[nccn.issues] Lee Colgan Didn't Confess

lorrilee@yunccn.UUCP (Lorrilee McGregor) (08/02/89)

The Pas, Man. (CP) - Lee Colgan never directly confessed to the slaying
of Helen Betty Osborne, his former boss told Manitoba's native justice
inquiry yesterday.
  However, Colgan made "a confession of sorts" 18 years ago, Arthur
Fishman admitted.
  Colgan worked after school in Fishman's clothing store at the time of
Osborne's brutal murder in 1971.  Fishman was called to testify at the
inquiry's probe into why it took 16 years to bring the murder case to
  "No, he did not confess to me," Fishman told the inquiry.
  "He did not at any time admit that he was involved with Betty Osborne.
 If he had, I would have gone to the police immediately."
  However, under cross examination, Fishman said Colgan did tell him
that he and his friends picked up a native girl for sex on the night of
the murder.
  But the store owner, 62, said there was no talk of killing the girl
and Osborne's name was never mentioned.
  The native justice inquiry has resumed its investigation into
Osborne's death after a month-long break.  The shy native student was
sexually assaulted and stabbed 56 times with a screwdriver just outside
of town.
  Fishman, who remained calm under often intense questioning, denied
much of what he is quoted as saying in a book on the case by reporter
Lisa Priest, Conspiracy of Silence.
  "I can state that I probably did discuss something of this nature, but
I think she enlarged upon it,"  said Fishman.
  He was interviewed in 1988 by Priest, a reporter with The Winnipeg Free
  Fishman was not quoted by name in the book, but some of the
information presented in it was obtained from him, Priest told the
 She said the businessman recounted one incident in which Colgan told
employees at the store about the killing.
  "He (Colgan) said that he, Norman Manger, Dwayne Johnston and Jim
Houghton had picked up the girl and yanked her into the car," the book
  "As the employees gaped, he said he and the guys had driven her out to
Houghton's cabin, hoping she would 'put out' but she had resisted
fiercely.  They had taken her to another location, where they had
'finished her'."
  But the businessman denied he told Priest about the scene.
  Johnston was convicted of second-degree murder in 1987 and will
testify next week at the inquiry.  Houghton was acquitted based on
Colgan's testimony.
  Colgan was given immunity from prosecution in exchange for his help.
  Manger was never charged.
  Within three or four months of the murder, it was common knowledge in
The Pas that the four teenagers were involved in the murder, Fishman
  "But mostly, what I heard was hearsay."