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Canadian hitman admits killing 27

Gerald Gallant (bearded) in court (artist's sketch of an undated hearing from the CBC website)
People who knew Gallant described him as inconspicuous

A Canadian contract killer already jailed for one murder has confessed to 27 other killings and 12 attempted murders at his trial in Quebec.

Gerald Gallant pleaded guilty to the crimes, committed in the course of three decades, as part of a plea deal.

His victims included bikers and alleged members of organised crime groups, as well as innocent bystanders.

Gallant, 58, was caught in 2006 after fleeing to Europe when detectives linked him to a 2001 killing.

Having turned police informer, he will not get additional jail time for his other crimes and is eligible to apply for parole in 25 years.

Under his plea deal, he is barred from writing a book or making a film about his crimes, but prosecutors said he would receive protection and would be given $50 (US $40, £28) a month to spend at the prison canteen.

Quebec has been wracked by drug-related turf wars between motorcyclist gangs.

'I regret the hurt'

Gallant's unintentional victims included a waitress he wounded in 2000 while killing Robert Savard, an associate of the Hells Angels motorcycle gang, who was using her as a human shield.


He looked like an ordinary Joe, hard to identify in a crowd as someone who would commit crimes

Andre Marcoux
Mayor of Donnacona, interviewed by the National Post

In 1999, he mistakenly shot dead a private detective living in an apartment formerly occupied by his intended target.

Gallant apologised before survivors and relatives of his victims in court on Tuesday.

"I regret the hurt I have caused the victims and their families," he said.

"I understand that forgiving will be difficult, maybe even impossible. I accept that. I agreed to co-operate with police in order to repair the damage I caused and to seek forgiveness."

Acting on information provided by the killer, police arrested 10 people across Quebec last week in connection with dozens of biker-related murders.

Gallant fled to Europe after police found a sample of his DNA on a glass in a restaurant in Quebec which linked him to the murder of a bar-owner in Ste-Adele, north of Montreal.

He was eventually arrested in Switzerland and pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in February 2008.

'Clean-cut'

The mayor of Donnacona, a town near Quebec where Gallant lived for 20 years, has described the killer as an inconspicuous man with a fondness for cycling.

"He went pretty much unnoticed," Andre Marcoux told Canada's National Post last week.

"He was clean-cut, had clean cars and a tidy home. He rode his bicycle a lot.

"He looked like an ordinary Joe, hard to identify in a crowd as someone who would commit crimes."

Gallant, who often shot his victims down in bars or restaurants, reportedly received his "contracts" on pieces of paper passed to him inside a church.

Correspondents note that while Gallant is one of Canada's most prolific known killers, he is not the worst to date.

That dubious distinction goes to Yves (Apache) Trudeau, one of the founding members of the Hells Angels in Quebec, who was sentenced to life in prison in 1986 over 43 counts of manslaughter.



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