Many in the Miramichi would like to forget Allan Legere, but his reign of terror still haunts and torments this usually quiet and serene community to this day.
“Everyone was fearful — frightened of their lives but it was a bad time,” a Miramichi resident told CTV Atlantic.
Legere was convicted in the 1986 murder of shopkeeper John Glendenning and sentenced to life in prison, but he would later escape custody and went on a killing rampage that took the lives of four people.
He killed Annie Flam — an elderly store owner — Donna and Linda Daughney,and Father James Smith, a Roman Catholic priest.
Rick MacLean was the editor of the Miramichi Leader at the time of the killings and co-authored “Terror: Murder and Panic in New Brunswick.”
“People are frustrated they have to revisit this whole story,” MacLean said. “It’s been something we have taken the emotions and put them in a box. It’s almost like a scar tissue now and we have to relive this whole thing and we don’t want to do it.”
The current mayor of the Miramichi was just a boy when Legere was on the run and remembers moving in with his grandparents as a precaution during Legere’s rampage.
“I can appreciate both the terrifying time in our community that was and also how that has never gone away,” said Adam Lordon, the mayor of Miramichi.
He says the council has been inundated with calls of concern about Legere’s request for day parole.
If granted, it gives the offender more freedom in the community, including being housed in a halfway house. But many in the Miramichi believe and fear it would only be a matter of time before he makes his way back to their community.
“Everyone here is absolutely convinced that if he gets the least opportunity to get away, he’s going to do exactly what he did the last time he got out by escaping,” MacLean said. “Most people here feel the only safe place for Allan Legere is exactly where he is — 4,000 kms away in a maximum security prison.”
The parole board hearing does not mean that Legere will be granted day parole, but it does mean victims’ families and a community impacted by these crimes will be forced — once again — to relive the tragedy.