Canadian Taxi Driver Homicides: Donald Lanthier Previous page    Next page • Driver Profiles

Donald Lanthier

Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario / June 30, 1978


Mr. Lanthier, 24, drove for Steel City Cab. At about 11:45 p.m. on June 29, 1978, he was dispatched to the White Eagle Club. The caller specifically asked for cab number 6, but hung up when asked for his name.

At about 12:05 a.m. Mr. Lanthier reported his destination as 239 Third Line East. Around 2 a.m., when he still had not called in, the dispatcher became concerned and sent another driver to look for him at his destination. When this driver discovered that there was no such address the police were called.

Police found a blood smear on the grass at 275 Third Line East that led them to Mr. Lanthier's body in a depression about 90 feet from the road. He died partly due to strangulation and partly due to stab wounds to the heart and lungs. The marks on his throat indicated that he had been strangled with "nunchaka" sticks (two sticks connected by a piece of wire). The stab wounds were inflicted by two different knives. His wallet was empty (it had contained only $15).

Mr. Lanthier's bloodstained cab was found in a ravine about 370 feet from the body. A palm print and footprints were traced to two men, one of whom had possessed nunchaka sticks and usually carried a knife in his boot. One of the men also had a motive for revenge because a former girlfriend had left him for Mr. Lanthier. This man had threatened to "fix" Mr. Lanthier or "do him in".

Further investigation implicated a third man as having assisted in planning the crime by supplying the killers with Mr. Lanthier's cab number and by recruiting one of the two killers.

All three were convicted of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. In 1999 after an emotional parole hearing one of the killers, eligible for parole after 25 years (in 2003), was granted permission to apply for early parole.

The third man was sentenced to life with no possibility of parole for ten years. On appeal he was granted a new trial but a second jury also convicted him. A further appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada was turned down but he was released in 1987 after a Supreme Court decision in another case restricted the interpretation of section 21(2) of the Criminal Code. This section formerly allowed accomplices to be charged with murder on the grounds that they "ought to have known" the probably lethal consequences of the action they were participating in.