Coroner’s report examines final minutes of René Charlebois’s life

Coroner’s report examines final minutes of René Charlebois’s life

 

Hells Angels Nomads Luc Bordeleau, left, and René Charlebois at the April 2000 funeral for murdered Nomad Normand ‘Bill’ Hamel.

 

A Quebec coroner’s report released this week describes the last minutes in the life of escaped convict René Charlebois, who shot himself with a 357 Magnum last autumn as police closed in.

Charlebois was the Hells Angels prisoner to whom former Montreal police detective Benoit Roberge gave insider information about ongoing investigations into organized crime.

Roberge was sentenced last week to eight years in prison for gangsterism and breach of trust for selling information to the Hells for $125,000.

Charlebois was serving a life term for his part in a murder when he escaped from the St-François-de-Laval prison on Sept. 14, 2013, and hid in a chalet on Îlette-au-Pé, near Ste-Anne-de-Sorel.

On Sept. 26, the Sûreté du Québec had located him and were preparing to move in under cover of darkness. According to coroner Michel Massé, at 1:10 a.m. the SQ used a battering ram to smash in the door to the chalet and threw a flash-bang or percussion grenade onto the front balcony.

Charlebois answered with a single gunshot that struck the balcony. The SQ fired another percussion bomb into the chalet and heard a second gunshot from inside.

When officers stormed the house and the body was discovered in the bedroom, Charlebois had placed the gun barrel under his chin and pulled the trigger. The bullet’s exit wound was on the left side of his head at the cranium.

The shells of both shots, the one embedded in the balcony and the bullet that exited Charlebois’s body, were from the same 357 Magnum found beside his body.

The coroner’s report further showed that Charlebois was neither drunk nor stoned at the time of his death as no trace of alcohol or drugs was found in his system. He did not leave a note. His death was deemed a suicide.

Days later, police were made aware of a series of taped phone calls between Charlebois and Roberge where the confidential police information was passed along. These led to the arrest of Roberge.

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Anne Sutherland
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montrealgazette.com




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