Wrongfully convicted of murder
Many people may be familiar with the Steven Truscott case; he was wrongfully convicted of murder in the 1950s in Canada. Or Steven Avery, whose story of wrongful conviction was made popular by a documentary television series.
Well, there is a man in northern Ontario who went through a similar experience.
His case is not as well known, but Ron Moffat’s story is now being told in a new book.
In 1956, a 7-year-old boy was murdered in Toronto and Ron Moffat, then 14, was convicted of the crime and sent to juvenile detention.
“It was just terrifying. I thought I was never going to get out of there. Then the guards telling me when I turned 18 they would take me back to Toronto and hang me. That was really terrifying." said Moffat.
He says for years after being acquitted of the crime, he suffered, unable to hold a job, and going in and out of psychiatric hospitals.
"The judge, even at my acquittal, said I deserved it because I confessed. Well geez, the confession was coerced by two big brawny detectives in my face, a 14-year-old boy in a little eight by eight room, threatening you with violence." said Moffat.
His story is not well known because he was tried as a minor, something Nate Hendley, the author of the book called The Boy on the Bicycle, says intrigued him.
“No one knew who Ron Moffatt was. His case had actually been largely forgotten. When it was remembered at all, it was usually remembered in conjunction with serial killer Peter Woodcock, who was the actual culprit responsible for the murder that Ron Moffatt was arrested and convicted for." said Hendley.
Moffatt eventually settled in Sault Ste. Marie and spent nearly 20 years as a caretaker with the Algoma District School Board.
"I loved being around the kids. I love kids, eh, especially little ones. They're funny, eh?” said Moffat.
Now 76, Moffatt says it was difficult recalling the events for the book, but he says it was therapeutic and lifted a great weight off his shoulders.