July 5, 1946
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Donald Staley stabs 11-year-old Garry Billings to death, sexually assaulting the child before and after death
Staley, a 29-year-old Canadian veteran, had befriended Garry and another boy on July 4, giving them gifts of candy and money. He asked the children to accompany him the next day, which they agreed to. The other boy came to collect Garry to meet their new friend, but was disappointed to find that Garry had left without him. No one saw Garry alive again. He was missing for weeks.
Less than three weeks later, on July 24, 6-year-old Donnie Gross disappeared from a park. His battered body (he had been beaten over his head, chest, and neck as well as stabbed 9 times) was discovered within 24 hours of his disappearance. Donnie had been sexually assaulted before and after his death. It was around this time the decomposing body of Garry Billings was discovered in a shallow grave; he has been strangled and stabbed to death, and was also sexually assaulted before and after death.
Staley was arrested for various theft-related charges, and a case was built around him after he was identified by Garry Billings’ friend. When approached about the murder, Staley confessed to it and to the murder of Donnie Gross, which surprised investigators (the two murders had been approximately 600 miles from each other and had not been connected by police).
Staley was convicted by a jury of his peers and executed publicly on December 18, 1946, along with 4 German POWs.
Staley’s mug shot