Edge-city suburbs can run dark and deep … jealous husband guilty in Greater Toronto double murder

Nov 27th, 2009 | By Counterweights Editors | Category: In Brief
Chris Little and Julie Crocker in happier times.

Chris Little and Julie Crocker in happier times.

On Wednesday, November 25, 2009 a jury of his peers convicted Chris Little of Markham, Ontario of the double murder of his ex-wife, Julie Crocker, and Paula Menendez, the ex-wife of Julie Crocker’s lover, radio sportscaster Rick Ralph, on February 12, 2007.  The sentence will be officially pronounced today. But it must at least be life in jail, with no parole for 25 years. (And this sentence has now been officially pronounced, as of 12 Noon, Friday, November 27.)

L. Frank Bunting reported on the case for us in “Menendez-Crocker edge-city murders .. what’s a girl like you doing in a place like this?,” published on February 19, 2007. In a short interview late last night, he said he was not surprised by the verdict:

Rick Ralph and Julie C rocker, on a vacation in St. Lucia in December 2006.

Rick Ralph and Julie Crocker, on a vacation in St. Lucia in December 2006.

“Chris Little claimed that he had just accidentally stumbled on the two bodies at the house he once shared with Julie Crocker. His lawyer John Rosen (who had earlier defended the notorious Paul Bernardo) argued that Paula Mendendez had slit Julie Crocker’s throat, out of jealousy at her affair with Ms. Menendez’s former husband Rick Ralph, and then committed suicide by hanging herself in the garage of the Crocker house. But the early news reports on the murders indicated that Paula Menendez ‘was found hanging inside the garage, her legs and hands bound.’ It’s not easy to see how she could have hung herself in that state.”

More recent news reports have Chris Little saying only that he “found a lifeless Menendez hanging from the rafters, rope tied around her neck and feet” — which might make his story somewhat easier to swallow. Yet the jury apparently found many other parallel inconsistencies in Little’s claims.  It is nonetheless interesting, Bunting added in last night’s interview, that according to lawyer John Rosen: “There will definitely be an appeal and Mr. Little continues to assert his innocence.”

 Stubbs (2) stand outside Newmarket courts, Thursday, Sept. 24, 2009.

Paula Menendez's older sister Claudia Johnston (l) and her twin sister Carolina Stubbs (r) stand outside Newmarket courts, September 24, 2009.

L. Frank Bunting has also noted that his February 2007 speculation about how the driving sexual jealousy side of the case may have even vaguely echoed the “1969 [movie] probe of the perils of free love, Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice” finally proved a little too speculative. According to a report this past October by Rosie DiManno in the Toronto Star, the evidence is that Chris Little and Julie Crocker and Rick Ralph and Paula Menendez all together had only one “chance meeting” at a pub, in September 2006.

For those who want more detail on the trial that happened at last, and the jury’s final verdict, Dr. Bunting recommends: “Trial underway for man accused of killing estranged wife and another woman” ; “Ralph Testifies As Markham Double Murder Trial Continues To Unfold” ; “Chris Little’s alleged victim was the real murderer, lawyer suggests” ; “Toronto-area man guilty in double murder” ; “Chris Little a killer who rewrote the Book of Bad” ; and “Families of Chris Little’s victims vent fury at defence lawyer.”  As Dr. Bunting suggested more than two-and-a-half years ago, what it all finally shows is: “Life in the edge-city suburbs can run dark and deep, no matter how bright the surface appears.”

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