Steven Truscott was only fourteen years old when he was charged with the murder of his classmate.
The thought of being sentenced to death at 14 years old for a crime that one did not commit seems like an unfathomable condition for anyone. However, this was the bitter reality that Steven Truscott, who became Canada’s youngest death row inmate, the last title anyone would want to receive. This episode began unravelled in the summer of 1959 when young Truscott gave his friend Lynn Harper a ride on his bike. It must be noted that Truscott was the last person to be seen with Harper, thus, when she was found unconscious, the Harper’s autopsy result had concluded that she’d been strangled by her blouse, causing the blame to fall onto Truscott’s shoulders. In a trial that lasted a brief 15 days, Truscott was wrongfully sentenced to death for the rape and murder of Harper. He spent 4 months awaiting the death row, however, his punishment was shifted to a life sentence. In 1969, Truscott, who was 24 at the time, was granted parole, after nearly 10 years.
In spite of Truscott’s tragedy being an infamous criminal child case, his tale slipped through the cracks of the justice system. In the years to follow, it had seemed that Truscott had vanished, but was still shunned in the public eye. He finally broke his 40 year silence in 2000, where he admitted innocence. In compensation, Truscott has received 6.5 million dollars, a large sum of money yet a small solatium to remunerate for his suffering. His wife, who worked endlessly to exonerate him, was also compensated with $100 000. Truscott’s 50 year battle with the justice system finally resulted in his acquittal in 2007, when his case was ruled as a miscarriage of justice. However, no amount of money could ever truly compensate Steven for the terror of being sentenced to hang at the age of 14, the loss of his youth or the stigma of living for almost 50 years as a convicted murderer.