Blood on the Water

The Chronicle Herald

April 11, 2014

PETIT DE GRAT - Margaret Rose Boudreau just wants to hear her phone ring.

"I'd love nothing more than for (her) to call and say, ‘We're doing cold plates for the seniors home. Will you buy one?'" Boudreau said Wednesday, referring to an estranged friend.

"But they don't call anymore, and it's a knife in my heart. Why don't they call? It might be shame, but it wasn't them who killed my brother."

Boudreau wants justice, but she also wants her community to be whole again.

She wants the families of the crew of the lobster boat Twin Maggies to know she bears only sympathy for them.

On Wednesday, Boudreau smoked a cigarette and looked out from her home on Alderney Point. Across the water, she can see the area where the RCMP allege the three-man crew of the Twin Maggies murdered her brother, Phillip Boudreau, on June 1, 2012.

"Every time there's a storm, we wonder if we'll find his clothes washed ashore," said his sister.

Despite an exhaustive effort by RCMP divers, her brother's body hasn't been found.

The crew - James Landry, captain Dwayne Samson and Craig Landry - are all charged with second-degree murder. Samson's wife, Carla, owned the Twin Maggies and is charged with being an accessory after the fact.

And while a publication ban on the preliminary inquiries for Dwayne and Carla Samson prevents the media from relating what is alleged to have happened on the water that day, all of Petit de Grat knows.

"It was the brutality of it that I never expected," said Boudreau.

"Phillip had his faults. He would have stole from you, but he never would have harmed you. He wouldn't have been capable of doing what was done to him."

As the cases make their way toward trial, Petit de Grat is getting ready for the opening of lobster season May 1.

The proud little Acadian community of a few hundred souls on Isle Madame near the Strait of Canso prepares for the fishery in the shadow of what it led to last year.

Samson's trial is scheduled for Oct. 20 and James Landry's is set for Nov. 10. The third crew member, Craig Landry, will appear again April 28 to set a date for his preliminary inquiry.

"People aren't talking about it much," a Petit de Grat fisherman who didn't want to be named said Wednesday.

"Most of (the fishermen) don't realize it, but they're probably going to be subpoenaed. Some of the dirty stuff that was going on is going to come out."

Due to the publication ban, we can't tell you what Boudreau, who wasn't a fisherman, was doing on the water June 1. But there are two differing opinions about it.

Boudreau, 35, had been in and out of prison most of his adult life for a lengthy list of property crimes.

The fisherman said that he, like some others in the community, had received vandalism threats from Boudreau.

"People paid him to do things that they wouldn't do themselves," said the fisherman.

"He was a kid with no direction. He'd steal from you, but he'd then give it to someone else. So he'd made enemies, but he also had a lot of friends."

In a community where everyone knows everyone and many are related, the fisherman said people are trying to bury the hatchet and move on by not talking much about the case.

"No one likes to take sides," said the fisherman, but he indicated that the murder never should have happened.

Villages are unlike cities primarily in that everyone knows everyone's personal histories, warts and all, and you can't rule someone out of your existence because of a fault you see in them.

Because you are likely to run into them on a regular basis for the rest of your life.

You couldn't go to the Corner Bridge Store without running into Phillip Boudreau.

You would also have noticed that he liked to buy candy for children and to laugh.

If you were from Petit de Grat, you would know that Boudreau slept on a cushion laid on the kitchen floor of the tiny house his grandfather had built looking out from Alderney Point.

A tidy little house he shared with Margaret Rose and his 88-year-old father.

Not owning a car, he travelled around the island in his small, open boat.

"He was a thief, but if there ever was an honest thief, that was Phillip," said Margaret Rose.

"He loved children and he loved my grandchildren."

She still remembers her last words with Phillip.

It was just before daybreak on June 1 and he wanted to hold her grandchild.

Margaret Rose said no, because she wanted the child to go back to sleep.

"I have always regretted that."

Then her brother went down to his little boat hauled up on the shore.

Aaron Beswick