacques Rose and/or Francis Simard as the likely killer.

According to a government investigation a decade after the October Crisis, Laporte may have been strangled accidentally, although the circumstances seem unlikely. According to this account, a captor grabbed the neckband of the politician's sweater from behind and squeezed it to keep him quiet, and he was garroted by the gold neck chain he was wearing.

 

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