Canadian Taxi Driver Homicides: Jean-Claude Audette Previous page    Next page • Driver Profiles

Jean-Claude Audette

Montréal, Québec / March 12, 1994

Jean Claude Audette, 57, was parked on the cab stand at 32nd Avenue and Provost Street in Lachine when, shortly before 11:30 p.m., three young men got into his cab. A seventeen-year-old juvenile sat in the front seat while two others, aged 23 and 20, climbed into the back.

Earlier in the evening the three had planned a taxi robbery and scouted out the taxi stand at 32nd and Provost. The driver was to be directed to 32nd Avenue in neighboring LaSalle, where the robbery was to take place. Two more conspirators aged 18 and 20 were to be waiting nearby in a getaway car.

As soon as the cab came to a stop in LaSalle, all three passengers pulled guns and demanded Mr. Audette's money. The juvenile pointed a .22 calibre pistol at Mr. Audette's chest, while the other two pointed their weapons -- 9mm and .38 calibre handguns -- at Mr. Audette's head.

According to the juvenile Mr. Audette briefly hesitated before turning over his money. Then he grabbed the barrel of the juvenile's gun, or moved to push it away from his chest, and twice asked the juvenile why he was being robbed.

At that moment the juvenile saw a flash from the 20-year-old's gun and instinctively ducked. Eight more shots followed, four from the 20-year-old's 9mm and four from the juvenile's .22. Mr. Audette was hit five times. When the juvenile looked up, his two accomplices had fled and Mr. Audette was slumped against the steering wheel.

The three fugitives ran to the getaway car. The 20-year-old had been wounded in the shoulder by one of the bullets from the juvenile's .22 pistol. Not wanting to risk going to a Montréal hospital, the wounded man persuaded one of the getaway drivers and two friends of the driver to take him to Ottawa. As a cover story the four were to tell hospital staff that the wounded man had been shot at a telephone booth on the way to Ottawa.

The 20-year-old and the juvenile were both convicted of second degree murder. The 20-year-old was sentenced to life with eligibility for parole after ten years. The prosecution pressed to have parole eligibility delayed for 15 to 20 years because of the vulnerability of taxi drivers to crime, but in passing sentence the judge commented that "vulnerability to crime of a particular occupational group does not appear to have been retained by our courts as an exceptional circumstance justifying the extension of the period of ineligibility for parole".

The juvenile was sentenced to three years in prison and two years of supervised probation -- the maximum allowed under provisions of the Young Offenders Act.

Fellow drivers serve as pall bearers at Jean-Claude Audette's funeral. Taxi Lachine cabs flew black pennants from their radio antennas as a sign of mourning. (Source: La Presse, March 18, 1994, p. A3 Photo: Robert Nadon)

The 23-year-old accomplice, who was arrested while trying to enter the U.S. with false identification papers, was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to ten years. The two getaway drivers were convicted of armed robbery and conspiracy.

Mr. Audette had driven for Lachine Taxi for 20 years. He was survived by three sons (two of them taxi drivers for Lachine), three daughters and seven grandchildren. About 700 people attended the funeral. Out of respect for Mr. Audette his taxi company did not dispatch any trips between 9:30 and 11 a.m. on the day of the funeral.