Aurore!  The Mystery of the Martyred Child

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La Presse September 29, 1920, p. 1


The Gagnon woman thinks of her victim, but has not lost hope.


(From the correspondent of La PRESSE)
Quebec City, 29. - This afternoon, there was still no news of the fate of the Gagnon woman, condemned to hang on Friday. It is thought that the Federal Cabinet's decision in this matter will likely not be heard before late afternoon. We are told that most ministers are in favour of granting this stay of execution, and even a commutation of the death penalty. The Honourable M. Doherty, Minister of Justice, is said to oppose the motion. He believes that, with charges like those brought by the judges of Quebec City, it would be wrong to pardon those who are sentenced to death. Preparations for the hanging continue and all will be ready tomorrow morning. The Gagnon woman, who has so far done nothing but nurse her two twins, has begun to think about her victim, little Aurore Gagnon, and has expressed regret for her death.


The Gagnon woman has not yet been told that her execution will take place, and consequently, she believes her sentence will be commuted or that she will be granted a stay. Her calm borders on indifference. She has received all the solace religion can offer, but has not lost hope that she will escape her sad fate. As for the twins, born to her in prison, they are well and she takes excellent care of them.


(From the correspondent of La PRESSE)
Ottawa, 29 - The Privy Council is to re-examine the case of the Gagnon woman today. It would seem that the opinion of doctors regarding the fate of the condemned woman's children, were their mother to die, has swayed the Government to reconsider the case. The granting of a stay now seems likely. In the meantime, efforts to obtain the stay continue.


The execution of women is rare in Canada. The last woman who was hanged in our province was Cordélia Viau, who went to the gallows some 20 years ago, in Ste. Scholastique. That was a double execution, with the unfortunate woman being hanged along with her lover, Sam Parslow by name. The two criminals had slit the throat of the woman’s husband, Poirier, a woodworker in the village of St. Canut, where she lived.

The double hanging of Ste. Scholastique gave rise to regrettable incidents.

Source: Correspondant La Presse, "Quel sera le sort de la marâtre?," La Presse (Montréal), September 29, 1920.

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Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History