Twenty-four-year-old Charles Edward Palmer was shot in the head and chest with a .22 calibre rifle at his family cottage on Bobs Lake near Minden, Ontario. He bled to death. Several rifles, a gold bracelet and his wallet were stolen.
Palmer, who lived on Shier Drive in Scarborough, was found lying dead on a couch on March 26, 1983, by his mother and sister. They had driven to the cottage after her son failed to show up for work at the family electrical automotive business.
Ontario Provincial Police investigated the case, as Palmer was murdered within their jurisdiction even though he was a Toronto resident. Although they had a sketch of a suspect, they refused to release it to the public saying it would “harm the investigation”.
Palmer headed to the family cottage alone on March 23, intending to attend a meeting at the local Masonic Lodge the next day.
Police said Palmer was last seen at about 6 p.m. on March 24 at a gas station in Minden, a town 190 km outside Toronto. A younger man was with him in his light blue 1979 Oldsmobile Delta 88. Police scoured the area of the cottage on foot and by helicopter looking for the missing car.
Although the petition was signed by about 200,000 people, it did not affect change to the Dangerous Offenders Act.
Palmer’s car crossed over the Rainbow Bridge to the United States at about 4:30 p.m. on March 25 and was later found abandoned in the southern U.S. Seventeen-year-old Gary St. Laurent was arrested near Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, on March 30 and charged with possession of stolen property. St. Laurent and another youth had tried to use Palmer’s credit card to pay for a meal, but the second youth escaped before police arrived.
Toronto native 18-year-old Kevin Joseph Humphrey was arrested eight days later after fleeing the country, and charged with first-degree murder, police said.
In May 1983, Palmer’s uncle, Leslie Crisp, began a petition campaign calling for stiffer penalties against violent criminals. In June 1982, Crisp’s daughter’s fiancé was kicked to death by a group of youths outside a bar, and with the death of Palmer, Crisp said he needed to take action. Although the petition was signed by about 200,000 people, it did not affect change to the Dangerous Offenders Act.
Information regarding the murder would be made public in 2008 when Humphrey appealed his sentence for a vicious knife attack on another man.
On July 18, 1983, the preliminary inquiry into the murder trial began. On July 19, Provincial Court Judge P.E. Barker imposed a publication ban. Information regarding the murder would be made public in 2008 when Humphrey appealed his sentence for a vicious knife attack on another man.
Humphrey had committed several crimes prior to murdering Palmer, including prostitution, theft, possession of stolen property, use of stolen credit cards, and possession of narcotics. During the trial, he alleged that Palmer was a violent rapist who had attacked a number of young men living the same area as Humphrey.
Humphrey claimed that after a friend had been raped by Palmer, he went with Palmer to the cottage where, after using drugs and getting into an altercation, he shot Palmer twice. Although Humphrey claimed he had gone with Palmer to confront and not kill him, evidence showed Humphrey had to reload the rifle after the first shot.
Humphrey was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to life imprisonment with no change of parole for 10 years.
Humphrey was released on day parole in 1996 and committed various crimes over the next number of years. He was “unlawfully at large” (breached parole) and deemed a moderate risk for both general and violent recidivism. On October 16, 2006, he stabbed and slit the throat of a man named Richard Kent, a fellow crack user. On December 14, 2007, he was acquitted of the charge of attempted murder but convicted of aggravated assault. Humphrey was 43 at the time of this attack, and was still on parole for killing Palmer.
Murder Village Map
Name: Charles Edward Palmer
Date of Death: March 24, 1983
Manner of Death: Shot
Location: Bobs Lake, Minden Ontario
Suspect Name: Kevin Joseph Humphrey
Conviction & Sentence: Second-degree murder, parole eligibility in 10 years