BOSTON -- On April 25, Gregory Despres arrived at the U.S.-Canadian border crossing at Calais, Maine, carrying a homemade sword, a hatchet, a knife, brass knuckles and a chain saw stained with what appeared to be blood. U.S. customs agents confiscated the weapons and fingerprinted Despres.
Then they let him into the United States.
The following day, a gruesome scene was discovered in Despres' hometown of Minto, New Brunswick: The decapitated body of a 74-year-old country musician named Frederick Fulton was found on Fulton's kitchen floor. The man's head was in a pillow case under a kitchen table. His common-law wife was discovered stabbed to death in a bedroom.
News of the murders immediately targeted Despres as a suspect. He was hunted down in Massachusetts and, on April 27, he was arrested and jailed on murder charges. Despres now awaits extradition.
I've traveled through the U.S.-Canadian border many times and have been asked if I carried tobacco or liquor or any expensive gifts, but I've never been asked if I had any bloody chain saws in my possession. Why? Apparently, it's just not illegal to be in possession of recently-used murder weapons.
On the surface, it appears that the border agents did everything within their power to delay and investigate Despres, but they had to let him go when they couldn't find him being illegal in any manner. Procedurally, it seems the border agents acted appropriately. It's unfortunate that they couldn't or didn't deny entry into the U.S. based only on suspicion because I'm sure they were very suspicious of Despres. All of the agents' internal alarms had to be activated.
Maybe the Border Patrol's procedures should be revised to allow the denial of entry to individuals based solely on the fact that something just doesn't look right.
Companion post at Interested-Participant.
Updated By Digger at (11AM PST)
Dust My Broom
Overtaken By Events notes the similarities to another wide eyed freak.
The Buzz Blog
"Good afternoon sir...er, um - Mr. Gregory Despres. Hmmm...Unfortunately your going to have to leave the bloody chainsaw, brass knuckles and homemade samurai sword with us...
Please don't think we are depriving you of your personal property based on any racial, sexist, or any other politically incorrect motives, but simply because we have no "rule" to hold anyone under plain 'ol common sense suspicion. By the way, where do you get your hair done? Nonetheless Mr. Despres, have a nice stay here in the United States. Oh, and while you're here - check out Disneyworld...I hear its nice this time of year..."
Posted by: Todd on June 9, 2005 02:54 PM