Three family members shot to death and then burned in a rural Manitoba farmhouse were killed for $5,000, a down payment on a modest home, in a conspiracy hatched by their own relative, the RCMP allege in search-warrant documents recently unsealed by the court.
Fernand Labossiere, 78, and his wife Rita, 74, were found burned beyond recognition at their home in St. Leon, Man., along with their 44-year-old son, Remi, in November of 2005.
Remi's brother, Jerome Labossiere, was charged with first-degree murder in May, along with associates Jeremie Toupin and Michel Hince.
In search-warrant documents, the RCMP allege that Jerome, who was seen as "just God" by the two younger men, planned the killings for his own financial gain. Afterward, Jerome himself told his nephew that "the parents were a surprise, and at least they didn't suffer."
Remi had a net worth of more than $500,000 and property worth more than $1-million. In the years after his death, a bitter financial dispute arose over the estate that pitted Jerome against his nieces and nephews, who were named as beneficiaries in Remi's will. Jerome produced a second will that named him as beneficiary, and according to the documents threatened to kill family members who refused to sign over their claims to the estate in exchange for a $25,000 payment.
On the night he died, Remi was visited by a married woman, the owner of the local hotel, with whom he was having an affair, according to the search-warrant documents. She had been out with her husband that night and when she got home found an e-mail from Remi inviting her over. Her husband, who didn't know of the affair, fell asleep; the woman met Remi at his home and they had sex, the documents say. She left an hour later, just after midnight, the last person to see him alive. She said he was in good spirits, and she found an e-mail wishing her "sweet dreams" when she got home.
But she was also the dispatcher for the local fire department, and at 6 a.m. took the call about a blaze at the Labossiere farm. She sounded the alarm for the volunteer firefighters, including her husband, to fight the fire. But it was already too late for the people inside. According to the search-warrant documents, the woman's husband was considered a person of interest in the case, but eliminated as a suspect after passing a polygraph test. The documents reveal that Remi was shot in the back of the leg and through the brain, Fernand was shot through the liver and spinal cord and Rita was shot through the neck. Their bodies were so badly burned, however, that it wasn't until several days later when bullet fragments were discovered at autopsy that police realized they were dealing with a triple homicide.
Two months into the police investigation, Jerome became a person of interest. The police were told that a year before the killings, Jerome had said to his friend, Andre Grenier: "Do me a favour, get rid of my brother. Do an accident for me."
Jerome had begun spending time with Mr. Toupin and Mr. Hince, who were barely out of high school and, according to their parents, in awe of Jerome. Mr. Toupin's father told police he was worried they were "under the control of Jerome Labossiere" and getting caught up in dealing drugs.
Eleven days after the killings, Mr. Toupin registered the purchase of a $100,000 house in Winnipeg. Dan Labossiere, Jerome's nephew and a friend to Mr. Toupin and Mr. Hince, asked Mr. Hince what Jerome had given him to commit the murders: "Is that how you guys put your down payment on your house?" to which Mr. Hince answered, "Yes," the documents allege.
Later that evening, after some beer and cocaine, Mr. Hince started to cry. He motioned with his hand in the shape of a gun and told Dan "I want to kill myself," the documents say. "I can't live with myself for what I did on the farm and it's fucking driving me nuts," he said.
He also said Jerome was at home with Mr. Toupin's brother on the night the killings were committed.
Dan Labossiere told police he feared for his life for speaking with them.
In a case police say is unrelated to these homicides, Jerome's nephew Joel Labossiere and his wife, Magdalena, who obtained court orders to protect themselves from Jerome, were executed in their Winnipeg home earlier this year. Kelly John Clarke is charged with two counts of first-degree murder in connection with that case.
The documents reveal the case finally came together in late April of 2008, when the RCMP arrested Mr. Toupin in Kelowna, B.C. The documents say Mr. Toupin told police that Jerome approached him and Mr. Hince two weeks before the slayings and asked them to kill his brother in a manner that would make it look like a suicide. Mr. Toupin said he was paid $5,000 to do it, which he used to make a down payment on his house.
None of the allegations contained in the documents has been proved in court.