Winnipeg Cab History / 79: Murder and Mayhem (2)
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Johann (Jo) Johnson, 43, was the second Manitoba taxi driver in six months to be murdered while on the job.


"Soldiers Find Body Of Driver," Winnipeg Tribune, April 1, 1946, p. 1.

Winnipeg Cab History / 79

Murder and Mayhem (2)

Six months after the murder of Arthur Badger, another taxi driver, Johann (Jo) Johnson, was killed in very similar circumstances. Once again the scene of the attack was a sparsely-populated suburban area, and once again the victim was savagely beaten with a blunt instrument.

On Sunday morning, March 31, 1946, two soldiers discovered Johnson's dark blue 1940 Chrysler stuck in the mud about 70 metres east of Kenaston Avenue. His bludgeoned body was lying nearby

Johnson was a 43-year-old Icelander who came to Winnipeg in 1922. He had been an owner-operator with United Taxi since 1937. A receipt for $79, made out to Johnson for the care of his estranged wife in the Selkirk mental institution, was found about a kilometre from his body.

The footprints of a woman with only one shoe were eventually identified as belonging to Mrs. Helen Berard. She was arrested as a material witness and spent the next month in jail being questioned by Winnipeg police detectives. She ultimately identified Lawrence Deacon as the killer.

After two sensational trials Deacon was convicted of murder and sentenced to death. However, during the two years that Deacon spent behind bars public opinion began to shift in his favour.

Many people came to believe that Deacon was convicted on highly dubious evidence and that the prejudice of the judges in both trials had unduly influenced the juries. Ten thousand people signed a petition in support of clemency for Deacon but the federal cabinet refused to intervene and he was hanged at Headingley Gaol on April 16, 1948.

For more information on the Jo Johnson murder, see "Canadian Taxi Driver Homicides: Johann (Jo) Johnson" ( on


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