|Illustration by Eric Deschamps, 2003 Image source|
The bodies of A. Willis Armstrong and his wife Hannah, owners of the Commercial Hotel in Blaine Lake, were found by their daughter Dorothy in their living quarters at the hotel on June 20, 1925. Mrs. Armstrong had a bullet hole behind her right ear. Her husband had shot her with a .45 calibre revolver and then turned the gun on himself.
|The Commercial Hotel in Blaine Lake, 1919. Nicholas F. Zbitnoff photo Image source|
Jealousy at the White Fox Hotel
At 9:10 PM on April 10, 1959, White Fox hotel keeper Albert Boscher was shot dead by Frank Schoenburger. Albert left behind his wife, Isabel and their five children, Jeanine, Denis, Anita, Rita, and Terry. Mrs. Edith Schoenburger, estranged wife of the killer, was severely wounded during the incident. She had been living and working at the White Fox Hotel. She and Boscher, her employer, were sitting together in the hotel dining room when her husband, a labourer in town, burst in and shot them both with a heavy calibre rifle.
John Wankel, an engineer boarding at the hotel, was sitting in the hotel lobby reading the paper when he saw Schoenburger walk in carrying a rifle. Wankel said the man ripped out the wires of a pay telephone, and then disappeared into the hotel dining room.
Boscher was shot first. As Mrs. Schoenburger struggled with her husband for possession of the gun it fired again, shattering her right arm. “That wasn’t meant for you, Edith,” Schoenburger said after the bullet struck his wife. Her arm later had to be amputated above the elbow.
L. J. Vickers was drinking beer in the hotel beer parlour at about 9:00 PM when he heard the sound of gunshots. Vickers opened the door between the beer parlour and the hotel lobby only to run smack into Schoenburger who was carrying a rifle. “Get out of here or I will shoot you, too,” Schoenburger said. “Accused Seen Carrying Rifle,” Saskatoon Star-Phoenix, October 30, 1959
The killer then disappeared into the bush surrounding the village of White Fox. RCMP searched unsuccessfully for him all night. At 645 the next day, a nervous and haggard Schoenburger turned himself in to the RCMP at Nipawin, saying he couldn’t remember anything about the night before. He denied knowledge of having killed a man and asked to see his wife.
Testifying in court in November, 1959, Schoenburger described a week of drinking in beer parlours and of hearing insinuations involving his wife and Boscher before the night of the shooting. On November 6th, he was found guilty of murder and sentenced to be hanged on January 26, 1960 at the provincial jail in Prince Albert. The hanging was delayed when an appeal was launched.
Over 30 grounds for appeal were listed by defense lawyer D. L. Tennant of Melfort during a two-day hearing in February 1960. Schoenburger’s conviction was quashed on appeal, and a second trial was opened in June, presided over by Mr. Justice Stewart McKercher.
During the retrial, Mrs. Schoenburger described her 22-year marriage, during which her husband would go on drinking binges that lasted several days. He would do things during these binges that he could not remember later. Eventually, Mrs. Schoenburger left her husband and went to live in the White Fox Hotel, where she also worked. Her husband had tried to get her to stop working at the hotel, mainly because of the rumours about her and her employer, Mr. Boscher. “Pitiful Tale is Related,” Regina Leader-Post, June 20, 1960:
Frank Schoenburger was convicted of manslaughter for the murder of Albert Boscher on April 10, 1959, and sentenced by Judge McKercher to eleven years in the Prince Albert Penitentiary. Click here and here and here to read more.
21-year-old William Zeller of the Pennant area was charged and found guilty of stabbing and wounding Arlyn Jamieson, 29, of Cabri during a fight outside the Pennant Hotel. Jamieson had been drinking in the bar for almost eight hours prior to the fight, and had consumed at least twelve drinks.
The trouble started when Jamieson repeatedly used an accent to pronounce the name of Zeller’s brother Raymond, who was sitting at the same table. Zeller became angry, and after about three quarters of an hour they went outside to fight. The men wrestled on the ground in front of the hotel and Jamieson was quickly pinned to the ground by Zeller, who had been in the hotel for about two hours. After being allowed back on his feet, Jamieson wanted to continue fighting. Zeller pulled out a knife and said "I’m going to get you, boy." He cut Jamieson on his left forearm, his chin and his left armpit. Zeller testified that he pulled out the knife because he wanted to scare Jamieson away from the hotel, where he was "being a nuisance.” “Men Sentenced in Swift Current,” Leader-Post, June 10, 1980, p. 20 Click here for full story
Arthur Charles Colton, 63-year-old owner of the Village Inn hotel in Candiac, was charged with the second-degree murder of his wife, Doris Colton, 54, on August 29, 1981. He later told the RCMP he “just grabbed a goddam knife and let her have it.”
Colton and his wife had been arguing and fighting during the early morning hours. She left their bedroom in the hotel for a while but came back again and started arguing all over again. Colton finally got out of bed and found his wife in the hotel bar pouring another drink. That’s when he "went nuts" and grabbed the knife.
Death at the Broadview Hotel Bar
Matthew Troy McKay, age 18, was stabbed to death during a barroom brawl at the Broadview Hotel on the night of October 30, 2009. Jordan Lee Taypotat, 20, received severe lacerations to his face during the same incident. McKay was from the Ochapowace First Nation, while Taypotat is from the Kahkewistahaw First Nation, both in the Broadview area. An argument apparently broke out which got out of hand. A 20-year-old man turned himself into the Broadview RCMP detachment a few days later. Click here and here to read more.
|Broadview Hotel. Image from Google Street View, 2011|