The Tragic Story of Steven Truscott: A Miscarriage of Justice
The case of Steven Truscott involves a 14-year-old boy who was convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of his classmate, Lynne Harper, in 1959. Despite maintaining his innocence and having conflicting evidence and testimony, His conviction was upheld by multiple appeals until 2007, when new evidence led to his acquittal and an apology from the Ontario government.
In 1959, Steven Truscott was a 14-year-old boy living in the small town of Clinton, Ontario. On June 9th of that year, he was seen giving his classmate Lynne Harper a ride on his bicycle. Later that evening, Lynne’s father reported her missing.
Two days later, Lynne’s body was found in a nearby wooded area. She had been sexually assaulted and strangled to death. On June 13th, Steven was charged with Lynne’s murder. Despite his young age, Steven was ordered to stand trial as an adult.
The Crown’s theory was that Steven had killed Lynne at some point between 7:00 p.m. and 7:45 p.m. that evening. This theory was supported by conflicting testimony from various witnesses, testimony from the autopsy doctor, Dr. John Penistan, that Lynne had died within this window, and lesions on Steven’s penis which, it was argued, could have been sustained by sexually assaulting Lynne.
Steven insisted throughout the proceedings that he was innocent. He testified that Lynne was unharmed when he dropped her off at the intersection of the County Road and Highway 8 and that he happened to stop his bike on a bridge and looked back in her direction, only to see her getting into a grey Chevy with a yellow license plate.
Several witnesses supported Steven’s version of events, testifying that they had indeed seen Steven and Lynne riding towards the intersection where Steven said he had dropped her off, or that they had seen him standing on the bridge looking in her…