Man convicted in 1971 double murder case dies at Joyceville Institution

Joyceville Institution, located on Highway 15 just outside of Kingston, is a medium security institution that can house up to 752 inmates, according to the Correctional Service of Canada. Kingstonist file photo.

A man convicted in a gruesome 1971 double murder case involving a six-year-old boy and his uncle has died while in custody.

Lorne Lafrance, an inmate at Joyceville Institution convicted of non-capital murder in 1971, died at the age of 75, according to the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC). Lafrance died on Monday, Nov. 28, 2022, and had begun serving “an indeterminate sentence” since November 4, 1971, CSC said, noting Lafrance’s next of kin had been notified of his death.

According to widespread reports at the time, Lafrance was one of two people charged with the murders of Leslie Molson, 39, and David Witt, 6, as well as the attempted murder of the six-year-old’s mother, Eleanor Witt. According to reports from the Ottawa Journal, Lafrance, who was 23 at the time, and Catherine Delarge, 17 at the time, carried out the “axe deaths” of the boy and his uncle in Alice Township, near Pembroke, Ont. The Ottawa Journal also reported that Eleanor Witt testified to having been tortured for over two weeks before her son was killed, and that “Mrs. Witt is the mother of” Lafrance’s accomplice “Catherine Delarge by a previous marriage.”

While Lafrance pled not guilty to the charges, he was convicted by a jury the same day of the trial began, November 1, 1971.

“As in all cases involving the death of an inmate, the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) will review the circumstances,” CSC said in a press release.

“CSC policy requires that the police and the coroner be notified.”

Joyceville Institution, located on Highway 15 just outside of Kingston, is a medium security institution with a capacity for 752 inmates.

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