Police knew informants in Perrin slaying were liars

News Apr 14, 2016 by Steve Arnold The Hamilton Spectator

A senior detective has admitted police charged two of the men accused of killing Beverley Perrin despite knowing the charges were supported by information from a network of "bare-faced liars."

Staff-Sgt. Steve Hrab, one of the detectives who spent almost 18 months on the case, said the decision to charge Chris McCullough and Nick Nossey, along with two others, was made despite serious doubts about the people who identified the men.

McCullough and Nossey are now suing Hamilton police for $10 million, alleging malicious prosecution and violation of their Charter rights.

"We knew we were getting all kinds of lies and stories from these people, but we were just going along trying to pick out the truth," Hrab said.

At the centre of the web of deceit were Terry Pearce and his 16-year-old girlfriend Tammy Waltham and a friend named Steve Clarke. Pearce was the first person to be arrested in the crime after being identified as the man who drove Perrin's car from the crime-ridden apartment buildings on Grandville Avenue.

He and Waltham were questioned repeatedly about the other men in the car and over the months pointed to several innocent people as looking like the other suspects.

Police spent months tracking down those men, only to eliminate them from the pool of suspects.

Sometimes, Hrab said, Pearce and Waltham's stories changed by the hour — as when Pearce at first denied getting the tires off Perrin's car, only to reverse that claim an hour later.

With time, police determined Pearce and Waltham were lying to protect Clarke. After Clarke was arrested, McCullough's name emerged and finally that of Nossey.

Before moving on the final arrests, however, Hrab said police consulted with then-assistant Crown attorney Toni Skarica because of Pearce, Waltham and Clarke's records of deceit.

Lawyer Neil Jones, acting for the plaintiffs, hammered at the decision to arrest McCullough and later Nossey, arguing that "after McCullough was arrested, the liars continued to lie. The three people on whose evidence you relied continued to lie."

Jones, who had been cross-examining Hrab for two days, also hinted some potential suspects weren't properly investigated once police became focused on Nossey and McCullough.

One such suspect, a man named Mitch Petrolia, was identified by Pearce as the fourth man in Perrin's car, but police dropped him from the list after he voluntarily went to be questioned.

Where Jones alleged, "This guy just fell off the radar, he fell out of the picture," Hrab countered, "I never felt we had grounds to arrest him."

Perrin, a long-serving elementary school teacher, disappeared Feb. 13, 1989, from the parking lot of an east Hamilton grocery store where she had gone to buy Valentine's Day candy for her class after visiting her dying husband in hospital.

Her partly frozen body was found two days in a farm field in Stoney Creek.

Of the four men eventually charged with the crime, Pearce and Clarke pleaded guilty to reduced charges and served prison terms. McCullough was convicted of second-degree murder and served nine years before that conviction was overturned by the Ontario Court of Appeal

based partly on Waltham and another witness recanting their testimony.

Nossey was acquitted, but spent 19 months in jail waiting for that verdict.

The trial continues Thursday.

sarnold@thespec.com

905-526-3496 | @arnoldatTheSpec

Police knew informants in Perrin slaying were liars

News Apr 14, 2016 by Steve Arnold The Hamilton Spectator

A senior detective has admitted police charged two of the men accused of killing Beverley Perrin despite knowing the charges were supported by information from a network of "bare-faced liars."

Staff-Sgt. Steve Hrab, one of the detectives who spent almost 18 months on the case, said the decision to charge Chris McCullough and Nick Nossey, along with two others, was made despite serious doubts about the people who identified the men.

McCullough and Nossey are now suing Hamilton police for $10 million, alleging malicious prosecution and violation of their Charter rights.

"We knew we were getting all kinds of lies and stories from these people, but we were just going along trying to pick out the truth," Hrab said.

At the centre of the web of deceit were Terry Pearce and his 16-year-old girlfriend Tammy Waltham and a friend named Steve Clarke. Pearce was the first person to be arrested in the crime after being identified as the man who drove Perrin's car from the crime-ridden apartment buildings on Grandville Avenue.

He and Waltham were questioned repeatedly about the other men in the car and over the months pointed to several innocent people as looking like the other suspects.

Police spent months tracking down those men, only to eliminate them from the pool of suspects.

Sometimes, Hrab said, Pearce and Waltham's stories changed by the hour — as when Pearce at first denied getting the tires off Perrin's car, only to reverse that claim an hour later.

With time, police determined Pearce and Waltham were lying to protect Clarke. After Clarke was arrested, McCullough's name emerged and finally that of Nossey.

Before moving on the final arrests, however, Hrab said police consulted with then-assistant Crown attorney Toni Skarica because of Pearce, Waltham and Clarke's records of deceit.

Lawyer Neil Jones, acting for the plaintiffs, hammered at the decision to arrest McCullough and later Nossey, arguing that "after McCullough was arrested, the liars continued to lie. The three people on whose evidence you relied continued to lie."

Jones, who had been cross-examining Hrab for two days, also hinted some potential suspects weren't properly investigated once police became focused on Nossey and McCullough.

One such suspect, a man named Mitch Petrolia, was identified by Pearce as the fourth man in Perrin's car, but police dropped him from the list after he voluntarily went to be questioned.

Where Jones alleged, "This guy just fell off the radar, he fell out of the picture," Hrab countered, "I never felt we had grounds to arrest him."

Perrin, a long-serving elementary school teacher, disappeared Feb. 13, 1989, from the parking lot of an east Hamilton grocery store where she had gone to buy Valentine's Day candy for her class after visiting her dying husband in hospital.

Her partly frozen body was found two days in a farm field in Stoney Creek.

Of the four men eventually charged with the crime, Pearce and Clarke pleaded guilty to reduced charges and served prison terms. McCullough was convicted of second-degree murder and served nine years before that conviction was overturned by the Ontario Court of Appeal

based partly on Waltham and another witness recanting their testimony.

Nossey was acquitted, but spent 19 months in jail waiting for that verdict.

The trial continues Thursday.

sarnold@thespec.com

905-526-3496 | @arnoldatTheSpec

Police knew informants in Perrin slaying were liars

News Apr 14, 2016 by Steve Arnold The Hamilton Spectator

A senior detective has admitted police charged two of the men accused of killing Beverley Perrin despite knowing the charges were supported by information from a network of "bare-faced liars."

Staff-Sgt. Steve Hrab, one of the detectives who spent almost 18 months on the case, said the decision to charge Chris McCullough and Nick Nossey, along with two others, was made despite serious doubts about the people who identified the men.

McCullough and Nossey are now suing Hamilton police for $10 million, alleging malicious prosecution and violation of their Charter rights.

"We knew we were getting all kinds of lies and stories from these people, but we were just going along trying to pick out the truth," Hrab said.

At the centre of the web of deceit were Terry Pearce and his 16-year-old girlfriend Tammy Waltham and a friend named Steve Clarke. Pearce was the first person to be arrested in the crime after being identified as the man who drove Perrin's car from the crime-ridden apartment buildings on Grandville Avenue.

He and Waltham were questioned repeatedly about the other men in the car and over the months pointed to several innocent people as looking like the other suspects.

Police spent months tracking down those men, only to eliminate them from the pool of suspects.

Sometimes, Hrab said, Pearce and Waltham's stories changed by the hour — as when Pearce at first denied getting the tires off Perrin's car, only to reverse that claim an hour later.

With time, police determined Pearce and Waltham were lying to protect Clarke. After Clarke was arrested, McCullough's name emerged and finally that of Nossey.

Before moving on the final arrests, however, Hrab said police consulted with then-assistant Crown attorney Toni Skarica because of Pearce, Waltham and Clarke's records of deceit.

Lawyer Neil Jones, acting for the plaintiffs, hammered at the decision to arrest McCullough and later Nossey, arguing that "after McCullough was arrested, the liars continued to lie. The three people on whose evidence you relied continued to lie."

Jones, who had been cross-examining Hrab for two days, also hinted some potential suspects weren't properly investigated once police became focused on Nossey and McCullough.

One such suspect, a man named Mitch Petrolia, was identified by Pearce as the fourth man in Perrin's car, but police dropped him from the list after he voluntarily went to be questioned.

Where Jones alleged, "This guy just fell off the radar, he fell out of the picture," Hrab countered, "I never felt we had grounds to arrest him."

Perrin, a long-serving elementary school teacher, disappeared Feb. 13, 1989, from the parking lot of an east Hamilton grocery store where she had gone to buy Valentine's Day candy for her class after visiting her dying husband in hospital.

Her partly frozen body was found two days in a farm field in Stoney Creek.

Of the four men eventually charged with the crime, Pearce and Clarke pleaded guilty to reduced charges and served prison terms. McCullough was convicted of second-degree murder and served nine years before that conviction was overturned by the Ontario Court of Appeal

based partly on Waltham and another witness recanting their testimony.

Nossey was acquitted, but spent 19 months in jail waiting for that verdict.

The trial continues Thursday.

sarnold@thespec.com

905-526-3496 | @arnoldatTheSpec