This is part of my ongoing series on Canadian Mass Murders.
On Sunday, March 5, 2006, John LaFleche got really, really drunk, fought with his estranged wife Wendy, then grabbed an aluminum baseball bat and bludgeoned her to death. Then, fearing his children would grow up in abusive foster care like he did, LaFleche beat 7-year-old Victoria and 3-year-old Jesse to death as they lay sleeping in their beds.
Devon Brisborne, Wendy LaFleche’s 16-year-old son from a previous marriage, was the lone survivor. He was not home at the time of his step-father’s murderous rampage.
Immediately after killing his wife and two youngest children, John LaFleche sped away from the murder scene. He would later claim he was going to kill himself by driving his car off a bridge.
As he fled from the scene, LaFleche dialed 911 on his cell phone to alert police to the multiple homicide.
“You’ll only get this once … do you hear me? 15407 Yonge Street, Aurora … you got a three-year-old dead boy, you have a seven-year-old dead girl and you have a 41-year-old dead woman … Bye.”
York Regional Police arrived at Wendy LaFleche’s home and found three dead bodies, just as the 911 call said.
The pursued LaFleche and attempted to block off the killer’s escape route with spike belts and roadblocks. After a high-speed chase along Highway 40 north of Toronto, police finally stopped his vehicle, arrested John LaFleche and charged him with three counts of first degree murder.
Lengthy Criminal Record
John LaFleche has a long criminal record and spent roughly 13 years in prison for crimes ranging from break and enter and robbery to weapons possession, according to The Toronto Star.
I could not find any of his convictions on Canlii.org, nor could I find any record of a Firearm Prohibition Order against John LaFleche, which is standard procedure in sentencing criminals for weapons offences.
Drunken Jealous Rage
John LaFleche was an alcoholic who refused to deal with his substance abuse. His drinking, combined with his ongoing psychological abuse of his wife, are the primary reasons Wendy LaFleche asked him to leave the family home months prior.
The Aurora Banner delivered an excellent overview of the events leading up to the multiple murders.
He drank 24 beers in 24 hours as he passed the time and tried to keep himself awake for a night shift the following day where he worked as a garbage truck driver, the court heard.
His heavy drinking forced him to make several trips to the bathroom next to Ms Lafleche’s bedroom.
During one trip, shortly after she arrived home at 2 a.m., he overheard her having a sexually explicit phone conversation with a man she met online.
Before leaving, shortly after 5 a.m., he went upstairs to Ms Lafleche’s bedroom to confront her about the telephone conversation he overheard a few hours earlier.
The argument quickly became heated and Mr. Lafleche smashed his wife’s head and upper torso with a baseball bat until she stopped moving, the court was told.
Next, he entered his children’s rooms and beat them with the same bat, even stopping to check their pulses.
“I wish there was an excuse for it. If it wasn’t for the alcohol, it wouldn’t have happened. There was no plan for what I did. I can’t explain why it happened, but it happened.”
Alcohol is no more responsible John LaFleche’s heinous actions than a gun is responsible for Gamil Gharbi’s heinous 1989 murders of 14 female engineers at École Polytechnique.
Both men are responsible for their repugnant acts – not beer, not baseball bats and not guns.
Like Gamil Gharbi before him, John LaFleche is 100% responsible for his actions that fateful March day.
Blaming alcohol, saying It’s not my fault, is the sniveling whine of every person who refuses to take responsibility for their actions.
- John LaFleche chose to get drunk.
- John LaFleche chose to pick up an aluminum baseball bat and beat his estranged wife to death with it.
- John LaFleche chose to brutally end his own children’s lives.
John LaFleche alone is responsible for their deaths. Beer is just his convenient scapegoat, and banning alcohol will not stop people like LaFleche from committing similar heinous crimes in the future.
The cold, hard and brutal reality is John LaFleche refused to deal with his mental issues, his own traumatic childhood and the psychological abuse heaped on him by a string of foster parents.
His repeated failure to man up and deal with these issues cost three innocent people their lives.
Life In Prison
On Friday, January 11, 2008, after pleading guilty to murdering his family, Justice Michael Brown sentenced John LaFleche to life in prison with no eligibility for parole for 19 years.
In the meantime, the rest of Wendy’s family is left to bear the hole in their hearts left by a selfish and jealous alcoholic.
Those are scars that never heal.
Doug McIntye says
I’m sure as you investigate this phenomenon further, you will find that in many, if not all cases, the perpetrator considers themselves a victim. Gamil Gharbi was a victim of state sponsored discrimination, (along with having a misogynistic father). Adolf Hitler was a victim of the French, the Allies, the Treaty of Versailles, and of course, the Jews. Vladimir Lennin, Josef Stalin and company were victims of the bourgeoisie, capitalism, as were Mao, Castro, Pol Pot, and the list goes on. Many times after committing mass murder, with the prospect of being caught and prosecuted, a perpetrator delivers a final eff you by committing suicide.
Society has embraced the victim psychopathy; the more of a victim you are, the more positive attention you get, but only if you are the right kind of victim. The writings of people like “White privilege” Peggy McIntosh, or “Intersectionality” Kimberle Crenshaw only fan the flames of division. Who says “one person can’t change the world”? Too bad its just not in a good way.
Marc Montour says
Please note that the École Polytechnique killer’s name was not Gamil Gharbi, but rather Marc Lépine. Please verify your facts before publishing anything. Our critics are just looking at those blips to attack our credibility.
Christopher di Armani says
Marc, his birth name is Gamil Gharbi. That is a verified fact.
He changed his name when he was a teenager and by his French name hides his Muslim heritage and its hatred of women – a key factor in his murderous rampage. I refuse to cover up these facts, hence the use of his birth name.
Why does this make you so uncomfortable?
Dwayne Lamothe says
John LaFleche is a lowlife bottom feeder! Hes an absolutely obtuse person for committing these terrible acts. I can only hope he gets his I really hope he was introduced to a couple of hard core general population guys I hardly doubt it. Pussy is probably in Protective Custody! I know Devon personally & I’m absolutely crushed about what happened to him I love hugging him. Hes good kid & suffered enough he was drinking quite heavily however, got over it & is now sober he really didn’t want alcohol to destroy him. He moved out of province so I haven’t seen him in awhile but I still talk to him he has really good things going on in his life right now. I hope John never gets out of prison he doesn’t ever deserve to breathe the same fresh air as us. He is a prime example of why we should bring back the death penalty in Canada. He never gave his victims a chance why should he get one?
None of you knew this man before he committed the crime. He was an aboriginal male with a past filled with many traumatizing factors. He clearly had a mental illness from how he grew up and he needed help. Many people with untreated mental illness turn to alcohol, and aboriginals are also well known for this unfortunately. I am in NO way saying that what John did is acceptable because it will never be acceptable and there is no excuse for what he did. John wasn’t using alcohol as an excuse but rather implying that it was the fuel to the fire. John is someone my family knew personally for many many years. He had a big heart and if he had received the help he needed then yes, 3 innocent people would still be alive today. John was not a violent person. He had a criminal record yes but in none of his previous crimes was he violent. In my opinion, he is a victim. A victim of the government that failed him and in turn he failed his family. I do believe that his penalty was deserved. In no way were his actions right and he had admitted that himself in trial. He had remorse. Remember; when he sobered up he would have really realized what he did. I’m not saying to change your opinions or anything but maybe be considerate of the fact that you didn’t know him or his life and name calling and wishing harm to him to uncalled for. I can promise you that John LaFleche is sitting in prison right now and hates himself more than anyone.