Roger Allan Williams, a Canadian poet, was born in Edmonton, Alberta just after WW-II. His parents, Felton Williams (an American GI) and Beatrice Hernstedt met in Edmonton the Spring of 1944. After the war, Roger’s dad walked out on Beatrice and baby Roger. Instead, he married another Edmonton girl, Tykiena “Kaye” Charuk, and the newlyweds settled in Daytona Beach, Florida where Felton began his career as a building contractor and architect.

All alone, Beatrice struggled to make ends meet; she forced to leave Roger with relatives Alberta, and moved to Vancouver in 1947. By 1950, Beatrice married Gordon Stephan and after settling into a small home on Rupert Street in Vancouver, she sent for Roger who she hadn’t seen in years. During the 1950’s Roger’s family grew with three new half-sisters: Valerie Mae, Marlene and Donna. By the mid 1960’s Roger was becoming a rebellious teenager. He grew restless in that tiny house on Rupert Street where he was forced to serve as babysitter, housekeeper and big-brother to his younger sisters. His step-dad, Gordon Stephan, a quiet man who worked hard to support the family as a foreman for the City of Vancouver, never really accepted Roger as his son and Beatrice struggled to deal with three young toddlers and an older, increasingly difficult teenaged son.

In 1965, a beautiful girl from the neighborhood caught Roger’s eye one day in Falaise Park. Her name was Linda Ann Wood and she lived a few blocks away with her strict parents, Reginald and Evelyn Wood. The two quickly became an item and adored one another, seemingly the “perfect couple”. As time passed however, Linda grew tired of Roger’s mood swings and obsessive ways. Finally in April 1968 Linda broke off their engagement, devastating Roger-sending him into a deep depression. As the weeks worn on, Roger’s depression morphed into a rage with deadly consequences.

On the evening of April 8, 1968 Roger showed up at Linda’s house, begging for one last chance. Linda, and her parents, had decided that it was best they part ways, making a clean break. What happen next is uncertain, all that we can be sure of is that Linda lie dead in a pool of blood on her back porch, having been stabbed over 14 times in her neck, face, chest and arms. In November, 1968 a judge sentenced Roger to life in prison for the murder of Linda Ann Wood. Many probably think that is the end of a tragic story. But, it was just the beginning–the start of a new chapter in Roger’s life.

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Roger, Beatrice Stephan & sisters Valerie, Donna, Marlene and Kelly (Matsqui Prison,1975)


 

 

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