30 Jan He breathed a sigh of relief when he heard Philip Boudreau was dead
I first wrote about the sordid background to the Petit-de-Grat manslaughter case here and here. My posts touched off the busiest two days in Contrarian’s six-year history, with more than 100,000 visits.
It also touched off a letter-writing war between supporters of both men in the deeply divided community. You can read a selection here and here. I received dozens more letters—about four to one in support of Landry—but decided not to run them out of concern the village will need decades to heal without Contrarian making matters worse.
In light of Chief Justice Joseph Kennedy’s excessive sentence, I will run one more letter, because it illustrates the depths of emotion and fear that gave rise to this terrible crime. It comes from a man who left Petit-de-Grat many years ago, but “breathed a sigh of relief” when he found out Philip Boudreau was dead.
Note: I have redacted some passages from the letter, marking my deletions with brackets, “”. The letter writer uses ellipses (…) in the text, and I have left these in place. They do not mark deletions.
Thank you for actually being impartial and allowing the people of PDG to tell the real story in a way where they still feel safe. My letter is not about the trial or the murder, but it is regarding the way many other journalist/newspapers have portrayed Phillip like some poor innocent victim so the world can feel sorry for him. Although, I listen to what others say, I have never spoken about him to anyone in many years and this will be my one and only letter as I choose to never discuss this man again.
I moved away from Petit-de-Grat a long time ago, not completely but partially because of Phillip Boudreau and all his threats towards me. I didn’t feel safe so I left the only home I had to start a new life where I had no one, but it was very far away from him and his entourage so, Thankfully, I have lived my life in peace and happiness. I can’t say that I have known him for the last few years as I avoid going home. I always hoped that he would eventually change, grow up and realize he could be a productive member of society, but I still speak to many people down home. Of course people talk and that never happened so I never felt safe enough to visit very often.
I don’t know James or the other men much so I am not going to defend them or what they did, but I will say, I breathed a sign of relief when I found out Phillip was gone. I know that sounds terrible and I am sorry for that but he took away my sense of safety. I only ever visited home when he was in prison or away which he hadn’t been in years so I refuse to come home making excuses to my family and friends that I was busy with work or it was too expensive. As I write this, I am still afraid [some people] will find out who I am and how relieved I feel he is gone because I believe they are capable of doing something to harm my family that I have still living in the area.
For all the people who criticize the brave people who are coming forward and actually speaking of how terrible Phillip was, there is a reason we are anonymous.
[F]rankly I am surprised it took someone this long before being broken down by Phillip. Many of us expected something like this to happen years ago.
The reason the letters are anonymous are very simple. People are scared. I would never want anyone to know who I am or that I feel relieved this man is no longer living. Why? It is very simple. [Some people] would retaliate and torment those people to no end. People still don’t feel safe.
Apparently there were a lot of people at the funeral. That doesn’t mean he was loved and respected by everyone there. Many people went to his funeral out of fear that others would notice and come after them.
Growing up, we were all scared of him and yes, the minute he was out of jail, we all knew, and that was it. The doors were locked and our curfews were cut shorter because our parents didn’t want us out at night anymore. The safety we all felt in our small little town of PDG disappeared every time Phillip and his entourage were around.
To the good people of PDG, I understand why you won’t speak out. I understand why you remain quiet and write anonymous letters. To some of you who defend him in public, even though you don’t in private, I understand why you are lying to protect yourself. You are not cowards. Don’t let anyone make you feel that way. Every one has the right to protect themselves. I understand. I understand if you felt a little relieved, I did. I understand if you feel guilty because you felt relieved. I’m not supporting the way his life ended, it was terrible… but I also can’t say I’m surprised. People will continue to speak of this in hush tones behind locked doors and that doesn’t make you a bad person or a coward, it just makes you a scared person with enough common sense to know what these people are capable of right now because emotions are still very high.
I hope once these trials are over, maybe a few years down the road, maybe then, you can push all this negativity behind you and move on to a being the kind of community who watches out for each other instead of having to watch each other. Maybe!
You can see how hard it will be for this community to heal. The judicial system isn’t helping.