Born: 1917, Quebec
Died: 1951, Quebec
Joseph Albert Guay was the youngest of five children and extremely spoiled. As a young man, he sold watches and jewelry on commission and, when World War II broke out, he got a job at Canadian Arsenals Limited at St. Malo. There he met his wife, Rita Morel. The arsenal closed in 1945 and Guay opened a jewelry and watch repair shop.
Albert and Rita fought often, particularly after the birth of their first and only child. He was jealous and possessive, his business wasn't going well, and debts were piling up. Then Guay met 17-year-old Marie-Ange Robitaille.
They began dating, Guay using the assumed name of Roger Angers, and eventually he bought her an engagement ring. When Rita found out, she confronted the pair in the Robitailles' living room. Guay took Marie-Ange to Sept-Iles where they lived together for a time but the young girl finally left him, citing his marriage as the reason.
Guay was devastated and devised a plan to get rid of his wife. With the help of Genereux Ruest, an employee with a talent for mechanical work, he designed and constructed a timed bomb. On 9 September 1949, he convinced Rita to fly to Baie-Comeau to pick up some items for the store and, at the airport, took out an additional insurance policy on his wife in the amount of $10,000. Before the Canadian Pacific Airlines DC-3 left the ground, Ruest's sister, Marguerite Pitre, air-freighted a package containing the bomb and it was placed in the forward baggage compartment.
The bomb exploded 41 miles into the trip, killing all 23 people on board.
Pitre confessed ten days after the explosion while in the hospital recovering from a suicide attempt. Guay, Ruest, and Pitre were arrested and eventually hanged for their crimes. At the time, it was the worst mass murder in North America.
Author Roger Lemelin, friend and neighbour of Guay, based his novel, Le crime d'Ovide Plouffe, on the story. Denys Arcand turned the novel into a movie.
Added 31 August 2003.