Mysterious Bruce Peninsula murder trial begins at last

Southern Ontario’s Bruce Peninsula, just southeast of Manitoulin Island with Georgian Bay on the east and Lake Huron on the west. Jackson’s Cove is in Eastnor on the east or Georgian Bay shoreline: a Canadian variation on the country of Ernest Hemingway’s Big Two-Hearted River stories.

Almost three years have passed since L. Frank Bunting first posted his provocative “MURDER ON THE BRUCE PENINSULA .. something going on we don’t know about?” (January 31, 2008).  And it has been more than a year and a half since we counterweights editors added our own update, “Murder on the Bruce Peninsula revisited … again” (June 4, 2009) — where  we observed: “In Ontario today …  the rule of law often seems to move at what can only strike we ordinary citizens and taxpayers as an astoundingly glacial pace.”

To review just the facts ma’m quickly, Dr. Henry Janssen was found shot to death in his red Chevy pickup truck, on Scenic Caves Road, in Ontario’s idyllic Bruce Peninsula community of Jackson’s Cove, just after 9 PM on January 22, 2008. Only two days later his friend and neighbour, retired corporate executive Allan Wayne Powney, was charged with his murder. Powney spent three months in jail before being granted bail.

At the height of the summer you can rent this cottage at Jackson’s Cove on Georgian Bay for about $1500 a week. Falling in love with the area in places like this, the Janssens and the Powneys had moved to the neighbourhood year round. What was it that destroyed their idyllic retreat?

Wayne Powney has been out on bail since May 2008. A preliminary inquiry in 2009 found enough evidence to send him to trial. Now, finally: “A jury is to be picked [this coming Monday], January 10 [2011] and his murder trial is scheduled to commence the next day … Visiting Crown attorney Mike Murdoch said …  in an interview [in Owen Sound] that the trial should take about six weeks … Justice Robert Thompson is presiding over the case. Details … can’t be published until the trial is over.”

Ever since it first appeared “Murder on the Bruce Peninsula” has intermittently been one of our most widely read stories, according to various traffic measures. We will be doing our best to keep on top of its continuing twists and turns, now that some kind of resolution of the ongoing mystery is apparently in sight. (I.e., did Wayne Powney really murder his friend, and if so why?) Meanwhile, for further details and more deep background CLICK HERE, or see the Crime Stories category to the right on this page.

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