Fort Frances Times and Rainy Lake Herald
March 1, 1945

Trio Paid Penalty on Gallows Today

Widely Publicized "Hot Stove" Case Is Concluded


Three men, William Shmidt, 29, of Fort Frances, George Skrypnyk, 25, and Anthony Skrypnyk, 22, both of Atikokan, paid with their lives on the gallows in the jail jail this morning, the penalty for their participation in what has become known as the "hot stove" murder of Mrs. Viola Jamiesson of Flanders, 66 miles east of here.
Finia was written to the widely publicized torture-murder case, when the third of the trio was pronounced dead at 12:50 this morning by Dr. W. G. Boyle, jail surgeon, and Dr. D. R. Young of Emo, district coroner.
The Skrypnyk brothers went to gallows together a few minutes after midnight.
"The trio accompanied by a fourth, Elno Tillonen, 19, of Port Arthur, whose death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment, as a result of a plea for leniency asked by the jury, attacked Mrs. Jemiesson at her home near the village of Flanders on the afternoon of June 10. In attempting to force her to divulge the hiding place of her money which they went to steal, one or more of the quartette forced her on a stove which resulted in burns which resulted according to medical testimony, in her death July 2 at the LaVerendrye hospital here."
Having been found guilty by a jury of fellow-citizens in the Sittings of the Supreme Court of Canada, High Court Division here, in September, at which His Honor Mr. Justice Barlow presided, the quartette was sentenced to hang December 6, as punishment for their crime. The specially constructed high board enclosed gallows for the execution of the quartette was torn down, unused on the original execution date, December 6, with Tillonen having had his sentence commuted to life imprisonment and the other three men granted a stay of execution until today, pending a decision on an appeal by Shmidt for a retrial which was denied recently, following a review of the evidence by the Ontario Supreme Court of Justices/ A plea for leniency to the Minister of Justice at Ottawa entered after retrial was denied; went unheeded.
Rev. Father Bala was spiritual advisor for the Skrypnyk brothers while Rev. W. J. Gamble was spiritual advisor for William Shmidt. They were with the condemned men immediately prior to their execution.
"The trio were said to all have appeared very haggard from their several months ordeal in jail and the suspense of waiting. All three however, walked to the gallows unassisted and unflinching."
The coroner's jury men who viewed the bodies of the condemned men were Jack DeVries, N.R. Everson, Everette Fournier, Mathew Grynol, Bennie Lindberg, C. L. Saunders and Llyod Stenson.
"William Shmidt asked his spiritual advisor, Rev. W. J. Gamble to tell his parents not to worry; that he had found peace and forgiveness with God. When visited by his father in jail yesterday afternoon, William Shmidt is reported to have told him that he and the Skrypnyk brothers wanted to thank those people of Fort Frances who had tried to help them. They were all very appreciative of the sympathy and assistance of the clergy."
Mrs. Anton Casnig (Bernice), daughter of Mrs. Jamiesson, lives in a rooming house directly across the street from the jail and was said to have been up with friends and outside the house at various time during the morning of the execution.
"Light from the jail windows was blacked out with heavy blankets and a heavy guard of provincial police patrolled the jail grounds. No one other than the sheriff, jailer, jail surgeon, district coroner and justice of the peace were permitted entry to the jail grounds of building."
Warm or unfrozen earth for filling the graves which had been left open since last fall when they were dug prior to December 6 within the walls was a problem but was supplied by I. W. Smith, local contractor from and excavation started last fall under his office building.

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