Fort Frances Times and Rainy Lake Herald
August 17, 1944

Four Face Torture Killing Trial Here


Four men from this district, Anthony and George Skrypnyk, Eino Tallonen and William Schmidt, were committed for trial on a charge of murder in connection with the torture slaying of Mrs. Viola Jamieson, 49, of Flanders, Ontario, at the preliminary hearing before Magistrate Wolfe at Kenora Monday.
George Armstrong of Fort Frances, in charge of road work near Flanders, told the court he was summoned by the son of the deceased woman about 6:30 June 10. Armstrong, because of what the boy told him, went to the root house, broke in the door and found the woman partly buried in gravel, tried to raise her but she fell, and he then raised and assisted her out of the root house. he described her burns, noting especially sever burn and loos skin from the area between shoulder and top of her girdle. She was conscious.
Constable Parfitt, Ontario Provincial Police, Fort Frances, got word 7:30 p.m., and went to Flanders with Constable Savage and West. They made enquiry at C.N.R. station and Ontario-Minnesota Pulp and Paper Company office, and then went to the house. Only door to the house was through the kitchen. They found the house in disorder, plates, sealers on the table, and in the living room bedclothes were strewn around.
In the root cellar the entire gravel floor had been spaded over, At the entrance porch of the root house was an Aladdin lamp.
"Dr. J. E. O'Donnell, of Fort Frances, said he knew Mrs. Jamieson and had performed the post mortem July 3, 36 hours after death. The woman died of infectious toxemia as a result of burns, he said. There were third degree burns from abdomen to below breast on the right side and also on the left breast, the left forearm and on the elbow and hand. Both hips have endured sever suffering he said."
Isaac Sheldon, 50, said he had lived with Mrs. Jamieson for the past six years at Flanders. Two boys also lived in the house.
He described his movements before the crime and said he had driven 22 miles to his work on that day with the woman and boys. When he left them, they drove home in the truck. He said he only knew one of the accused --- Schmidt.
Sheldon said $1,300 was stolen from the house about June 1 and was reported to the Police; one thousand belonging to Mrs. Jamieson and $300 to himself. A further $700 was still hidden near the premises.
"He returned home June 11, after the crime and noticed the cellar had been dug up."
Inspector Kelly, criminal investigation department of the Ontario provincial police, took charge of the case June 26.
Inspector Kelly said he took possession of the lamp and sent it to R.C.M.P. in Ottawa for finger printing. Sgt. Ralph William Wonnacott, finger print expert, said that he had received two sealers from the Provincial Police for examination.
"He said he found prints on one sealer and on a lamp glass also submitted. He testified that one impression was identified as that of George Skrypnyk. That on the lamp chimney was identified as that of Anthony Skrypnyk."
Crown then called Mrs. Pearl Lee. She said she lived William Schmidt in the west and later came to Fort Frances. Later they went to Fort William where they worked at the Canada Car Company. There they met Anthony Skrypnyk and a girl named Laura. Later the met George and May and finally Eino Tillonen and a girl named Norma. After describing and earlier trip by Schmidt to Fort Frances, she said that on July 23 in Port Arthur Schmidt told her that he and "the boys" had done the thing at Flanders. He said that if he had listened to her, he would not be in the position he was. He said that the Skrypnyk boys and Tillonen were with him.
At this point H. J. Donley pointed out that this evidence would only be used as hearsay in the case of the Skrypnyk's trial. However the Crown counsel proceeded. Mrs. Lee said Schmidt told her: If it was not for Tony he would not have done it. He broke down and said he would never listen to Tony again ... Tony insisted on his going. She said Schmidt told her the Skrypnyks planned it. Schmidt tried to delay but they said they would go anyway even if he did not.
She said he left that evening to go to Manitoba with $50 she gave him. (Schmidt was arrested at Morris, Man.)
Mr. Kajander of Fort William and H. J. Donley of Kenora are retained as defence counsel for Tillonen. The trial will be held in Fort Frances at the next meeting of the High Court which opens September 26.
"The preliminaries were held before magistrate Wolfe of Kenora with Deputy Attorney General C. L. Snyder conducting the prosecution for the crown."
After hearing testimony of the foregoing witnesses and reading a statement which was not read aloud to the court, Magistrate Wolfe committed the quartet for trial at the next sitting of the Supreme Court in the District of Rainy River.
Attending the preliminary hearing from Fort Frances were the following: N. L. Croome, district Crown Attorney; H. L. Cruso, District Police Magistrate; Dr. J. E. O'Donnell who gave medical evidence; George Armstrong who appeared as a witness; Constables Savage and Parfitt of the Ontario Provincial Police; Harold Jamieson, son of the late Mrs. Jamieson; Edward Allan of Rainy River, railroad engineer, witness, who was not called; and Wilfred Christie.

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