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Toope killer gives up his “last chance” by not showing up in court

A man charged with impaired driving causing the death of his friend in LaSalle has failed to show up in court despite being offered a “last chance” by a judge earlier this year.

Ryan Patrick McPhee, 32, whose criminal record includes a second-degree murder conviction for his role, as a youth, in the 1995 deaths of Beaconsfield residents Frank and Jocelyne Toope, was granted the conditional release in May, by Quebec Court Judge Linda Despots, despite violating two previous releases while accused in the impaired driving case.

Despots referred to the release as “a last chance” and McPhee’s own lawyer, Stephan Beaudin, warned him that even a minor breach, “drinking a beer on a weekend, for example,” would see him back behind bars.

As part of the third chance McPhee was given on May 3, he was required to reside at Freedom House, a therapy centre in Lavaltrie. At a court appearance in June before Quebec Court Judge Louise Bourdeau, the agreement was that he would complete Freedom House’s therapy program by Monday, Nov. 12.

Bourdeau ordered that McPhee be present for a court date on Oct. 9. The date was scheduled as a chance for lawyers on both sides of the impaired driving case to declare how they planned to proceed during a preliminary inquiry, scheduled to begin Jan. 22. Bourdeau ordered McPhee be present on Oct. 9, “just to see how things are going (with the therapy),” but he failed to show up and a bench warrant was issued for his arrest.

The Gazette has learned that, following his last court appearance in June, McPhee was asked to leave Freedom House after he became a problem for staff during the summer. He was required to report to the police when he was expelled from the therapy centre, but apparently failed to do so.

“Thank you for the chance you are giving me,” McPhee told Despots following the emotional release hearing back in May. He had talked about his involvement in the murders of Frank Toope, a 75-year-old Anglican minister, and his wife Jocelyn, 70, who were killed inside their home during a botched robbery. Speaking about the crime for the first time in adult court, McPhee said he and the two other youths convicted in the double murder thought the couple had left on vacation. He admitted striking Frank Toope with a baseball bat, but said he fled before either victim was killed.

During the hearing in May, McPhee attributed his criminal record to a problem with alcohol consumption that began just before he took part in the Toope killings.

In his current case, McPhee is charged with being above the legal blood-alcohol limit while he was behind the wheel of a car that crashed into a tractor trailer on Labatt Ave. in LaSalle on Dec. 1, 2010. His friend Derek Dion, a passenger in the car, died on impact. It was raining heavily that night and the windshield wipers on the car were broken. McPhee was charged with impaired driving causing death, dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death and criminal negligence. He was granted his first conditional release on Feb, 24, 2011, but was arrested months later and charged with assault in a conjugal violence case.

He was released a second time after agreeing to seek therapy at a Montreal-area therapy centre that handles three times as many clients as Freedom House. He was asked to leave the Montreal-area centre after, officials alleged, he threatened another client with a fork. He had also failed to report to a Montreal police station, to sign a register on a weekly basis. McPhee attributed that breach to anxiety attacks.

During the hearing in May, Clément Proulx, a court liaison for Freedom House, proposed that McPhee might have a better chance at rehabilitation at Freedom House because, with less clients, staff could pay more attention to his addiction.

“I want to change for real,” McPhee told Despots before she granted him the third release. “If it’s another six months of therapy, I don’t really want to do it, but if I have to do it to function in a society and have all the things that people around me have, I am ready to do it.”

The Montreal police were not able to comment about McPhee’s case on Monday

3 comments

  1. Sounds like a psychopath who is not to be trusted. He needs to do some serious time to get the message he cannot always get out of a situation by lying to naive and gullible judges.

  2. Last chance? Really? Shouldn’t that be last, last, last, last chance…..How many chances has he had already! Enough with protecting the under 18. Names should be posted like other criminals. He is a criminal and murderer of those poor innocent people, the Toope’s, who did nothing to deserve to be killed by this low-life and his low-life friends. They should have all been locked up and the key thrown away. When is our justice system going to wake up and follow you do the crime you pay the time. Heck, bring back the death penalty, as he along with his other criminal murders should have been put to death for what they did. Right now our justice system is a joke. There is no fright for these losers as they know they will get off without even getting their wrist tapped!

  3. Enough … no more chances. He is a habitual offender. He is a danger to himself and society. It appears that he has no respect for the chances he’s been given. How many chances will he be given before another innocent individual loses a life?

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