Special Report

BACK BEHIND BARS

Alien suspects caught hiding in Canada get a free ride to the border

R.C. August 12 1996
Special Report

BACK BEHIND BARS

Alien suspects caught hiding in Canada get a free ride to the border

R.C. August 12 1996

BACK BEHIND BARS

Alien suspects caught hiding in Canada get a free ride to the border

Wanted in Arizona and California

If the star-crossed career of Alfred William Doyle demonstrates anything, it is that the Canada-U.S. border is not much of a barrier to a fugitive on the run. The 52-year-old Toronto-born Doyle, who has been in nine American and Canadian penitentiaries since he was 17, broke out of the Arizona State Prison near Phoenix last April 1, after serving two years of a 10½-year sentence for armed robbery. The heat and the dust, Doyle says, were aggravating his asthma, so he climbed onto the roof of a departing tractor trailer and rode out of the prison grounds to freedom.

He hitchhiked north through California, Oregon and Washington and, he says, crossed the border into British Columbia about 50 km west of Chilliwack after midnight. A couple of hours later, the owner of a farm equipment dealership spotted him near his properly and called the Mounties, who found him hiding between two big tractor tires. He told them he had lost all his ID, and a police computer check of the name he made up was negative. So they removed his handcuffs, drove him to the Trans-Canada highway and sent him hitchhiking on his way.

Doyle spent four days in Chilliwack being treated as a hospital outpatient for a leg in-

fection, then headed east to Toronto to visit the common-law wife he had not seen since 1977 when he began serving a 10-year sentence for armed robbery at Bath Institution in Kingston (he escaped in 1984). But he made a mistake—he placed a phone call from her home but the police, informed of his escape, had tapped the line. On May 3—33 days^fter leaving Arizona—they grabbed him.

Now, sitting in a tiny room at Millhaven Penitentiary near Kingston, Doyle looks tired, like a man after a hard day’s work. He wears a shapeless red shirt and jeans. His hair is wispy, he has a tic under his right eye and most of his teeth are missing. He had three years remaining when he escaped from Kingston but with a year added for jailbreaking, he now will serve four. Then, Arizona will claim him and, when it is finished with him, California wants him for armed robbery and attempted murder, although he claims he never tried to kill anybody.

“I’ve been in crime pretty well all my life and there’s good times and there’s bad times,” says Doyle. "When you commit a crime, you gotta be willing to do the time for the crime. You don’t go out there to hurt anybody, but sometimes it’s unavoidable. But I’m 52 going on 53 and it’s beginning to tell on me.”

Home free in Canada—almost

A fugitive’s chances of not getting caught improve with the passage of time, and Stephen Bray must have figured he had it made. For years, he wandered the streets of Toronto’s innercity Cabbagetown neighborhood, far from Marshall County, Ky., where he is wanted for arson and two counts of murder. Then on Feb. 6, 1995, police routinely cruising the area identified Bray from a photograph and arrested him as he walked along the street. He has been lodged in the Metro West Detention Centre ever since, fighting both Kentucky, which wants to extradite him, and Canada, which wants to deport him.

The flight of the slightly built, balding, 50-year-old Bray began sometime after Nov. 8,

1982, when fire destroyed the small frame home of his estranged wife, Audrey, 28, and her 74-year-old mother, Effie York, on the outskirts of Benton, Ky. Their bodies, both shot in the head, were found in the ruins. The Marshall County sheriff’s office says it had received reports of Bray stalking his wife for several months prior to the fire. “There had been allegations of domestic violence in the past,” says Deputy Sheriff Jamie French. Because of that, he says, police went looking for Bray and, four days after the fire, found his truck parked at Barkley Regional Airport in Paducah, 65 km away. “We don’t know what happened or where he went,” says French. “But we're looking forward to having him back.”

That may take some time. Bray’s Toronto lawyer, Eric Lewis, is battling on two fronts. He wants the Ontario Court of Appeal to approve extradition only if Bray gets a change of venue for his trial and the U.S. government promises he will not be executed if convicted. At the same time, Lewis is contesting a deportation order by claiming that Bray is really a refugee. A refugee, says Lewis, is “a person whose life is in danger and who fears persecution. Well, this guy claims he can’t get a fair trial and is looking at the death penalty, and if that doesn’t make him a refugee, what does?” Lewis—and Bray—face an uphill battle. No American has ever been granted refugee status here.

A Florida cop on the run

Iieut. John A. Sciadini, head of the Davie, Fla., police department’s SWAT team, was an acknowledged specialist, an expert on crime. But up until The Case of the Missing Machine-Gun, no lone suspected that he might have acquired his expertise by —À committing crime, not fighting it.

The Sciadini saga, which began amid the glitz of Florida’s Gold Coast and ended up in the workaday Vancouver suburb of Burnaby, reads like a script from the 1980 TV series Miami Vice—“it’s movie stuff,” says Florida assistant state attorney Mike Jones. The story began on May 13, 1990, when Lance Maltese, a 39-year-old private detective, died at his Hollywood, Fla., home of a cocaine overdose. Shortly afterward, his stepfather found a MAC-10 machinegun and silencer among Maltese’s personal effects and handed the weapon over to the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

Using the serial number, the ATF traced the owner—the Davie police department. It turned out that the gun had been ordered destroyed because it was fully automatic. Sciadini and a second officer had gone out in a boat to dump it in the sea, says Jones, “but it apparently never got thrown.” Another private detective told county sheriff’s investigators that Sciadini had given him the gun, which, in circumstances that are unclear, finished up in the possession of Maltese.

On Nov. 5, 1991, Sciadini, then 37, was arrested and charged with trafficking in stolen property, grand theft and possession of the machine-gun, a prohibited weapon. Released on $25,000 bail, he failed to keep a court date on Feb. 10, 1992, and a federal warrant, which said he should be considered “armed and extremely dangerous,” was issued for his arrest. By May, county detectives claimed to have linked the fugitive to scores of burglaries in the 1980s. “He took everything from a bottle of shampoo to flowers for his girlfriend, but cash was his preference,” said Det. Larry Lallance.

Meanwhile, Sciadini had fled to Canada where he got a job as a salesman at a Toronto car dealership. Fellow employees wondered why he declined to have his picture displayed with those of other salesmen on the showroom wall. Some months after he left, one of them spotted him on America's Most Wanted and called the FBI. The FBI called the Toronto Police Fugitive Squad, which discovered that Sciadini had gone to Vancouver. The RCMP’s Burnaby detachment finally located Sciadini and, when he spotted the surveillance of his apartment building, he surrendered. Extradited to Florida in August, 1995, he awaits trial on 28 counts, including armed burglary.

Under surveillance, under arrest

Deportation to the United States, in most cases, is a pretty straightforward process—a hearing or two followed by a free ride to the border. On the other hand, extradition—as the case of Alwyn Reid demonstrates—often requires a trip into the legal jungle.

Reid's story began on Aug. 21, 1989, when a 54-year-old Syracuse, N.Y., woman and her daughter, 22, checked into a motel in the Philadelphia suburb of King of Prussia. About 2:30 a.m., they awoke to confront a prowler who sexually assaulted the mother, raped the daughter and afterward robbed both women at gunpoint.

From the outset, police suspected the 28-year-old, Jamaica-born Reid, an extermination company employee who had been working at the motel that night. But he had an alibi, which police broke only after months of investigation. Then, DNA analysis of a blood sample from Reid confirmed their suspicions. But when they went to arrest him early in November, 1990, he had disappeared.

More than three years later, Det. Bruce Saville of Upper Merion Township, in which King of Prussia is located, got a tip that Reid

was in Toronto (where he already had had several minor run-ins with police who were unaware of his background). After Saville called, the Metro Toronto Police Fugitive Squad put Reid under surveillance and the tedious extradition process began.

An Upper Merion Township prosecutor advised the U.S. justice department that Reid had been found. Washington then called the Canadian justice department in Ottawa, which dispatched a federal prosecutor who got a Toronto judge to issue an arrest warrant based on the evidence supplied by the Americans. The warrant was handed to a Metro cop. The fugitive squad, meanwhile, was shadowing Reid, who had been prowling the backyards of downtown homes. “The policeman radios that the warrant has been issued,” says squad commander Bob Montrose, “and, bang, he’s ours.”

Arrested on Dec. 8, 1993, Reid fought extradition in the courts for 16 months, but was finally turned over to U.S. authorities on May 23, 1995. His case is still before an American court.

R.C.