|Born||Clifford Robert Olson, Jr.
January 1, 1940
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
|Died||September 30, 2011 (aged 71)
Laval, Quebec, Canada
|Cause of death||Cancer|
|Other names||The Beast of British Columbia|
|Criminal penalty||Life imprisonment|
Span of killings
|August 12, 1981|
Clifford Robert Olson, Jr. (January 1, 1940 – September 30, 2011) was a convicted Canadian serial killer who confessed to murdering 11 children and young adults between the ages of nine and 18 years in the early 1980s. Olson scored 38/40 on the Psychopathy Checklist.
Christine Weller, 12, from Surrey, British Columbia, was abducted on November 17, 1980. Her body was found more than a month later on Christmas Day; she had been strangled with a belt and stabbed repeatedly. On April 16, 1981, Colleen Marian Daignault, 13, vanished. Five months later her body was found. On April 22, 1981, Daryn Todd Johnsrude, 16, was abducted and killed; his body was found less than two weeks later. On May 19, 1981, 16-year-old Sandra Wolfsteiner was murdered, and 13-year-old Ada Anita Court was murdered in June 1981.
Six victims followed in quick succession in July 1981. Simon Partington, nine, was abducted, raped and strangled on the second day of the month. Judy Kozma, a 14-year-old from New Westminster, was raped and strangled a week later. Her body was discovered on July 25 near Weaver Lake. The next victims were Raymond King II, 15, abducted on July 23, raped and bludgeoned to death; Sigrun Arnd, an 18-year-old German tourist, raped and bludgeoned two days later; Terri Lyn Carson, 15, raped and strangled on July 27; and Louise Chartrand, age 17, the last victim identified, who died on July 30.
Arrest and plea bargain
Olson, who had an extensive criminal history, was arrested on August 12, 1981, on suspicion of attempts to abduct two girls. By August 25, Olson had been charged with the murder of Judy Kozma. He reached a controversial deal with authorities, agreeing to confess to the 11 murders and show the RCMP the location of the bodies of those not yet recovered. In return, authorities agreed that $10,000 for each victim was paid into a trust for his wife, Joan, and then-infant son, Clifford III. His wife received $100,000 after Olson cooperated with the RCMP, the 11th body being a 'freebie'. In January 1982, Olson pleaded guilty to 11 counts of murder and was given as many concurrent life sentences to be served in Canada's super-maximum security Special Handling Unit in Sainte-Anne-des-Plaines, Quebec, which houses many of the country's most dangerous criminals. Olson was a dangerous offender, meaning it was very unlikely he would ever have been released from prison.
At his sentencing January 14, 1982, the trial judge remarked, "My considered opinion is that you should never be granted parole for the remainder of your days. It would be foolhardy to let you at large."
Canadian law allows inmates convicted of first-degree murder to apply for parole after serving a minimum of 25 years. Olson's second parole hearing, on July 18, 2006, was also denied. Olson made many bizarre and false claims, including that the United States had granted him clemency for providing information about the September 11 attacks and that the hearing had no jurisdiction over him because of that. Under Canadian law, Olson was then entitled to make a case for parole every two years.
Olson was once again refused parole in November 2010.
Old Age Security pension controversy
Controversy developed in March 2010 when the media disclosed that Olson was receiving two federal government benefits from Canada while imprisoned, a total of $1,169.47 monthly. Olson was eligible to receive the Canadian Old Age Security (OAS) pension. All persons who meet residency requirements as to length of time in Canada are eligible to receive this pension at age 65, and Olson turned 70 on January 1, 2010. Olson was also eligible to receive the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS), awarded to pensioners with low income. The money in question was being held in trust for Olson.
The Canadian Taxpayers Federation testified before the federal standing committee for Human Resources Development to have MPs pass Bill C-31, which would terminate pension benefits for prisoners. The organization also presented the government with 46,000 petition signatures requesting that Olson no longer receive the benefits. Prime Minister Stephen Harper asked government officials to look into the issue; on June 1, 2010, the government moved to terminate Olson's payments, calling the fact that he had been receiving them "outrageous" and "offensive". In September 2010, Olson sent one of his Old Age Security cheques to a Sun Media reporter, Peter Worthington, with a note asking him to forward the cheque to Prime Minister Stephen Harper's campaign for re-election.
Illness and death
In the media
- The Investigation, a TV movie, was made in 2002, focusing on allegations that Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) bureaucracy delayed the arrest of Olson. It starred Nicholas Lea, Reece Dinsdale, David Warner and Lochlyn Munro.
- Olson's controversial plea bargain is referred to in a panel discussion at a serial killers' convention in the second volume of Neil Gaiman's Sandman series.
- "Parole hearing being planned for Clifford Olson". CTV News. June 21, 2006. Retrieved 2011-09-21.
- "The Psychopath Next Door". Doc Zone. Season 2014-15. Episode 7. November 27, 2014. 3 minutes in. CBC Television. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved April 24, 2015.
- Kerr, Jan Bouchard. "Clifford Olson: The Case of the Missing Lower Mainland Children". Crime Library. truTV. Archived from the original on 2014-03-10. Retrieved 2011-09-21.
- "Probe of 3 slayings continues, police say". The Globe and Mail. Toronto. The Canadian Press. August 25, 1981.
- "Clifford Olson: The Beast of British Columbia". CBC News. July 19, 2006. Retrieved 2011-09-21.
- Serial killer Clifford Olson dying of cancer - http://www.thestar.com/news/article/1057272
- The Chuck Davis History of Metropolitan Vancouver. Harbour Publishing. 2012.
- "Clifford Olson 'will kill again' if freed, parole board says in ruling". CBC News. July 18, 2006. Retrieved 2011-09-21.
- "Serial killer Clifford Olson denied parole". CTV News. July 18, 2006. Retrieved 2011-09-21.
- Lyumes, Glenda (October 7, 2010). "Reviled B.C. serial murderer Clifford Olson can return to torment victims' families every two years". The Province. Archived from the original on 2010-11-09. Retrieved 2010-10-08.
- "Timeline for killer Clifford Olson". Toronto Sun. Sun Media. 2011-09-21. Retrieved 2011-09-21.
- Harding, Lee (March 22, 2010). "Clifford Olson collects social security benefits". Fighting for Taxpayers Blog. Canadian Taxpayers Federation. Retrieved 2011-09-21.
- "Taxpayers Federation testifies against payments to prisoners". Fighting for Taxpayers Blog. Canadian Taxpayers Federation. October 19, 2010. Retrieved 2011-09-21.
- "CTF delivers 46,000 names on Olson petition". Fighting for Taxpayers Blog. Canadian Taxpayers Federation. April 26, 2010. Retrieved 2011-09-21.
- "Clifford Olson Gets Over $1000 per month in Federal Old Age Pension – Stephen Harper Upset". Cornwall Free News. March 26, 2010. Retrieved 2011-09-21.
- Taber, Jane (June 1, 2010). "Harper cuts Clifford Olson's government pension payments". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2011-09-21.
- Worthington, Peter (September 25, 2010). "Olson stirs things up". Toronto Sun. Sun Media. Retrieved 2011-09-21.
- "Notorious serial killer Clifford Olson dies". CTV Ottawa. September 30, 2011. Retrieved 2011-09-30.
- "The Investigation (2002)". Internet Movie Database. Amazon.com. Retrieved 2011-09-21.
- Gaiman, Neil (October 19, 2010). The Doll's House. Vertigo. ISBN 1-4012-2799-6.
- William L. Holmes; Bruce L. Northorp (2000). Where shadows linger: the untold story of the RCMP's Olson murders investigation. Heritage House Publishing Co. ISBN 978-1-895811-92-6.
- The Beast of British Columbia - Canadian Broadcasting Corporation July 19, 2006