The slaying of a 27-year-old prisoner in his Kingston, Ont., cell 11 years ago has led to a $1-million lawsuit against the Canadian government and six prison guards.
A statement of claim filed in late April alleges that negligence by the guards and the administration at the Collins Bay Institution led to the stabbing and strangling death of Donald Mongeon in January 1999.
Mongeon's mother, Susan, and his younger brother allege Collins Bay staff failed to follow prison policies and procedures that could have allowed them to prevent the attack or respond quickly to save Mongeon's life afterwards. They also could have preserved evidence, which might have led to arrests and convictions, the plaintiffs say.
The allegations have not been proven in court. As of Friday, no one at Correctional Services of Canada had commented on the lawsuit. The department has 20 days to respond after being served, the document said.
Susan Mongeon, who lives in Ottawa, is seeking damages for pain, suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, mental distress, emotional suffering and past and future loss of income.
"I have a picture of the murder scene," she told CBC News. "It stays in my head … with the blood, his body."
She hopes the lawsuit will help turn attention back toward the case.
Donald Mongeon was serving a five-year sentence for armed robbery. Six months after he arrived at the prison, his body was found in a pool of blood in his cell on Jan. 17, 1999, more than 12 hours after he was last seen alive. He had been stabbed multiple times and strangled with a garbage bag.
Despite a lengthy police investigation, a coroner's inquest and a $50,000 reward, no one has ever been held responsible for Mongeon's death.
Susan Mongeon said she suffers from flashbacks, nightmares and depression and is unable to work.
"He went down the wrong path, chose the wrong way to live," she said in an interview. "But he didn't deserve to die this way."
Donald Mongeon's brother is seeking damages for loss of his brother's care, guidance and companionship.