How code of silence feeds deadly web of violence

Darren Montour, acting deputy chief of Six Nations police, speaks after a March press conference updating the probe into a triple homicide. Behind him are photos of the victims, whose bodies were found in November west of London, near Oneida Nation of the Thames. July 2018 – Accessory charges against the three suspects in the death of Dustin Monture are stayed by the Crown. The main suspect, Darryl Shawn Hill, took his own life two months earlier.Oct. 17, 2018 – The youth’s murder charge in the Douglas Hill case is withdrawn by the Crown, just weeks after charges against Shipman and the two women were dismissed following an Ontario Court preliminary hearing.Nov. 3, 2018 – The bodies of Melissa Trudi Miller, 37, who was seven months pregnant with a baby boy at the time of her death, Alan Porter, 33, and Michael Jamieson, 32, all from Six Nations, are found with an abandoned stolen grey pickup truck at the opposite end of Bodkin Road from where Douglas Hill’s body was discovered in 2017. Miller had been Douglas Hill’s common-law wife at the time of his death.Nov. 23, 2018 – Kirsten Bomberry, 36, of Six Nations, is arrested and charged with three counts of accessory after the fact in the triple homicide. She was denied bail in February and remains in custody.March 7, 2019 – Police announce the arrests of two men and one woman, all from Six Nations, in the triple homicide. Court documents indicate the deaths may have happened on or about Oct. 30 at Six Nations, “and elsewhere,” five days before the discovery of the bodies.Shipman, 36, is charged with three counts of second-degree murder in the deaths of all three victims; Thomas Bomberry, 30, is charged with two counts of second-degree murder in the deaths of Miller and Porter; and Jamie Beaver, 32, faces one count of second-degree murder in the death of Miller. Both Shipman and Beaver were in custody at the time of their arrests. Police won’t say if there is any relationship to the other two unsolved homicides.Shipman has a history of stealing vehicles and impaired driving. He was charged with attempted murder in 2014 after a man was stabbed in the temple. After a year on the lam, Shipman pleaded guilty to aggravated assault. He was arrested the day before the three bodies were found after a car was stolen and police were involved in a chase. He was charged with theft and disqualified driving.Thomas Bomberry has faced charges for car theft, assault, breaking and entering, drug possession and disqualified driving. He was facing a charge for stealing a vehicle in Burlington last June.Beaver already had charges for theft, possession of stolen property, arson, possession of break-in instruments and failing to comply with her probation order. She was arrested for driving while under suspension on the day after the bodies were discovered.All three return to court on May 9. “We can see how certain groups can simulate and emulate the methods of criminal organizations, even if they are involved in illicit activity and prepared to use violence to achieve their ends,” he said. “In this case, you have simply a cloistered community where the main players keep popping up in extreme.”The adage in the police world is that authorities deal with one per cent of the population 99 per cent of the time. But, Arntfield added, that it’s “unusual” to see “a handful of players” involved in so many cases.He said that rural crime needs to be its own area of study because it is different that the urban models used for research. “Rural criminal groups tend to organize somewhat differently and to not necessarily be as regimented,” he said, which makes it difficult to prosecute them as criminal organizations under the law.What could be happening at Six Nations is a “rural crime syndicate,” and perhaps more than one, which is often familial and multi-generational.Dumping the bodies in the same vicinity may follow a “least effort principle” where criminals, who are creatures of habit, return to old haunts where they know they can safely hide evidence, Arntfield said.The police still hope people will come forward with more tips as the prosecution moves forward. They wouldn’t say if there would be other arrests.“We’re trying to solve this for the betterment of everyone here, including those families of the accused. They’re community members as well,”  Montour said.jsims@postmedia.comsgamble@postmedia.comCHRONOLOGY OF VIOLENCEFeb. 21, 2017 – Dustin Monture, 27, found unconscious on the front lawn of his Six Nations home. Initially, witnesses thought he had been beaten. Once he was rushed to hospital, it was discovered that he’d been shot behind his ear. He died at hospital. Two men and a woman, all from Six Nations, are charged with accessory to murder. Named as murder suspect, but never arrested or charged, is Darryl Shawn Hill.June 24, 2017 – Douglas Hill, 48, disappears from his Brantford home.Aug. 17, 2017 – Douglas Hill’s body is found in a shallow grave on Bodkin Road in Middlesex County, 100 kilometres from Six Nations and just outside of Oneida of the Thames First Nation. He had been beaten to death with the claw end of a hammer.July 12 to Aug. 1, 2018 – A female teenager from Six Nations is charged with second-degree murder in Douglas Hill’s death. Three other people – two women and Nicholas Joel Shipman – are arrested and charged with accessory to murder. Also troubling was the involvement of a female youth who was charged with murder in Douglas Hill’s death. Her identity is protected by the Youth Criminal Justice Act. Her charges were dropped last fall before the three bodies were discovered.Six Nations Police acting deputy chief Darren Montour referred to a “so-called subculture” of crime, and of people “we know who they are from repeat offences that we’ve arrested them before. “Crime, especially violent crime, is not new to Canadian Indigenous communities, places of widespread abuses, usually with deep roots back to the cultural atrocities of residential schools and elimination of language and customs.While First Nations people make up only five per cent of the country’s population, they represent 27 per cent of inmates in the federal prison system.Add in a distrust of authority, both within the community and outside, and it creates the ideal conditions to stop the case in its tracks.But given the stakes, perhaps because of the number of dead and how deeply Six Nations has been traumatized, there has been co-operation from the people who live at Six Nations to solve the homicides.Both OPP Det. Insp. Peter Liptrott, the major case manager, and Montour said at the recent news conference that the community has been helpful when the police have been asking questions and making public appeals for information.“We’ve been welcomed here,” Liptrott said. “We’ve been welcomed on Oneida. We have been working with our policing partners hand in hand, that is absolutely not a reason why it’s taken four months to get here today.”Montour, who grew up on Six Nations and has deep roots with people, said he has seen people stepping up to help.“My dealings with the community have been totally positive,” he said. “Of course, there’s going to be people out there that are going to have a negative opinion about it, which is normal in any investigation, and there are going to be people out there who don’t like us.“That’s understandable. But on the other side there are people that realize we’re needed here and appreciate the efforts that we’re putting forth.”But both officers said the investigation has been both “complex” and “complicated,” requiring enormous police resources from the OPP, Six Nations and Oneida.Western University professor Michael Arntfield, a former police officer, suggested that the cases could be related and that a loose criminal organization – not an established group with a definition like the mafia or a biker gang – could be at the root of the crimes. OHSWEKEN – At the back of the community hall, the grieving families of three dead Six Nations residents whose bodies were found in November on a rural road in Middlesex County were quiet and respectful when the police announced last week that suspects had been arrested in the deaths.They heard that the people taken into custody and charged with second-degree murder were some of their own.The arrests brought some relief in a case that is drenched in sadness. For a few minutes after the March 7 news conference at The Gathering Place by Grand, members of the families of Alan Porter and Michael Jamieson stood together, wanting to publicly thank the police for their dogged investigation.“We’ve lost a lot,” said Amber Porter, Alan’s sister-in-law. “Not just us but this community. We’re all related.”Her comment sums up what’s been a devastating time for the Indigenous community south of Brantford, the largest First Nations community by population in Canada.While a quick drive along the main roads of the community show real strides toward economic prosperity, the community of 15,000 has been plagued by a persistent crime wave and shocked by five homicides, two of them unsolved, since 2017.While there were arrests in the 2017 deaths of Dustin Monture, 27, and Douglas Hill, 48, the prosecutions came to a halt before heading to trial.The most recent deaths of Melissa Trudi Miller, 37, Porter, 33, and Jamieson, 32, whose bodies were found Nov. 3 just outside of Oneida of the Thames First Nation southwest of London, 100 kilometres from Six Nations and not far from where Hill’s body was discovered a year earlier, have heightened the clang of the alarm bells signaling something deeply troubling happening within Six Nations.“It seems like here at Six Nations, you can get away with killing anybody – as long as you don’t say anything,” said one man who asked to be identified only as a community member.“People seem to clam up. I think they’re afraid of a group of people.”The man said some people don’t have a lot of faith in Six Nations police. “If someone came forward with information, how do you know the police won’t tell the wrong person? Who do you trust?”A quick review of the dead and the accused suggests some troubling connections. Some have lengthy criminal histories. Nicholas Shipman, 36, was charged with accessory in Douglas Hill’s death before the charges were dropped at an Ontario Court preliminary hearing. He is now charged with three counts of second-degree murder in the deaths of Miller, Porter and Jamieson.Both he and co-accused Jamie Beaver, 32, who faces a single second-degree murder charge, were in custody at the time of their arrests in connection with the three deaths.Victim Melissa Miller, 37, one of the three found dead in November, was seven months pregnant when she was slain. Douglas Hill had been her common-law spouse before his death. Douglas Hill Michael Arntfield

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