“Constable Hierlihy played the ‘good cop’ who would be alone with Gregory Parsons and reassure him that there seems to be truth in his responses. Sergeant Singleton would then come in and ask “what kind of sick bastard would kill and rape their mother.”
— The 2006 report of the Lamer Commission of Inquiry Pertaining to the Cases of Ronald Dalton, Gregory Parsons and Randy Druken.
CBC reports that the man wrongfully convicted in the August 1991 murder of his mother is upset that the lead investigator in the case has been promoted.
Ab Singleton is now the No. 2 man in the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary, appointed deputy chief on June 16th.
Which makes Gregory Parsons livid.
“All you’re doing is rewarding incompetence,” Parsons told CBC News.
Singleton was the lead investigator in the Parsons case, but he also played a key role in the wrongful conviction of Randy Druken for the murder of his then-girlfriend, Brenda Marie Young, in 1993.
In 2006, the Lamer Inquiry concluded that poor police work and tunnel vision led to the wrongful convictions of Parsons and Druken.
Singleton was singled out in both cases.
GREGORY PARSONS CASE
Catherine Carroll was murdered in August 1991. She was found on the bathroom floor of her St. John’s home with 53 stab wounds to her body.
Ab Singleton was “lead investigator” — his first homicide case as lead investigator.
He made numerous mistakes, including his theory on how Parsons could have killed his mother, to the point of staging a “break-in” at her home on the night of her murder.
“The only support for such a (break-in) theory was his (Singleton’s) overwhelming personal certainty that Gregory Parsons was the murderer,” the Lamer report reads.
“When testifying before me, Sergeant Singleton acknowledged many of the errors documented in this chapter, agreed that his treatment of Gregory Parsons was improper, accepted responsibility and expressed his regret,” the report states.
Brian Doyle, Gregory Parsons’ childhood friend, pleaded guilty in November 2002 to a charge of second-degree murder in the killing of Catherine Carroll.
RANDY DRUKEN CASE
Brenda Marie Young was murdered in June 1993, almost two years after Catherine Carroll.
Young was found on the floor of her St. John’s home by her daughter Cindy, who was 9 years old at the time. Young, who had been stabbed 31 times, was naked from the waist down, with her underwear wrapped around her neck.
Singleton was not the lead investigator in that case, but played a “significant” role in the investigation, according to the Lamer report.
At one point, then-Staff-Sergeant Singleton prepared the “operational plan” for the arrest of Shirley Druken and John Ring, Randy Druken’s mother and step-father.
The two were charged with attempting to obstruct justice by providing a false alibi for their son on the night of Young’s murder.
In his report, Lamer wrote that Randy Druken should never have been charged with Brenda Young’s murder.
“The laying of the obstruction charges and related arrests were abusive,” Lamer wrote.
“The investigation and tunnel vision were driven mostly by Lieutenant Peddle but the other members of the investigation team, particularly Staff Sergeant Singleton, were willful passengers. This investigation occurred not long after the Catherine Carroll murder investigation and many of the same practices and attitudes prevailed.”
Druken served more than six years in prison for Brenda Marie Young’s murder.
DNA evidence later showed that Druken's now-deceased brother, Paul Druken, had been present at the crime scene.
James Lockyer, a lawyer with the Association in Defence of the Wrongfully Convicted, told CBC News it's alarming that Singleton played a key role in the wrongful convictions of not one, but two, men within a few years of each other.
"Given the limited number of homicides that happen in Newfoundland and Labrador and the fact that he played such a significant role in two of them and in convicting the wrong people, it really does raise huge questions about his appointment," Lockyer said.
He has a point.