It is possible that on August 28, 2007, the day the Ontario Court of Appeal finally and formally acquitted Steven Truscott of the 1959 murder of 12-year-old Lynne Harper of Clinton, Ont., a man called Larry Talbot had more than a few qualms.
Truscott was only 14 when he was convicted and sentenced to death in Harper’s murder. His sentence was subsequently commuted to life imprisonment and he was paroled after serving 10 years. After his release, his notoriety forced him to live under an assumed name in an Ontario city until March of 2000 when the CBC featured a documentary about the trial of Steven Truscott.
His acquittal may have made Talbot, a man well known to police over the years, wonder if the case –albeit almost 50 years old – might be reopened and if a new investigation might lead police to his door.
The case had been controversial from the beginning, partly because of the age of the victim and Truscott, partly because of the paucity of evidence against the boy and partly because of the speed with which the investigation was conducted and the conviction handed down. Throughout the years, many people came to Truscott’s defense and he and his legal team continued to try to prove that a miscarriage of justice had occurred.
Over the years, Talbot had been convicted of a number of lesser crimes but was also a prime suspect in the murder of another young girl bearing a similar MO (modus operandi) to the Harper case and he was also being investigated in connection with a number of other murders of young women.
But just over a year after Truscott’s acquittal, Talbot died in an Ontario nursing home, without ever having to answer to any murder charges.
In 1997, as a retired sergeant from the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), I wrote a detailed report in which I suggested that Talbot might be a viable suspect in several unsolved murders of which I was aware. It was not my first involvement with Talbot. In fact, my then-girlfriend and I were victimized by him in 1971.
But my purpose in writing this book is not to garner revenge on a dead man. It is to show how a viable suspect in the Harper and other murders may have slipped through the OPP’s investigative and hierarchical cracks. I have used a pseudonym for the "person of interest" out of respect for his family’s privacy and the fact that he was not charged or convicted of any of the homicides included in the book.
Excerpted from "A Viable Suspect" by Barry Ruhl. Copyright © 0 by Barry Ruhl. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.