#25 – Don’t call me a Serial Killer – Pat & Charlisa’s Story

Pasquale, called Pat by his friends & family, was the first-born son of Ruth and Flavio and the apple of Ruth’s eye. Pat was 26, strong and burly and a father to a little girl from a previous relationship. Pat lived in the family home. Typically, in many European descent homes, the children stay home until married, regardless of age. Flavio had started a renovations/construction company and was successful enough that all of his boys worked for him. Pat was a talented wood worker and had won awards when he was younger. They are a close-knit larger family, often doing family events together. The kids would come and go as they pleased but out of respect for their parents, would always come home every night to sleep.

It was the Saturday before Father’s Day, 2000. Pat went to spend time with his girlfriend, Charlisa, and her 3-year-old blonde boy, Eugene. Eugene loved it when Pat was around; Pat was always making him laugh. Pat & Charlisa had known each other since high school, even though Pat was a couple of years older than Charlisa. They had recently reconnected and had been dating for a few months. At some point that Saturday, Pat said his goodbyes to Charlisa and little Eugene and went to meet up with a couple of his friends for a few drinks. At around midnight they had decided to call it a night and Pat’s friends dropped him at home.
Shortly after getting home, he received a call from Charlisa, asking if he could come over for a bit. He did want to see her, so he snapped up his dad’s white work van to drive the 15 minutes from his place to hers, parking it across the street from her building when he got there. His mom didn’t want him to go, because it was already late and they had Father’s Day plans the next day, but she didn’t say anything because Flavio had already told her to let him do his thing, he was a grown man now. She regrets it to this day.

Charlisa had put Eugene to bed; he had been sick and she was looking forward to seeing Pat for some alone time.
When Ruth and Flavio got up the next morning, Pat was not home. Ruth called Pat, no answer. She was continually trying his number, and each attempt to reach her son yielding the same results; no response. At around 4:45 PM on the 18th, Father’s Day, Flavio and Ruth were driving on King Street East and noticed the white construction van parked. Flavio immediately called one of his sons and asked him to bring him the second set of keys for the van. He opened the back doors, they were unlocked, but nothing seemed untoward. The alarm went off. Flavio drove the van home while his son drove his mom back in the other vehicle.
Not too long after a blonde toddler, wearing a filthy diaper and a dirty T-Shirt was seen walking down King street east, alone, in his bare feet. It had rained hard earlier, but was drying up now and was around 22C (68F). After walking 140 M (459 Feet), he entered a convenience store. The clerk was concerned, here was this dirty little boy in bare feet all alone. The boy was feeling sick; he vomited on the floor. The clerk called the police as there was a child in the store with no parents.

Constable Carter was on his way home; he arranged to leave work early as he had Father’s Day plans, which he was looking forward to. He was still in his cruiser when he got called to go check out the situation. Most found – Child situations end well. They assured him this shouldn’t take too long, and he’d be home before he knew it.

He stepped into the variety store and saw the little boy. His diaper looked as though it was about to explode. The clerk told constable Carter that the little boy had vomited on the floor, so constable Carter decided to bring him outside with him for some fresh air.
While he was outside with the little boy, two women approached him and told him that they knew the little boy, his name was Eugene and that he lived with his Mom Charlisa at the apartment building down the street. Constable Carter followed the two women there with the little boy in his arms.
They went around to the back of the building, and the women point out which apartment was Charlisa’s. He climbed the eight metal steps to the second floor and knocked on the back door. No answer. He called out the police and knocked again. No answer. Growing aggravated, he hit again, this time very hard, and the door opened slightly but wouldn’t budge more, something was blocking the doorway. He didn’t have a good feeling and called for back up.
Constable Carter took the women’s information and handed Eugene over to them temporarily for care. He needed to be cleaned and fed.
Another tenant of the building came out after hearing all the banging, spoke to the police officer, and told him that Charlisa’s keys were hanging from the front door.

Little Eugene had let himself out of the apartment through the front door, even locking it behind him, as he had seen his mom do countless times before. Only, he didn’t know he was supposed to take the keys with him. They were left hanging from the door.

Constable Carter walked around to the front of the building and waited for another officer to arrive before heading into the unit. When another officer arrived, before making their way into the apartment, he called for a 10-3, which is complete radio silence unless absolutely needed. This is not to give away the location, in case any perp is listening in, and to ensure the channel is clear in case he needs to call in for additional help.
He entered the messy and disheveled apartment unit, muscles tense, ready to react. The front door opened up to the living room. A pew paces down the hall was a small bathroom on the left, and across from it, a little boy’s room. Toys littered the floor, the bed close to the closet, and the closet door open.
A little further down the hall was the main bedroom. Blood spattered the wall, and the bed was saturated. He called for an ambulance, then corrected himself, make that two ambulances.
Flavio and Ruth still haven’t heard from Pat, despite many frantic calls. Flavio, two sons, one son’s fiancée and 2 of Pat’s friends got in a vehicle and headed towards the area where they found the construction van on King Street East, only to discover police command van, yellow crime scene tape, police officers in and out of uniform and reporters.
Eugene had been cleaned up and fed and then placed in the care of social services. He was brought to the central station four hrs after he was seen wandering the streets alone to try to speak with him to find out if he saw anything. The first few hours in any new case is essential.
Eugene told the officers that there was paint all over mama’s walls and that he was with his shoes. He said he was sick that night and that later Pat’s van was gone and that man rode it. The police officer asked Eugene if he woke up, and he said, “Yeah. Momma gone,” The officer asked, “did you see anyone hurt your mom or pat?” Eugene said, “Mom and Pat. They are gone. Mom sleeping. Pat sleeping.”
The forensic unit started that evening. First, just a walkthrough before Charlisa’s and Pat’s bodies were removed. The forensic leads noticed the door to balcony, facing King Street East was open, on the balcony, an open purse on a couch, and a pair of men’s sandals. Beside the living room was the front door. The door was closed, with the key link lock dangling from the lock. There was no forced entry. They walked past the bathroom, the light left on, and across from the bathroom, was Eugene’s room. The overhead light and lamp both on, closet door open.
Blood was noted on the left hallway wall by light switch and radiator. The door to the main bedroom was open, and blood was evident on the door frame. Two bodies were discovered in the room; that of a male and female. Both victims were nude, except for a pair of socks and a watch worn by the male. The male was face down on the bed, and the female was almost in a kneeling position on the side of the bed, with her head and arms on the mattress and her ankles on the floor, crossed—a one-inch bruise on her left elbow. Blood saturated the sheets and pillows, cast-off patterns, and splatter over the walls.
Littered under a pile of clothing was an aluminum baseball bat, with only it’s handle visible. Further down from the room, to the right, was an art room. Charlisa was an artist. She had paints, brushes, canvases and an easel—even a little easel for Eugene to use. This is the reason Eugene would later describe the walls as having paint on them. Further now, into the kitchen, the rear door was ajar. This is the door where Constable Carter had knocked. The chain link lock still in place.
The crime scene was very violent, with high velocity spatter on the walls and ceilings. The baseball bat had evidence of blood on the fat part of the bat. A neighbour told the police that they had loaned Charlisa the bat for protection, which she kept by the front door. The murderer used a weapon of opportunity and left it on scene. A shoe imprint from an athletic shoe was left in the blood.
The coroner arrived to announce the death of both victims and they were removed from the scene. Their autopsies were scheduled for the following day. The forensic pathologist completed the autopsies and confirmed that both were bludgeoned to death, struck numerous times over the head and face, with multiple skull fractures and brain hemorrhaging complete with tramline bruising, which is caused by a cylindrical object. A palm print was found on the handle of the baseball bat.
Sue, Charlisa’s mom, had a terrible feeling that Sunday. She even drove past her daughter’s apartment building earlier that day, slowed down and honked, but no one came to the balcony to wave. At two in the morning on Monday the 19th, her husband woke her up, told her to put on her robe, and come downstairs. There in her kitchen, she was told the terrible news. She was so distraught she ran to her 16-year-old son’s basement bedroom to wake him, screaming, “your sister is dead!”
Charlisa was an artist, and just a few days before her murder, she had one of her paintings showcased in a local gallery and her name listed in the newspaper as being one of the artists. She loved creating art of all kinds and was thinking of going into animation.

She also volunteered with at-risk kids and teens, mentoring, teaching art, and cooking for them.
The investigation was lengthy and exhaustive. Law enforcement ruled out many people, family, friends, and ex-boyfriends. The palm print was promising, but at the time, palm prints were not in an electronic database. They had about 3000 records on cards, and all comparisons needed to be done manually. Which, as you can imagine, would take an extraordinary amount of time. Especially at this point, as they were months into the investigation and resources previously allocated would need to focus on new cases coming in; therefore, they had fewer employees or investigators to cover this case.

The case remained open and unsolved for approximately 18 months from the time the murders took place.
In August 2001, 36-year-old Jackie McClean was bludgeoned to death, much the same way Pat and Charlisa were, in the upstairs of unit 4 of a known crack-house.
There was semen found in the high area of Jackie’s vagina, meaning that she did not get up & walk around afterward. Leading the pathologist to conclude that the sex act would have occurred where her murder took place, suggesting that the sex act likely occurred at or after Jackie’s death. She was attacked downstairs and then dragged up the stairs, where the attack continued.
The day following Jackie’s murder, a man named Carl Hall checked himself into an addiction rehab home, where he met a fellow person from Atlantic Canada, Shane. They spoke frequently, and one night, Carl visited Shane in his room, sat at the edge of his bed, and confessed he had done something horrible.
He told Shane that he killed two people, a man, and a woman. He told Shane that a drug dealer was harassing his ex-girlfriend, the mother of his daughter, and that needed rectification. Carl also said he had been angry that day as he was not permitted to see his daughter that father’s day. So, he broke into the apartment with the intent of only stealing some items, picked up the baseball bat at the entranceway, but the “drug dealer” woke up and grabbed his arm, and Carl got scared because the man was much larger than him, so he beat him. He then said the woman came into the room and saw, so he needed to beat her too. Shane was shocked and frightened by what Carl told him.
The following day, Shane checked out of the rehab centre for the weekend. His wife was picking him up. Shane bid him farewell and told Carl that he would see him on Monday, although he had no intention of returning.

Carl Hall

Some time had passed, and Carl ended up in Brantford, ON, a neighbouring city. Shane and his family lived in Brantford, and Carl knew this. Carl was arrested and charged and incarcerated for uttering threats. Shane became very frightened when he found out Carl was in the city, wondering what brought him there. Was Carl looking for him?

Shane then contacted the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) to give an anonymous tip. He told them of the rehab confession from Carl Hall but wished his name to remain anonymous. The RCMP provided the tip to the Hamilton Police Department. Hamilton PD wanted Shane’s name. For a while, the RCMP did not wish to give Shane’s contact information to the Hamilton PD; however, after some time and persistence, this was delivered, and they showed up on Shane’s doorstep looking to obtain a statement. The Hamilton PD knew that if they didn’t get his name and testimony, it would make bringing any case against the offender harder. Remember, Shane gave his tip to the RCMP and not crime stoppers.

After learning of Carl’s incarceration in Brantford, the Hamilton police requested a warrant for a DNA sample, which took a few months. By this time, Carl was already a suspect in Jackie’s murder. Carl’s DNA matched the semen found in the high part of her vagina. There was other circumstantial evidence against Carl for this crime as well. Carl was arrested after his release from Brantford jail and charged with the murder and subsequently convicted at trial. Through this process, there were able to obtain a copy of Carl’s palm print. When a comparison was made with the palm print found in the handle of the baseball bat in Charlisa’s apartment, they found their man. The palm prints matched.
Carl allegedly had an abusive past, was drawn to violence, had a criminal record for theft and assault. He was addicted to crack-cocaine. A side-effect of crack-cocaine is a severe increase in anxiety, paranoia, and aggressiveness.
The police tracked down the previous tenant of Charlisa’s apartment. His name is Paul, and he was a drug dealer in the area at the time. He confirmed that at one point, he and Carl had an altercation.
They confirmed that the murder of Pat and subsequently Charlisa were due to mistaken identity.
Carl was convicted of second-degree murder in the deaths of Pat and Charlisa. He initially pleaded not guilty but had tearfully changed his plea to guilty after opening statements. The family was not forced to relive every detail through trial. He was sentenced to 14 years for each murder, to be served consecutively.
Carl never admitted to being guilty of Jackie’s murder, despite the semen and other circumstantial evidence. He admitted to being with her that evening, but there was someone else there. He admitted that they had consensual intercourse, and denied any hint of necrophilia. He said he isn’t a serial killer and is mad that he is referred to as that.

An appear for Jackie’s murder was submitted, and the Ontario Court of Appeal ordered a new trial as they found that the trial judge made errors in charge of the jury. Carl was acquitted for Jackie’s murder in his new trial.
Carl is still serving time for the deaths of Pat and Charlisa.

Sources:

  • ‘Cold North Killers: Canadian Serial Murder’, Lee Mellor, Pages 173-180
  • ‘Witness: A true crime story – Part 1 – Cold Blood’, March 6, 2010, Hamilton Spectator, Journalist: Jon Wells
  • ‘Witness: A true crime story – Part 2 – Naked Eye’, March 8, 2010, Hamilton Spectator, Journalist: Jon Wells
  • ‘Witness: A true crime story – Part 3 – Bad Man’, March 9, 2010, Hamilton Spectator, Journalist: Jon Wells
  • ‘Witness: A true crime story – Part 4 – Dark Fate’, March 10, 2010, Hamilton Spectator, Journalist: Jon Wells
  • ‘Witness: A true crime story – Part 5 – Underworld’, March 11, 2010, Hamilton Spectator, Journalist: Jon Wells
  • ‘Witness: A true crime story – Part 6 – Evil presence’, March 12, 2010, Hamilton Spectator, Journalist: Jon Wells
  • ‘Witness: A true crime story – Part 7 – Life after death’, March 13, 2010, Hamilton Spectator, Journalist: Jon Wells
  • ‘Murder charges spark case reviews’, April 18, 2002, The Globe and Mail, Journalist: Ken Kilpatrick
  • ‘Tot wandering alone led cop to grim scene’, May 17, 2007, Hamilton Spectator
  • ‘I didn’t kill her: Carl Hall’, November 3, 2010, Hamilton Spectator. Journalist: Jon Wells
  • ‘Carl Hall acquitted in Sandbar Tavern Murder’, June 22, 2012, The Peterborough Examiner & Hamilton Spectator, Journalist: Ken Peters. Link

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