Michael Veillette killed himself early yesterday morning. Hanged himself in an Ohio jail cell. He's the former Quebec man facing charges that he murdered his wife, and then burned down the house with his four young children in it. That was in January. He'd actually admitted to a reporter that he wasn't exactly innocent.
Prosecutors alleged that Veillette fatally stabbed his wife during an argument in January over a mistress, then set the blaze at their Brackenview Court home to cover up her slaying. A daughter Marguerite, 8; son, Vincent, 4; and 2-year-old twins, Mia and Jacob, died from smoke inhalation, authorities have said.
Veillette told the Enquirer in an exclusive interview that he killed his wife after she attacked him with a knife and frying pan. He claimed that she set the fire with gasoline before the assault and that he tried to save the children but couldn’t.
Well, we'll never know for sure, will we? But I guess I can now close my clipping file on this case. But the pile of clippings and bookmarks on other cases of domestic violence continue to grow. Which is what prompted today's treeware column:
If my partner were beating me, I'd think twice before calling the cops.
Especially after last week.
Two Sundays ago, three children were murdered in Merritt, B.C. Their mother, Darcie Clarke, had apparently fled to the town to get away from her husband Allan Dwayne Schoenborn.
But there was no escape.
The week before her children were killed, the court allowed her violent husband to walk after he threatened a child, as well as the principal, at his daughter's school.
B.C.'s chief judge Hugh Stansfield says that justice of the peace Fraser Hodge was not aware of Schoenborn's having repeatedly violated a peace bond that was supposed to keep him away from Clarke if he had been drinking, or if she or the police wanted him gone.
Meanwhile the RCMP says all the documents on the case were faxed to Hodge.
This, just months after Victoria businessman Peter Lee violated his court-imposed conditions after staging a car crash intended to kill his wife. He ended up returning to the family home, killing her, their 6-year old son, as well as her parents, before committing suicide.
Meanwhile, in Toronto, we had the twisted saga of Noellee Mowatt.
She's the heavily pregnant 19-year-old who was incarcerated on a material witness warrant. It was supposed to force her to testify at the trial of her putative sperm supplier, who faces eight charges including assault with a weapon, forcible confinement and failure to comply with probation.
On Friday, Mowatt, who had eluded authorities for months, was a hostile witness who left the courtroom on bail after retracting her videotaped statement that he had repeatedly attacked her.
Whether he actually gave her those cuts and bruises she showed police is yet to be determined by the courts and, in any case, is irrelevant to this column. That the alleged victim was in jail for eight days is.That's some message to women now trapped in violent relationships, who may already be hesitating to leave for fear of more violence.
I would love to stop talking about this issue but, you know, there's always something.
The thing is, it's a very complex issue. It's not as simple as saying men bad, women victims. All kinds of social, cultural, psychological and economic factors come into play. Women stick around for many reasons, including fear. A large percentage of women are killed after they separate.
Yes, I recognize that men are often victims as well, and that there aren't as many resources for them. People like these guys never let me forget that, actually.
But the facts are the facts, and women are victimized far more often than men -- and almost four times as many end up dead, sometimes with their kids.
Let's face it. Women are the ones who stay home with the kids. They have less money. They are in much less of a position to move, find decent housing where their kids can be safe, get childcare so that they can earn a living and obtain legal assistance so they can avoid ''stalking by court'' over custody and support.
Even the police acknowledge that its not strictly an enforcement issue.
It's also about fighting poverty, having a national daycare strategy, building affordable housing.
Maybe if all that were in place, those Schoenborn children would still be alive, instead of dead in a trailer home.
By the way, their father was caught today.