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1950s / Steven Truscott Case 1959
Canada's most famous criminal case of the 20th century revolved around the rape and murder of 12-year-old Lynne Harper near Clinton, Ontario in 1959. A schoolmate, 14-year-old Steven Truscott, stood trial, was convicted of murder, and sentenced to hang. The sentence was eventually reduced to life imprisonment. With some doubts lingering over the accuracy of Truscott's conviction, and sympathy because of his age, Truscott was eventually paroled from prison in 1969. He lived for many years in Guelph, Ontario under an assumed name. In 2000 he shed his alias and began to publicly clamor for a new trial. Truscott's conviction was eventually overturned in 2007 because of what the Ontario Court of Appeals perceived as "a miscarriage of justice," though the court did not formally declare him innocent. Truscott was also awarded a $6.5 million settlement by the Province of Ontario. Is Truscott a murderer? Polls generally show Canadians think he is innocent by a 3:1 ratio. However the Harper family, usually forgotten by the media and the Truscott advocates, is convinced of Truscott's guilt. The victim's older brother has publicly called the payment to Truscott a travesty. The news of it seriously affected the health of Lynne's aged father. And little Lynne Harper remains 12 years old forever...