New Brunswick

Convicted murderer and accomplice of notorious serial killer Allan Legere dead at 52

A convicted murderer and accomplice of Allan Legere — one of the country's most notorious serial killers, known as the Monster of the Miramichi — has died.

Scott Michael Curtis was serving life sentence for murder when he died of 'apparent natural causes,' says CSC

Scott Curtis, pictured here in 1987 during his murder trial, died June 7. He was 52. (CBC)

A convicted murderer and accomplice of Allan Legere — one of the country's most notorious serial killers, known as the Monster of the Miramichi — has died.

Scott Michael Curtis, 52, died of "apparent natural causes" on June 7 following an illness, the Correctional Service of Canada confirmed.

He was "under CSC's jurisdiction" at the time of his death, said spokesperson Shelley Lawrence.

In 1986, Curtis was sentenced to life in prison for second-degree murder in the brutal slaying of an elderly Miramichi-area shopkeeper.

In 2009, he was granted full parole, to serve the remainder of his sentence in the community, under conditions.

It's unclear if Curtis was still out on parole or back behind bars at the time of his death. Lawrence declined to release any other information, citing the Privacy Act.

Vicious attack

Curtis was 19 years old when he and his teenaged friend Todd Matchett helped Legere, 38, break into the Black River home of John Glendenning. They planned to steal a safe that contained his life savings.

Glendenning, 66, was viciously beaten and strangled to death during the robbery.

An RCMP officer found his body on the floor of the master bedroom, his hands bound with electrical cord and a scarf tied around his neck. There was a rock the size of a grapefruit by his head and a footprint on his face, the officer had testified.

Glendenning's 61-year-old wife was tied up, severely beaten and sexually assaulted. The attack was so ferocious, she was unrecognizable, her daughter had said.

Curtis changed his plea to guilty of second-degree murder, attempted break and enter with intent and possession of property obtained by crime, but he minimized his involvement, blaming his accomplices, according to a National Parole Board decision.

He was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for at least 16 years. He served about 22 years before being granted full parole.

While in prison, he was involved in the stabbing of Legere. "For technical reasons, criminal charges did not arise," parole board documents state.

Being linked with the name of one of the country's most notorious killers will always serve to increase your scrutiny.- National Parole Board decision

Legere featured prominently in Curtis's parole decisions over the years.

"Many of your negative decisions seem to be closely linked to your poor choice of associates, especially one individual who was later found guilty of multiple murders in the area," the board said in 2009.

"Being linked with the name of one of the country's most notorious killers will always serve to increase your scrutiny," the board noted.

Curtis later legally changed his name, the documents reveal.

He was married twice while in prison and had a daughter, according to the documents.

Legere's 'Reign of Terror'

Matchett also pleaded guilty in Glendenning's murder. He was granted full parole during a National Parole Board hearing in British Columbia in August 2007.

Legere was convicted but escaped custody in May 1989 while prison guards were escorting him to a medical appointment in Moncton, about 120 kilometres south of the Miramichi region.

He killed four more people in the next seven months, known as the Reign of Terror, before being recaptured.

Chatham storeowner Annie Flam, 75 was murdered in her home 25 days after the escape. Sisters Donna and Linda Daughney, 45 and 41, were slain in their Newcastle home five months later, and Catholic priest Father James Smith, 69, was killed in his Chatham Head rectory five weeks after that.

Serial killer Allan Legere, who was already in prison for one murder, escaped from custody in May 1989 and killed four more people during a 201-day manhunt. (CBC)

In 1991, Legere  was convicted on four counts of first-degree murder and was subsequently declared a dangerous offender, a designation that allows for permanent incarceration. 

He was sent to a special unit at Ste-Anne-des-Plaines Institution near Montreal, a super maximum security facility that houses some of Canada's most dangerous offenders.

In 2015, he was transferred to Edmonton Institution, a regular maximum security facility in Alberta.

Negative formative years

Curtis had a difficult upbringing, according to his parole decisions. He witnessed domestic violence, substance abuse and family dysfunction.

"Your negative formative years influenced many of your decisions and anti-social behaviour," the board said.

Substance abuse "became the norm" for Curtis and his peers and he racked up a string of petty crime convictions, mostly property-related.

He was diagnosed with an anti-social type disorder and a conduct disorder, but had no violence on his record prior to that fateful day at the Glendennings.

"In speaking about your crime, you are adamant that your role in the matter was accepting to rob, with a known criminal, innocent victims who would be in their home," the parole board said.

Todd Matchett, pictured here in 1987 at age 18, changed his plea to guilty of second-degree murder on the third day of his joint trial with Scott Curtis and Allan Legere. (CBC)

Curtis told the board he tied Glendenning's feet and helped carry him into the house.

"You did not attempt to stop accomplices who beat the couple, one of whom died," the board noted.

"As well as losing her husband at your hands, and enduring horrendous indignities," Glendenning's wife was "left both physically and emotionally traumatized," it added.

The community was also "extremely affected."

Manipulative troublemaker

For several years, Curtis showed little motivation to change and "adhered to the 'Con Code,'" according to the parole board, but he eventually completed a series of programs dealing with anger, emotions, education, living skills and employment skills.

After programming, Curtis accepted that while he "may not have actually committed the violence," he was "present and equally responsible."

Curtis was initially granted day parole in September of 2001. The National Parole Board noted at that time that he had been considered a troublemaker and manipulative but had started changing his ways in 1995.

Concerns surfaced regarding his marital relationship, associates, substance use, alleged criminal behaviour and lack of co-operation with his case management team, however, and his release to a Saint John halfway house was revoked in 2003. He was sent to Springhill Institution in Nova Scotia.

Releases revoked, denied

During a subsequent review, Curtis told the board he became "overconfident to the point of being cocky" when released in the community and decided not to communicate openly with his parole officer.

"That was to your detriment," the board said.

It denied Curtis's requests for full parole in 2004 and day parole in 2005.

In 2006, the parole board authorized two unescorted temporary absences for "personal development," but became concerned about his "inability to appropriately deal with stressors" and withdrew its support.

'Commendable progress'

He was granted day parole in November of 2007 and ordered not to associate with people reasonably known to be involved in criminal activity.

Curtis had no problems finding and keeping employment, according to the parole documents. He "quickly and easily" moved from the construction industry to the food industry.

But his parole was revoked again in August 2008 for similar reasons. Three months later, the suspension was cancelled and he was granted day parole for another six months.

"The Board is of the opinion that continuation of your day parole would facilitate your reintegration as a law-abiding citizen and would serve the public's best interest at this time. Furthermore, the Board concludes that you do not present an undue risk to society under the proposed release plan."

Curtis was granted full parole on July 10, 2009.

A psychological assessment deemed his risk of reoffending was in the low-moderate range. "You appear to have made commendable progress," the report said.