RICHMOND (NEWS 1130) – A Richmond woman who worked tirelessly to get her innocent Ontario brother out of jail for a murder he didn’t commit is exhausted but also elated.
Denise Kowalski is still absorbing the news that another man has been definitively named the murderer of nine-year-old Christine Jessop in 1984.
She was living in North Vancouver when her brother, Guy Paul Morin, was first charged in the murder, back in April of 1985. He was acquitted in 1986.
He was then retried in 1992 and that trial lasted nine months. The jury found him guilty.
Toronto Police announced Thursday that an acquaintance of the Jessop family, Calvin Hoover, would have been charged with the girl’s murder, given his DNA was identified on Jessop’s underwear. Hoover died by suicide in 2015.
“It’s finally come to closure. Science saved him. I’m so happy it has come to a rest,” says Kowalski.
In 1992, Morin’s murder trial was the longest in Canadian history.
“That case we figured cost more money than any other case in the darn courts in this country — for nothing. It’s so sad that all the lives that changed because of that,” says Kowalski, who then dedicated her life to free her brother.
“I took almost a year off work — leave without pay — to help with petitions and to get the justice system changed.”
Eighteen months later, Morin was granted bail. In 1995, DNA officially eliminated him from being a suspect.
The 1997 Kaufman Commission noted two people lied on the stand. One was Sgt. Michael Michalowsky, who was charged with perjury. The charge was stayed in 1991. The other was prisoner Robert May, who lied about hearing a confession from Morin.
Kowalski is still angry they didn’t serve time in jail like her brother.
“It doesn’t matter how old these cases are. It’s proven they did wrong. I know they apologized but they shouldn’t have walked free.”
For a time, Kowalski took her experience with her brother and applied it to other people who were trying to prove their innocence.
“I helped a couple of cases in BC, like Thomas Sophonow. I only did it for a short while, because I found it stressful.”
Kowalski says she communicates with her brother through her mother, who is turning 98 years old. Her mother still lives in the same home, which was next door to the Jessop’s home at the time of Christine’s murder.