Quebec’s highest court has blocked the extradition of a 20-year-old Montreal man wanted in Florida in connection with the murder of his friend’s uncle, saying the penalty he would receive in the U.S. if convicted may be too severe.
U.S. prosecutors claim that in 2007, when Francis Doyle Fowler was 16-years-old , he helped murder his friend’s uncle, bury the man’s body and try to get rid of his truck.
Fowler and his friends allegedly bragged about the crimes to a man who later notified police in Florida.
Fowler, who holds both U.S. and Canadian citizenship, left Florida to live with his mother in Montreal after the killing.
In 2009, U.S. officials applied to extradite Fowler so he could be tried in Florida. Canada originally agreed to extradite him but a month later the Quebec Court of Appeals ordered the federal justice minister to revisit the decision.
Canada’s justice minister had agreed to extradite Fowler after U.S. officials said they’d charge him with second degree murder avoiding the death penalty.
In Canada, Fowler would serve no more than seven years because he was a juvenile but in Florida there is no parole for juveniles or adults. The state abolished its parole system four years before the murder.
The appeal court said the minister didn’t pay attention when Fowler’s lawyers pointed that out.
The court has ruled Canada should only return Fowler to the U.S. if the federal minister is given assurances from the U.S. that Fowler, if convicted, would be paroled in a reasonable amount of time.
One of Fowler’s alleged accomplices, who was 19 at the time of the crimes, has already been sentenced to 40 years in a U.S. prison.
This article was published by CBC News Canada on July 15, 2011.
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