Victim's family stunned by Truscott compensation
Lynne Harper's brother said the $6.5 million being paid to Steven Truscott, the man wrongfully convicted of killing his 12-year-old sister, is "a real travesty," according to a media report.
Barry Harper told the Globe and Mail in an interview published Tuesday that the idea of the compensation is so hard to take that he does not plan on breaking the news to his father, Leslie, who is in his 90s and lives in a nursing home.
Barry Harper said he's talking to lawyers, but thinks he has little chance of getting the compensation blocked.
"I don't think there's many options open," Harper told the Globe from Ohio, where he lives.
Lynne Harper was last seen alive on June 9, 1959, when she was spotted riding on the handlebars of her friend Truscott's bicycle near the air force base where they both lived in the southwestern Ontario town of Clinton. Her body was found in a wooded area two days later, showing visible signs of strangulation and rape.
Truscott, 14 at the time, was convicted of her murder in a 15-day trial and sentenced to hang, becoming the youngest Canadian inmate on death row. His sentence was commuted to life in prison four months later, and he spent the next 10 years in jail before being released on parole at the age of 24.
He lived the next three decades under an assumed name, marrying his wife, Marlene, in a secret ceremony to avoid publicity. The couple raised three children in anonymity in Guelph, Ont., before Truscott went public in 1997 in a fight to clear his name.
Truscotts said compensation is bittersweet
On Aug. 28, 2007, the Ontario Court of Appeal acquitted Truscott, and the Ontario attorney general apologized for the "miscarriage of justice" and the 48 years Truscott lived with the stigma of being labelled a rapist and murderer.
On Monday, the province announced it was paying Truscott $6.5 million to compensate him for all he endured.
Truscott and his wife called the compensation a "final and long-awaited step in recognizing Steve's innocence," although they said the money was bittersweet.
"Although we are grateful for the freedom and stability this award will provide, we are also painfully aware that no amount of money could ever truly compensate Steven for the terror of being sentenced to hang at the age of 14, the loss of his youth or the stigma of living for almost 50 years as a convicted murderer," the Truscotts said in a written statement Monday.