Wilbert Coffin

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Wilbert Coffin (October 1915 - 10 February 1956) was a Canadian prospector who was convicted of murder and executed in Canada. Montreal journalist, editor, author and politician Jacques Hebert raised doubt as to Coffin's guilt in J'accuse les assassins de Coffin, published in 1963. The book led to a royal commission which upheld the conviction. See more at Coffin Affair.

On 15 July 1953, the remains of Eugene Lindsey were found in the Gaspé region of Quebec a month after his disappearance. The body had been torn apart by bears. On 23 July 1953, the bodies of Lindsey's 17-year-old son Richard and 20-year-old Frederick Claar were also found, 4 kilometres away. The three men had last been seen going into the woods to hunt. Lindsey had graduated from high school in Pennsylvania the day before the trip. Coffin was accused of ambushing the three men and stealing more than 600 dollars. Coffin denied committing the murders, but admitting to stealing some of the men's luggage.

Coffin went through seven reprieves after his conviction where he was denied clemency by the Quebec Court of Appeals, the Canadian Supreme Court and the Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent's cabinet. Finally, on 10 February 1956, Coffin mounted the gallows. He was refused his final wish of marrying Marion Petrie, his partner and mother of his 8-year-old son James.


Mohawk Indian Frederick Gilbert Thompson confessed to the crime in 1958, fingering his friend Johnny Green as the killer of Richard. He later recanted his confession and Canadian authorities dismissed his story as not credible.[1]


  1. ^ 1958 :[Final Edition 57]. (1999, December 27). Kingston Whig-Standard, p. 61. Retrieved February 15, 2008 from Canadian Newsstand Core database. (Document ID: 294746281)