Brianna details the last of the known serial killers to come out of Forest City. The Mad Slasher preyed on young women in and around Strathroy, Ontario, during the 1970s. Join us to hear why you should never hitchhike or opt for mutton chops.
In this episode
Welcome back to the dark side. I’m your host Brianna and Dyson is joining us for the third episode of our Forest City series.
This case starts in 1974. Here is some examples of how 1974 was straight up wildin’:
February 17 – Stampede at Zamalek Stadium in Cairo, the walls crumbled, and fans were crushed before the kick-off. Approximately 50 people died and 50 were injured. The stadium had a capacity of about 40,000, but 80,000 people tried to enter.
February 21 –Tim Horton dies at 44.
March 21 – Candy Darling (Transgender icon and Warhol Superstar) dies at 29 of lymphoma.
April 3–4 – A tornado outbreak strikes the central parts of America, killing around 319 people.
April 5 – A. Y. Jackson dies at 91.
May 24 – Duke Ellington dies at 75 in New York City of complications from lung cancer and pneumonia.
July 8 –The first casualty of an employee at a Disney Park happens when, 9 days after the ‘America Sings’ attraction opened, 18-year-old employee, Deborah Gail Stone, was crushed to her death.
July 15 – News anchor Christine Chubbuck puts a gun to her head and pulls the trigger on-air in Sarasota, Florida, and later died in hospital. “In keeping with Channel 40’s policy of bringing you the latest in ‘blood and guts’, and in living color, you are going to see another first – attempted suicide.”
September 8 – TWA Flight 841 takes off from Athens, but crashes into the Ionian Sea 18 minutes after takeoff when a bomb explodes in the cargo hold, killing 88 people.
November 13 – Ronald DeFeo Jr. murders his entire family in their home in Amityville on Long Island.
And, finally, in March of 1974, Forest City spits out another serial killer – ‘The Mad Slasher’.
Active serial killers, sexual offenders; crimes like this were now commonplace in Forest City and the surrounding areas. Southwest of London, ON is the small town of Strathroy. Like London, it’s part of Middlesex County and the two are separated by stretches of farms spanning a few miles. In 1974, the population was less than 7,000, and it was a quaint and safe town, where residents had always prided themselves in its not being London. But it was only a matter of time before the areas immediately surrounding London were tainted as well.
It’s 9 pm on March 1, 1974, and the Mad Slasher spots 19-year-old Judith Barksey leaving a local pizza joint. Judith is juggling a pizza, bottles of soda, and a chocolate bar, and has no idea she’s being watched. She just wants to get back to her apartment, so she’s going to take a shortcut between a vacant lot of a warehouse and the train station. The Mad Slasher, a brazen opportunist, pursues Judith. Off the main road now, she realizes she’s being followed. She keeps looking back at him and each time he’s a bit closer. Suddenly, she hauls ass for the nearby phone booth, dropping her items in the process. She’s running so hard and fast that her shoes fly off, but she makes it, she has the phone in her hand, but then she’s grabbed by the hair, thrown to the ground, and a jackknife slashes her throat from ear to ear before she has the chance to scream for help, let alone call 911. Now, she’s bleeding to death, and the Slasher sexually assaults her and steals the little change she has in her pocket.
She would lie there on the freezing pavement for nearly two days before her body was discovered.
On the morning of March 3rd, a man cutting across the property of the warehouse finds the frozen body of Judith. He sees a trail consisting of a blood-spattered pizza box, some pop bottles, a chocolate bar, and a pair of shoes, leading to a nearby phone booth with its door wide open and the receiver off the hook.
7 months later, in June of 1975, the Slasher sees 18-year-old Rosalie Winters. He approaches her and they talk for a second and he learns she’s headed to Alexandra Park. Instead of being normal and cool, he tells her his intention was to rape her, so he strangled her to subdue her, but when the Slasher tried to rip her pants off, the zipper broke, so he couldn’t get them off. Pissed off, he strangled her into unconsciousness, assaulted her over her jeans, and left her on the side of the road. She was later found conscious and hysterical, but she survives her ordeal with the Mad Slasher.
4 months later, at 5 pm on October 20, 1975, Louise Jenner’s husband comes home to find his 19-year-old wife lying in a pool of blood on the kitchen floor.
Police were called to the scene and investigators knew that the man Louise let into the house had quickly overpowered her, raped her, and then allowed her to redress herself. Investigators have speculated this was a cruel ruse to make her think she would survive the attack.
In reality, the assailant was probably using the additional time to plan what to do next. What did he do next? He pulled out his bootlace and strangled Louise unconscious. As she lay on the kitchen floor defenseless, just like he did with Judith Barksey, the intruder proceeded to slash her throat from ear to ear with a jackknife. Investigators firmly believed that Louise was specifically targeted and knew her attacker. But, as quickly as he managed to complete his attack, he was gone with no physical evidence left behind.
Police canvas the area and talk to neighbours. An eyewitness said they saw a man with dark, shoulder-length hair pull into Louise’s driveway that afternoon driving a yellow or cream-coloured, late-model Oldsmobile. The man walked up to the house, knocked on the door, and Louise let the man in.
Strathroy and OPP detectives start cross-referencing names of locals and people who knew both Judith and Louise, physically matched the description given by the eyewitness, and had access to a car matching the description.
The police had a list of possible suspects, so they started bringing them in for questioning, but there was no evidence, no one confessed to anything, and being a common denominator in a small town where everyone knows everyone else wasn’t enough to hold or charge anyone. The Mad Slasher was one of the people questioned.
It’s November 3rd, 1975, and the Slasher is clearly unfazed by the interrogation that just took place because as he’s cruising around, he picks up a 19-year-old hitchhiker named Sylvia Jennings.
Ever the opportunist, instead of taking her where she asked, he drives her to an isolated road near Mount Brydges, a tiny town southeast of Strathroy, and demands she take off her clothes. Sylvia hesitates so he rips them off and she fights back. She’s no match for the Slasher, who subdues her and sexually assaults her.
Afterward, he choked her into unconsciousness, fractured her skull with a bottle, and dumps her in a ditch on the side of the road.
Incredibly, Sylvia regains consciousness, flags down help, and is able to provide police with a description of the perpetrator – a white dude with dark, shoulder-length hair and mutton chops.
Mutton Chops obviously learned a thing or two from the interrogation with the police the previous October: pick random strangers as victims rather than acquaintances and be sure to leave no witnesses.
On the afternoon of June 15, 1976, 15-year-old Susan Scholes is dropped off at a convenience store in Forest by her brother Geoffrey so she can pick up batteries for her portable radio. She heads down County Road 12 to hitchhike into Hillsborough Beach, 7 minutes away, where her parents had a cottage.
The next day at 2:15 pm, a farmhand found Susan’s partially nude body in a field by a forest.
He called the police, they investigated the scene, and concluded Susan had been viciously sexually assaulted, strangled into unconsciousness with her halter top, stabbed in the throat, chest, and back, and there was a 20cm laceration on her lower stomach. This was the most savage mutilation of his victims. In Mutton Chop’s twisted mind, the girl was far enough removed from him and was found far enough outside of town that there was no way the police would connect the murder to him this time.
OPP investigators start by speaking to locals. They speak with a local forklift driver who saw Susan as he was slowly driving down County Road 12. She was standing on the side of the road with her thumb out, hitchhiking. The man looked back and watched as the girl got into a 1975 Ford pickup that he recognized as belonging to a Strathroy man who held the contract for collecting the area’s roadkill.
Investigators followed up on this lead, spoke to the guy that owned the company who contracted the people to collect roadkill, and confirmed with investigators that the roadkill dude in question was indeed from Strathroy and his name was Christian Magee. It was a name that resonated with detectives because the previous October, they had hauled him in for questioning in relation to the murders of Judith Barksey and Louise Jenner but had let him go because there was no evidence, and he didn’t confess to anything.
Christian Herbert Harold Magee was born in London, ON in 1948. In his own words, he was “born into an abusive, loveless home”. His life was full of emotional and physical abuse at the hands of everyone in the household.
His parents chastised him constantly, telling him he would never amount to anything.
He had no self-esteem and when he was young, he walked around with his head down so much that his mother got him to curl his arms through a broom behind his back to force his head up.
An older brother frequently beat him up.
His criminal history began at 12 when he committed his first offense, raping a 10-year-old girl. One source said this was his sister.
He was illiterate and dropped out of school when he was 16 because his father told him he had to work to help support the family. He had a drinking problem from an early age.
As an adult, he lived in Cairngorm, ON, southwest of Strathroy, with his wife and 3 children. His marriage wasn’t good, and he wanted “affection” from his wife who wouldn’t give it to him.
After following up on the lead from the forklift man and confirming Mutton Chops was the local roadkill guy and had the exact truck seen picking up Susan, police went to talk to him. Chops said he did pick Susan up, but he dropped her off safely. Investigators searched the truck he was driving that day and found that the filleting knife was missing. They arrested him on June 16, 1976.
He was originally charged with murdering and assaulting Susan Lynn Scholes, but Detective Sergeant Murray Peer of the OPP said the additional charges were a result of interrogations and an investigation by Strathroy Police and OPP. In total, Chops was charged with 3 counts of first-degree murder, 1 count of attempted murder, and 2 counts of rape and strangulation.
The trial took place in Sarnia in October 1977. Mutton Chops was found not guilty by reason of insanity and sent to the maximum-security Penetanguishene Mental Health Centre, where he’d soon be joined by Crusty Rusty.
Psychiatrists interviewed Mutton Chops endlessly about his crimes.
About Judith Barksey, Chops said he spotted her by chance and in the few blocks he followed her; he had made up his mind he was going to rape her. He said, “I talked myself into it. I was fantasizing more and more as I walked behind her, building up the courage, the desire, the want.” He claims he didn’t see her face until he grabbed her and realized he’d have to kill her because she knew him and could identify him to the police.
When she struggled, Magee took out his jackknife and slashed her throat, earning him the media nickname he apparently hates. Once he had murdered, assaulted, and robbed Judith, he went home where he washed the jackknife in front of his wife.
About Louise Jenner, he said she was an acquaintance and since he was “in the area” of her home he wanted to drop in and say hi. When she actually answered the door and invited him inside, he attacked, and again, since she could identify him, he murdered her.
Chops told psychiatrists that he was confused by sex and love, believing that forcing sex on someone could get him the affection he desperately wanted.
Psychiatrists eventually diagnosed Mutton Chops with a psychosexual disorder with classic sexual sadism including fantasies of torture, necrophilia, cannibalism, and dismemberment and anti-social personality disorder.
However, a 2004 psychiatric re-assessment of Chops confirmed that he still harbours deep-seated erotophonophilic and necrophilic fantasies with cannibalistic impulses.
In May 2005, Chop’s wanted to be transferred from maximum security to medium-security, and his lawyer took these arguments to the Ontario Review Board:
1) Mutton Chop’s wants to be transferred to a medium-security facility in London with access to outpatient programs (they stress reintegration into society) so he can work on a “controlled exit” (starting with weekend passes to visit his family), just to show society that he can be trusted. He wants to meet people, friends, and women.
2) he claimed he was sorry for what he did, and he wants to make amends by meeting the relatives of his victims so they can vent their anger at him.
3) Chops has learned a trade (woodworking) which has given him confidence.
4) He’s raised more than $25,000 for charity by donating his woodwork at auctions.
5) Chops even sponsors a student in Ethiopia who is studying to become a nurse.
6) AND he’s found God. He claims that God uses him to help people.
The argument against release was the following:
1) Chop’s wanting to be transferred to a London facility so he’s closer to his family is ridiculous because his family is terrified of him and don’t want to see him AND he’ll be right back at the scene of the crimes. So, if he were to be released for day or weekend passes, he’d be free to visit the scene of the crimes.
and 2) a report from a clinical team of specialists describing Mutton Chops as a sexual sadist with an antisocial personality disorder who has a 76 percent chance of reoffending were he to be released AND during a litany of tests they concluded that rape scenes arouse him more than pictures of consensual sex, and he has highly sadistic rape fantasies that have come to include cannibalism and erotic attractions to his sister and adult daughter.
And the cherry on top? The family of the victims was pissed because no one even told them that the Ontario Review Board was hearing Mutton Chop’s out, and the case included the possibility of transferring to a facility right next to them.
The Ontario Review Board did not grant Mutton Chop’s request to be transferred to London. They granted him permission to transfer to the medium-security Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, instead.
When the administration at Oakridge heard the Ontario Review Board had granted Mutton Chop’s request for transfer, they immediately appealed the decision to the Attorney General who agreed that his level of dangerousness has not subsided, thankfully, cancelled the permission to transfer.
In 2006, most likely bitter that he wasn’t allowed to leave maximum security, Chop’s said: “The reality is I’ll always have the problem, but now I can recognize the symptoms and take preventative measures — stop myself – before it happens again. If I were in the same situation now, I would just walk away if I got those thoughts. Now I would be able to recognize the warning signs and stop myself before anything happened. Back then I couldn’t do that. I was sent here because I have an illness. I didn’t understand that then. I do now. I would have been out years ago had I been found guilty at a criminal trial and given the mandatory life sentence. We’re a compassionate country. That’s the way our system is set up. I can never repay my debt to society. But in Canada, you’re supposed to be given a second chance. We ain’t criminals, that’s supposed to be the difference between this place and the correctional system.”
In 2006, a person claiming to be Magee’s child posted the following message on tocrime.blogspot.com: “I can say in my heart I feel this man should stay right where he is at. I am scared day after day of this man. He has tried contacting me and if he gets out ever, I feel that I am in danger and so is my family. My prayers go out to those families he hurts I wish there was something I could do. I will continue fighting anyone who is trying to get him out. I ask everyone and anyone to please support me in my fight, not just for the safety of me and my family but for the safety of yours.”
As far as I know, he applies for a transfer and temporary releases, but they’re denied each time, and he’s still behind the walls of the maximum-security branch of Waypoint in Penetanguishene, with Crusty Rusty.
Thirteen of the murders during this period in and around Forest City are accounted for.
Mutton Chops was the first serial killer case to be solved in Forest City. Crusty Rusty would be the second, in 1978. Even though Gerald Archer was found guilty and technically the first to be sent to prison in June 1971, he was only sentenced for murdering Belva Russell. DNA wouldn’t solve Jane Wooley’s case until 2000, and Edith Authier is unofficially credited to him but still unsolved, he’s technically the third serial killer case to be resolved.
Crusty Rusty took the lives of Mary Catherine Hicks, Alice Jane Ralston, Eleanor Diane Hartwick, Doris Ethel Brown, Diane Beitz, Luella George, and Donna Veldboom.
Dennis Reynolds took the lives of Jane Wooley, Edith Authier, and Belva Russell.
Mutton Chops took the lives of Judith Ann Barksey, Louise Jenner, and Susan Lynn Scholes.
It provides no comfort to know there are still unsolved murders attributable to at least three unidentified serial murderers. One day I’ll dive into those remaining cases, but for now, I need to leave Forest City and its cross-contamination.
No idea what the next case will be, but it’ll probably be something less graphic. Soon Steph will be back on the show. She’s researching interesting cases where birthdays and hopefully birth times are available so we can have her back soon and dive into their charts and the skies.
Mercury went into retrograde on the 14th, and since this podcast has astrological aspects, I asked Steph to send me something about this retrograde to end this episode with.
Mercury is stationed conjunct Saturn, so with the new year, a lot of people have certain goals and resolutions they are working toward, but it’s a good idea to be realistic and not take on more than you can handle. If you aren’t being realistic and practical this retrograde will show the faults with your expectations, so it allows for an opportunity to re-evaluate and take a more reasonable approach to truly accomplishing your goals.
This Mercury retrograde will be influenced by the Venus retrograde pattern and Saturn’s strong presence, so it’s also a good time to work on old projects and relationships and figure out how to make them work. You should also accept or consider outside help.
Lastly, remember to be extra smart with spending money and long-term decision-making.
Thank you everyone for tuning in this week. If you like the show please rate, review, subscribe, follow, all that jazz. Be sure to visit our website, darkadaptationpodcast.ca where you can further support the show by buying us a coffee if your lovely little heart’s desire, follow us on Instagram @darkadaptationpodcast, share the show with the spooky bitches in your life, Spotify, wherever. Thank you for the support and kind words, and we’ll catch you on the dark side.