, 2022-12-10 06:00:37,
Below a cinderblock wall near a maintenance shed in an unkempt corner of an otherwise immaculate Toronto cemetery are the unmarked graves of two notorious criminals: a hitman and a cop killer.
A groundskeeper on break sits on a broken lawn chair nearby, scrolling on his device. Asked if he knows the significance of the place of the two deceased men in Canadian criminal history, he shrugs, indifferent to the question, the device holding his attention.
The graves belong to Arthur Lucas and Ronald Turpin.
From Confederation in 1867 until Parliament abolished the death penalty in 1976, 710 convicted murderers were executed by the state, including 13 women. Hanging was the chosen method. The last execution in Canada was the double hanging of Lucas and Turpin on Dec. 11, 1962, at Toronto’s Don Jail.
Capital punishment was a hot-button topic in generations past. Today there remains scant memory of the issue. The Star tracked down two individuals with personal ties to Canada’s last execution. For one, it’s a search for a father she never knew; for the other, a coming to grips with a startling discovery.
Karen Davis has a passion for genealogy. An older sister sparked her interest in the subject five years ago. Since then, she compiled a detailed family tree. People on her late father’s side were Welsh, and Karen is particularly interested in this branch. A valuable source of information would be her mother, Dorothy, but she died in 2020 at 93. Her mother seldom discussed…
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