Saturday, October 13, 2007

Parolee charged with murder; Cabbie David Krick died on Father's Day

From the Kingston Whig-Standard Website:

Police believe a Kingston taxi driver was robbed and stabbed to death by a 31-year-old federal parolee with a 10-year history of violent crimes including sexual assault.

On Thursday night, Richard Edmund Smith was arrested at Collins Bay penitentiary and charged with first-degree murder in the Father's Day slaying of Amey's taxi driver David Krick.

The robbery likely netted less than $100.

Krick's brother Raymond, one of four family members who attended a news conference yesterday at police headquarters, thanked detectives.

"I do appreciate all the work you guys have done," Raymond Krick said, speaking to six investigators. "It does give you some closure knowing this guy's not out there now."

Krick's sister-in-law, Robyn Lawlor, said the arrest brings some peace of mind.

"It's been a long wait, a long four months," she said. "It goes from being very upset because of the death to anger."

Smith was free from prison on full parole, although police say he was a high risk to reoffend, at the time Krick was murdered on June 17.

Smith is serving a four-year, eight-month sentence for sexual assault with a weapon, forcible confinement, robbery and other minor offences.

He was convicted in Milton in April 2003 after he forced a woman to perform oral sex on him by threatening her with a knife, according to National Parole Board records.

Smith approached a woman randomly in a doughnut shop parking lot and ordered her into her car, where the attack took place. At one point, he ran the tip of the knife down her back.

"He's been in and out of institutions for a number of years," Det. Sgt. Bill Kennedy said at the news conference yesterday.

Smith has a criminal record dating to 1993 that includes convictions for domestic violence, impaired driving and property crimes, according to the parole records.

They document a pattern of "dysfunctional relationships with vulnerable women."

Smith has admitted being addicted to drugs and pornography.

When he was paroled in May 2005, he was barred from consuming alcohol or drugs or visiting strip clubs. At the time, he was considered a "moderate risk for sexual recidivism and domestic violence."

Two months later, a woman with whom he was having a relationship called his parole officer to report that Smith was abusive, drinking to excess and driving while drunk.

Smith's parole was suspended, but he was released again after the board concluded "it is difficult to see reliable and persuasive information to conclude without any doubt that you had been engaged in the activities that were alleged to have occurred."

Kennedy, who is in charge of the murder probe, would not discuss the evidence that police believe links Smith to the crime.

"I'm not going to comment at all on any of the evidence," he said.

Police have received forensic reports but Kennedy would not discuss the results.

Kennedy said Smith has not made a statement.

"Right now, I believe he's being somewhat quiet," he said.

Smith, dressed in a white shirt and dark wind pants, did not speak at his court appearance yesterday afternoon. He'll be back in court Oct. 30.

On Tuesday, police arrested Smith's common-law wife, Laura Jean Clow, 39, and charged her as an accessory after the fact. She appeared in court Wednesday and will be back in court Monday.

"I'm not going to disclose exactly what her role is in this," Kennedy said. He said Clow does not have a criminal record.

She lives at 117 Carruthers Ave., according to court records, about three blocks east of the spot where Krick's taxi was abandoned the day he was killed.

Smith, who is originally from Hamilton, was arrested by Kingston Police and returned to prison on Aug. 1 for breaching conditions of his parole. At the time, police were investigating him.

Police Chief Bill Closs said there is no reason for Smith to be living in Kingston, except for the presence of eight federal penitentiaries in the area.

"I believe that David Krick would be alive today if Kingston were not the prison capital of Canada, if Corrections Canada could do a better job of rehabilitating people, if Canada did not have a revolving door in and out of the justice system and frankly if the Kingston Police had the ability to monitor what we consider to be violent offenders, sex offenders, 24/7, seven days a week," Closs said.

He said he is often asked what it costs Kingston to host so many prisons.

"It cost David Krick his life," he said. "It cost his family a son, a brother, a nephew."

Closs said the murder investigation has cost taxpayers 4,500 hours in police staff time at a cost of roughly $200,000 and mounting.

"The David Krick homicide demonstrates to the citizens of Kingston that violent offenders walk our streets, they live in our city and ride in our taxis," Closs said.

Long-term studies of crime statistics demonstrate that Kingston has higher rates of violent crime than many large urban centres in Canada.

The city typically has an annual homicide rate that is among the highest in the province.

Investigators do not believe Krick was personally targeted.

"He was just the victim of what we believe to be a robbery," Kennedy said.

A small quantity of cash was taken from the 50-year-old cabbie before he was left bleeding on a sidewalk on Durham Street, about eights blocks from the spot where he picked up a passenger on Wright Crescent just after 6:30 a.m. on June 17.

Krick was stabbed in the chest several times. He was pronounced dead at hospital.

His attacker stole the taxi and drove a meandering route that ended at the An Clachan apartment complex on MacPherson Avenue, just off Van Order Drive.

The killer fled on foot and evaded police who arrived soon after he parked the blood-smeared car.

Kennedy said the investigation is ongoing.

"There could be other people arrested," he said.

Police would not say if they have the murder weapon, although two knives were recovered.

One knife was found in the grass of the apartment complex where Krick's taxi was abandoned.

Children playing outside made the discovery three days after the killing.

The knife was found near a main entrance to the apartment complex, roughly 100 metres from the spot where the cab was left.

Another knife was found on the front lawn of a house several doors away from the spot on Durham Street where Krick was found on Father's Day morning.

Smith is expected to serve remainder of his sentence in federal prison, until it expires Nov. 30, and then will be handed over to Kingston Police. .

In brief

What: Murder of Amey's taxi driver David Krick, 50.

When: June 17, 2007, just before 7 a.m.

Where: Krick was stabbed and left to die on a sidewalk on Durham Street in Kingston, just south of Princess Street.

Developments: On Oct. 11, police charge Richard Edmund Smith, 31, a federal prisoner, with first-degree murder; his common-law wife, Laura Jean Clow, 39, was charged Oct. 9 as an accessory after the fact.

Next: Smith is back in court Oct. 30; Clow returns to court Monday.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Cab stickers a fitting tribute

From the Kingston Whig-Standard Website:

The small, black-and-yellow sticker appearing on the bumpers of Kingston taxi cabs is a fitting tribute to David Krick.

Mr. Krick was stabbed to death nearly four months ago while driving his cab - the victim of a murderer who has continued to elude city police.

Such memorials and tributes have become commonplace in our troubled and violent world, moreso since Canada joined the war in Afghanistan and soldiers started returning home in coffins - more than 70 to date.

Mr. Krick was not a war hero. But he performed a public service that most of us who have day jobs in comfortable, air-conditioned offices will never understand or appreciate.

Driving taxi - especially overnight in a city the size of Kingston - can be dangerous business.

The epitaph at the bottom of the sticker, which was designed by Mr. Krick's family, reads: "Let his spirit ride with you."

Mr. Krick was 50 years old, loved by his family and popular at work. Yet he was left bleeding and dying on a city sidewalk the morning of June 17, the victim of a cowardly and despicable act.

Since then, Kingston Police have had four officers assigned full-time to the case. Tips from the public have dried up. Yet their resolve remains strong.

They suspect the killer had at least one accomplice that morning who helped him elude the police chase - someone who is now withholding information that would see justice done.

We hope that person or persons takes note of the memorial sticker that bears David Krick's name and his car number - No. 71.

We hope it moves them to do the right thing and report Mr. Krick's killer to Kingston Police.