After a year in a high-security re-entry facility, Montreal hit-man Jean-Claude “The Fly” Gauthier has now been transferred to a halfway house. There he will be able to serve the remaining 5 months of his 22-year homicide sentence on day parole.
This recent move is believed to be on order from the Canadian government in an effort to reduce the size of the Canadian prison population amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
Gauthier, 68, was found guilty of murder at a trial in 1997 and pleaded guilty to a 1993 manslaughter charge. In a police interview, he admitted killing 42 men.
Gauthier was affiliated to Montreal’s Irish mob, known as the West End Gang. He also worked directly for West End Gang drugs boss Ray Desfossed.
On April 12, 1987, Gauthier called drug dealer James Hainey to arrange to meet. When Hainey drove up, Gauthier shot him and his dog. There was little evidence found at the scene, but detectives did find a matchbook with two phone numbers written inside along with the words “La Mouche” (“The Fly”).
Detectives linked the phone numbers to Gauthier but the investigation didn’t really go anywhere until, in 1992, an informant came forward telling police that Gauthier killed Hainey.
Although Gauthier was questioned by police, the investigation stalled again. Gauthier said he couldn’t explain why the words “the fly” were written on a matchbox alongside his phone numbers.
On October 14, 1992, Gauthier and two other men went to Laval, a Montreal suburb, to collect a debt as part of their loansharking business. When the debtor refused to pay, Gauthier killed him.
In 1993, Gauthier was sentenced to eight years after pleading guilty to manslaughter in the Laval case.
The following year, in March 1994, detectives received a tip that Gauthier was ready to confess to Hainey’s murder. He was in fact, ready to confess to a lot more. Gauthier claimed to have taken part in 34 contract killings and 8 revenge killings.
Having never offered a full confession, the authorities kept meeting with him to try and work out a deal. At the fourth meeting in October 1994, Gauthier backed out and said he no longer wanted to talk.
On October 16, 1996, Gauthier was eventually charged with Hainey’s murder and the following year was convicted of first-degree murder.
Once the verdict was read, it is reported that Gauthier said “I’ll be old when I get out,” once he heard his fate was to be a 25-year sentence.
A summary of the decision to move Gauthier states that even though they have had recommendations to release offenders from halfway houses since mid-March, that only applies for non-violent offenders. The parole board noted in their decision that Gauthier’s case involved “extremely serious criminality that requires prudence. The board does note however, that your gradual return to the community is unfolding in a positive way.”
Another parole board hearing has been set for six months.