February 18, 2019 10:00 pm
Updated: February 18, 2019 10:04 pm

Hunt continues for escaped Laval killer

An arrest warrant has been issued for Dénis Bégin, 58, who escaped Friday from a minimum security facility in Laval where he was serving a life sentence for second-degree murder. Saturday, Feb. 16, 2019

Correction Service Canada

Police continue to search for a convicted murderer who escaped from custody at a minimum-security federal facility north of Montreal last week.

Quebec provincial police, who are investigating the disappearance, believe Denis Bégin was likely headed to Gatineau or the surrounding Outaouais region in western Quebec.

Correctional Service Canada said Bégin, 58, was reported missing during a head count at 12:15 p.m. on Friday at the Federal Training Centre in Laval, Que.

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READ MORE: Police issue arrest warrant for escaped Laval convict, CSC investigating

He was sentenced to life after pleading guilty to second-degree murder in 2003 in the killing of 19-year-old Ricardo Gizzi on Halloween night, 1993.

Wearing a hockey mask, Bégin walked into a bar and shot Gizzi, who had also been wearing a hockey mask as part of a costume. According to reports at the time, patrons initially thought it was a Halloween joke when Bégin walked into the bar wearing a balaclava and hockey mask.

He was initially found guilty of first-degree murder by a jury in 1997, but that conviction was overturned and a new trial was ordered after he successfully argued that a statement he gave to police after his arrest was not “voluntary.”

The appellate court judgment outlined that he had confessed while agreeing to become an informant for Quebec’s anti-biker unit.

READ MORE: Ceremony held to remember boy killed in Montreal biker wars 20 years ago

Bégin testified at a 1998 trial that he had a long history with gangs and had information that could help solve many crimes, including the 1995 bombing that killed 11-year-old Daniel Desrochers, according to a Montreal Gazette report at the time.

The child was killed while playing near his home when a car bomb meant for a gang member exploded. The death came at the height of Quebec’s biker gang wars and is considered a turning point in the bloody battle between rival gangs. No one has been charged for the killing.

Bégin is five-foot-seven, weighs 180 pounds and has a surgical scar on his left arm.

© 2019 The Canadian Press

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