Gatineau resident Denis Bégin among the 25 most wanted fugitives in the country

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Gatineau Denis Bégin among the 25 most wanted fugitives in the country

Nearly four years after his escape, Gatineau resident Denis Bégin, nicknamed the “Halloween killer”, is still nowhere to be found.

Almost four years after his escape from the Federal Training Center in Laval, Gatineau resident Denis Bégin is still sought after. His name appeared last week on a list of the country's 25 most wanted fugitives.

The Bolo Program, an independent organization created in 2018 to amplify the dissemination of wanted notices, placed the man who was on his third sentence under federal jurisdiction at the time of his escape at 18th place.

The suspects at the top of the list are mostly wanted for murder. Denis Bégin escaped from a detention center, and the reasons for his escape are not very clear. It is therefore difficult to assess the danger it represents for society, explains program director Maxime Langlois.

Bolo Program Director, Maxime Langlois

Denis Bégin, who was 58 years old at the time of his escape, was nicknamed the Halloween killer because he had murdered Riccardo Jezzi on October 31, 1993, in Montreal, with a 12-gauge shotgun blast.


When Bolo rolled out its first charts last April, Denis Bégin's name was not there. Why?

Our top 25 was very focused on Toronto and Ontario, which were our first partners. It was wanted. Our first update aimed to restore a balance by including more files from other provinces, continues Mr. Langlois, about the one whose name is also among the eight most wanted criminals in Quebec.

“Denis Bégin is someone who needs to be handcuffed as soon as possible. »

— Maxime Langlois, Director of the Bolo Program

In a document from the Parole Board of Canada (PBC), of which Radio-Canada obtained a copy, we can read that in 2008 Denis Bégin was qualified as a psychopath following a psychological evaluation.

You have qualified on the Hare scale for psychopathy, which represents a high, frequent and rapid risk of violent recidivism, it is written. This label was removed by a psychiatrist in 2014 during another evaluation.

According to Maxime Langlois, the organization has contributed to a dozen arrests since its creation, a figure expected to increase as the rankings will be updated periodically.

The Bolo Program is expanding its various advertising campaigns so that police forces receive the greatest number of reports.

In the eyes of the former Assistant Deputy Commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), Pierre-Yves Bourduas, Bolo can prove very useful for the police forces that collaborate with the program, including the Sûreté du Québec (SQ ), the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) and various municipal police forces.

Bolo is an additional tool in the trunk of law enforcement. It draws public attention to notorious criminals while offering [financial] rewards, details the one who retired from the RCMP in 2008.

These financial rewards come from the coffers of the Stéphan Crétier Foundation, which bears the name of the founder and CEO of GardaWorld. The leader of the multinational finances, in a personal capacity, all the operations of the Bolo Program.

Retired from the RCMP in 2008, Pierre-Yves Bourduas held the position of Assistant Deputy Commissioner in the police force.

The program set up a committee bringing together specialized investigators from five police forces.

The committee meets to analyze the files. They are pre-sorted and given priority levels. Then, we draw up a list taking into account the nature of the crimes, the impact on the community and the level of dangerousness, explains Maxime Langlois.

Born on August 3, 1960, this criminal with a long track record is a regular in Quebec courthouses, as evidenced by the twenty pages recounting all the charges against him over the years. years. Some resulted in a verdict or an admission of guilt, others in a stay of proceedings or a denial of guilt.

When he committed his murder on October 31, 1993, Denis Bégin was considered involved in international and local drug trafficking in addition to being described as associated with the Hells Angels as well as certain members of the Colombian network, according to PBC.

  • 1984: Convicted of extortion and extortion conspiracy. With an accomplice, he had tried to extort $100,000 from a bank by sending a package containing a fake bomb. >Friday 13, to kill Riccardo Jezzi, in a Montreal brasserie.
  • March 4, 1996: Denis Bégin was arrested for the murder of Riccardo Jezzi after his ex-spouse confessed. He is convicted of second degree murder, but appeals the decision and obtains a second trial.
  • November 4, 1997: He is caught trying to escape from a legal custody.
  • May 8, 2003: During his second trial, he pleads guilty to second degree murder and must serve a life sentence without the possibility of parole for 10 years.
  • June 2015: Denis Bégin is transferred to the housing units of a minimum security penitentiary.
  • 2016: The PBC manages to thwart an escape plan by Denis Bégin, who thus loses his unescorted temporary absences.
  • < li>February 15, 2019: During the 12:15 p.m. count, the staff noted the absence of Denis Bégin, who managed to escape with the help of an accomplice. The latter was subsequently arrested.

Source : Decisions of the CLCC

Since the escape of February 15, 2019, the SQ has broadcast almost no updates on file. For this report, the police force refused to make the slightest comment, due to the ongoing investigation.

For Pierre-Yves Bourduas, the silence of the SQ n is not surprising.

When it comes to criminals on the loose, especially of this importance, the police want to make sure they keep as much information close to the file and not share it with the public, who are already aware of the criminal, explains Mr. Bourduas.

In the days following the escape, it was possible to learn through the SQ that Denis Bégin could find in Gatineau or elsewhere in the Outaouais.

Mr. Bégin may have changed his appearance, added the police force.

The Sûreté du Québec (SQ) had reported in 2019 certain possibilities of a change in the appearance of Denis Bégin. (Archives)

As Pierre-Yves Bourduas explains, it is sometimes difficult to make progress on such a file, but one misstep can put the police back on a track that could result in an arrest.

Even if the individual is able to camouflage his appearance, he will inevitably attempt to contact friends and relatives. If he has an emotional reason to contact a loved one, it will be easier for law enforcement, says Bourduas.

“Help from accomplices, such as career criminals, can be one-time or long-term, but the individual must keep a distance, as criminals notorious know very well that the police are following in their footsteps. »

— Pierre-Yves Bourduas, former Assistant Deputy Commissioner, RCMP

With the collaboration of Camille Kasisi-Monet

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