Aurore!  The Mystery of the Martyred Child
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[ Gare du CANADA,

(Criminal Assizes).


The Honourable Justice L. P. Pelletier, and the Jury




This fourteenth day of April, nineteen hundred and twenty, appeared Marguerite Leboeuf of St. Jean Deschaillons, aged fifteen (15) years, Crown witness who, after having sworn on the Holy Gospels, doth depose and say:

Examined by Maître FITZPATRICK, K. C., on behalf of the Crown:

Q.- You will speak loud enough for the jurors to hear. The Jury is there in front of you -- over there?

A.- Yes.

Q.- Where do you live?

A.- St. Jean Deschaillons.

Q.- Do you know Madame Gagnon, the accused?

A.- Yes.

Q.- You know her?

A.- ....

Q.- Is she your relative?

A.- Yes, she happens to be my aunt.

Q.- Have you ever been to her home?

A.- Yes.

Q.- When did you go there?

A.- During the last week of August.

Q.- Last August?

A.- Yes.

Q.- Why did you go there, Mademoiselle Leboeuf?

A.- It was to get out for a bit. At the same time to see how things were going.

Q.- Did you stay there very long?

A.- One week.

- 2 -

Q.- Now, you say you went to get out for a bit and to see what was happening. Recount to the jurors, will you, what happened while you were there in Madame Gagnon's house?

A.- ....The first time, the first time, I saw her beat [her] with a piece of wood.

Q.- Was this long after you arrived at the house?

A.- Not very very long.

Q.- About how long?

A.- ...Oh! I can't say.

Q.- You say that you saw her beat [her]. Who are you talking about?

A.- Pardon?

Q.- Who are you talking about? You say, "I saw her beat [her]."

A.- My aunt.

Q.- Your aunt. That's the accused?

A.- Marie-Anne.

Q.- Whom was she beating like that?

A.- Pardon?

Q.- Whom was she beating like that?

A.- Aurore.

Q.- Aurore who died?

A.- Yes.

Q.- What was she beating her with?

A.- With a piece of wood.

Q.- Now, what kind of piece of wood was she using?

A.- She took it from the wood box.

Q.- Are you able to describe the piece of wood and to say if...did you see the piece of wood?

A.- Yes.

Q.- Tell the jurors what kind of piece of wood it was.

A.- Do you mean how long it was?

Q.- Yes, tell us. I don't know.

A.- About this long... (The witness indicates about 18 inches long).

Q.- And how wide?

A.- Oh! Well, I don't remember the width.

- 3 -

Q.- How thick was it?

A.- About this thick. (The witness indicates about two inches).

Q.- Round?

A.- Yes.

Q.- You say the first time you saw her beat [her], she had a piece of wood about a foot, a foot and a half long, about half an inch thick, a foot long, a foot and a half in length?

A.- Yes. Eighteen inches.

Q.- Did you see her beat [her] at other times than that?

A.- Yes.

Q.- When?

A.- The second time I saw her beat [her] with a switch.

Q.- Was this long after the first time?

A.- Oh! Well, it was during the week I was there.

Q.- During the week you were there?


Q.- What kind of switch was she using?

A.- It was a switch she had gotten outdoors.

Q.- Is it a switch I'm showing you? That's in this pile?

A.- I don't recognize it.

Q.- Now, where was she beating her like that with the switch?

A.- On her legs.

Q.- How was she beating her?

A.- ....What do you mean?

By the COURT:

Q.- In what way?

By Maître FITZPATRICK, K. C., on behalf of the Crown:

Q.- You saw her beat [her] in what way? She was beating her in what way?

A.- .....

- 4 -

A.- ......

By the COURT:

Q.- Were they heavy or light blows?

A.- Heavy blows.

By Maître FITZPATRICK, K. C., on behalf of the Crown:

Q.- Did she beat her for long?

A.- She sent her to empty the chamber pot outdoors and she beat her all the while she was there.

Q.- Did she have marks afterwards?

A.- I didn't notice.

Q.- Now, the first time she beat her with the piece of wood, where did she beat her? Where was she hitting her?

A.- All over.

Q.- Where all over? Tell us. I don't know.

A.- On her legs. On her fingers. The first time she beat her, my aunt said -- she said Aurore had said she was putting her fingers on her bottom to get them broken?

Q.- Was she hitting hard?

A.- She was hitting hard.

OBJECTION to the question as leading.

Q.- What was her reason for beating her the first time?

A.- I don't remember.

Q.- The second time, what was her reason for beating her?

A.- I still don't remember.

Q.- Now, Mademoiselle Leboeuf, after those two times, did anything else happen?

A.- Yes.

Q.- What?

A.- She beat her again with a piece of wood while she was washing her dishes.

Q.- Was the child doing anything?

A.- Well, she said -- she said, "I'll show you how well she washes the dishes when I beat her."

Q.- She said that to you?

A.- Yes.

Q.- Now, what sort of piece of wood was she using that time?

A.- A medium piece of wood.

Q.- What do you call a medium piece of wood?

- 5 -

A.- About as long as... (The witness indicates about one foot).

Q.- And how thick?

A.- This...thick.

Q.- About one inch?

A.- Half an inch.

Q.- Half an inch thick?

A.- .....

Q.- Now, did she beat her for long?

A.- The whole time she washed her dishes.

Q.- How long did that take?

A.- I don't remember. I didn't notice the time.

Q.- Approximately, anyway?

A.- I don't know.

Q.- Did she hit her several times?

A.- I didn't count them. I can't say.

Q.- So where was she hitting her?

A.- On her bottom and on her legs.

Q.- Was she hitting her on the front of her legs? On the front or on the back of her legs?

A.- She was behind her and smacking her.

Q.- She was smacking her from behind?

A.- Yes.

Q.- That time you say the blows were given from behind.

A.- Yes.

Q.- Now that took place in the house while you were there?

A.- Yes.

OBJECTION to the question as leading.

Q.- Now, after that -- Mademoiselle, after those events took place, did you notice anything else?

A.- Yes.

Q.- What?

A.- She beat her with a stick.

Q.- How long after the dishes incident?

A.- I don't remember.

- 6 -

Q.- Was it during the week? During the week you spent there?

A.- Yes.

Q.- What stick did she use?

A.- About two inches around.

By the COURT:

Q.- About...

A.- Two inches around.

Q.- How long?

A.- This long... (The witness indicates about twenty inches).

By Maître FITZPATRICK, K. C., on behalf of the Crown:

Q.- What did she beat her for on that occasion?

A.- .....

Q.- What was her reason for beating her?

A.- I don't remember.

Q.- You don't remember?

A.- No.

Q.- Now, did she beat her for long or for not very long?

A.- Well, she hit her three times and I left. I went out behind the house, onto the wheel where they hung out the wash.

Q.- Why?

A.- Because I was afraid.

Q.- Where were those blows given?

A.- On her legs.

Q.- Was the child standing up or sitting down?

A.- Sitting down.

Q.- Did she move at all while receiving those blows?

A.- She was saying, "Ow." She was holding her knee with her hand. She was crying out, "Ow."

Q.- When the child was crying out "Ow" like that, would her mother say anything in reply? What was being said?

A.- Well, I don't remember.

Q.- Now, did you see anything else that happened, Mademoiselle?

A.- Yes.

- 7 -

Q.- What?

A.- I was curling my hair once. My aunt took the curling iron. She heated it up on the lamp and after that she took the hair on Aurore's head. She was twisting [it]. After she had removed the iron, her hair was burnt to a crisp.

Q.- You saw that yourself?

A.- Yes.

Q.- The type of stick you saw her beat [her] on the knee with, describe the type of stick it was, will you?

A.- A stick.

Q.- Would you mind describing the stick?

A.- Two inches around, about twenty inches long. There was something on the end.

Q.- What was on the end?

A.- They whittled shavings from this piece of wood to light the stove and that made a sort of knob at the end. She was hitting her on the knees...

Q.- Continue... What?

A.- With that stick.

Q.- Now, during the week you spent in the house of the accused, you were able to see where Aurore slept?

A.- Well, I didn't see her in bed, but they told me that she had....

Q.- No, not what you were told -- what you yourself saw. Do you know where she would sleep? In which room she would sleep?

A.- She slept upstairs.

Q.- Were there several rooms upstairs?

A.- It was in the attic. At the time it wasn't divided up.

Q.- Are you certain she slept upstairs?

A.- Yes.

Q.- Did you go up to that room upstairs?

A.- Yes.

Q.- You went up?

A.- .....

Q.- Tell the jurors, will you, what you saw? What did you see upstairs?

- 8 -

By the COURT:

Q.- In Aurore's room?

A.- It wasn't a room. It was an attic. The little girls and the little boys slept all together, not in the same bed however.

By Maître FITZPATRICK, K. C., on behalf of the Crown:

Q.- Were you able to see where she slept?

A.- .....

Q.- Do you know where in that room she slept, when Aurore was in the attic?

A.- She slept on a little bed.

Q.- What do you call a little bed?

A.- Oh! Well...

By the COURT:

Q.- What was that little bed like?

A.- It was just her length.

By Maître FITZPATRICK, K. C., on behalf of the Crown:

Q.- Was it a raised bed?

A.- Yes.

Q.- Was it furnished?

A.- No, she didn't have a straw mattress. She didn't have a straw mattress or sheets or covers -- just a pillow.

Q.- Is that all you saw, Mademoiselle Leboeuf?

A.- .....

Q.- Is that all?

A.- Yes.

Cross-examined by Maître FRANCOEUR, K. C., on behalf of the accused:

Q.- How old are you, Mademoiselle?

A. Fifteen (15) years old.

Q. You are the daughter of Monsieur Leboeuf from Deschaillon?

A. Of Monsieur Arthur Leboeuf.

Q. Of Monsieur Arthur Leboeuf from Deschaillon?

A. .....

Q. So would you mind saying at whose request you went to visit your aunt? Was it at your father's request?

- 9 -

A. .....They invited me and I went.

Q. Who invited you?

A. My uncle and my aunt.

Q. Your uncle, Télesphore Gagnon, and the accused here?

A. Yes.

Q. They invited you to go round to their home?

A. Yes.

Q. Were they the ones who invited you, or were they the ones who told your parents to send you?

A. I beg your pardon?

Q. Was it your uncle and your aunt who invited you personally, or did they tell your parents you were invited to go see

A. ....

Q. You don't understand the question?

A. No.

Q. Who asked you to go to the home of the accused? Was it the accused or your uncle?

A. Both.

Q. So when did they invite you?

By the COURT: At what time?


Source: ANQ, TP999, 1960-01-3623, 1B 014 01-04-004B-01, Cour du banc du roi, assises criminelles, district de Québec, Déposition de Marguerite Leboeuf, procès de Marie-Anne Houde pour meurtre, April 14, 1920, 9.

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