On April 9, 2009, Wyatt Evan Prince committed a home invasion and savagely murdered Paul Rouxel. Thinking back now on the craziness which that event brought to my life, I am reminded of a quote from Jack Nicholson as the Joker. He famously asked: “Did you ever dance with the devil in the pale moonlight?” Well, I did. I was an intricate part of jailing a killer, Operation Wyatt Prince.
Operation Wyatt Prince
The seeds for Operation Wyatt Prince [not the official police operational designation] were planted at about 2:00 A.M. on the morning of April 10, 2009. That is the time when Prince had come to my apartment and told me he had murdered Paul during a home invasion with two other guys. It was not until some fifteen months later that those seeds actually flowered into a full fledged undercover operation. That operation culminated with Prince’s arrest for murder on October 4, 2010. Between those events is a story of stress, anguish, and danger.
My roommate had no idea. Nor did anyone else outside of a select few police officers have a clue that there was an operation to catch a killer afoot.
Allow me to make it absolutely clear right now. Up until Wyatt Prince was arrested, my roommate had zero knowledge of the fact that I had called the police about the murder. And she had zero knowledge that I had been working with the police to see Prince arrested and prosecuted for his crime. Furthermore, there was no way for her to intuit any of the above. That’s because she was too busy running the streets with Prince while she supported his drug habit and hers. He couldn’t even man up enough to support himself. I was raised that a man supports his woman, not visa versa.
The Times Colonist printed my roommate’s name and my name. It also publicized that I was a paid police agent to help convict Wyatt Prince. It even got the amount I was paid wrong.
Contrary to inaccurate and irresponsible reporting by the Louise Dickson of the Times Colonist, reporting which it refused for some two years to pull from the internet. But finally, under pressure from this blog, did pull it, absent any apology. The reality is I was paid $35,000, not $40,000. Seventy percent of that was due to me when Prince was arrested. The remaining thirty percent was to be paid when the appeal period for Prince’s trial ended, regardless of the outcome of that trial. In fact, the only ways I would not have been paid are if I was found to have lied or if I willfully failed to attend any court summoned appearance.
While that might seem like a lot of money to some, it was not to me. In the decades before heart issues forced me back to Canada, I had been a Registered Representative on the New York Stock Exchange. As well I had been a successful businessman and inventor with five utility patents to my name. Accordingly, I sometimes earned that amount in less than a week. I can assure you that my $35,000 remuneration was never a real incentive. In fact, it was the most difficult $35,000 I had ever earned. That’s because the eighteen months preceding Prince’s arrest were the most trying eighteen months of my life. And that does not take into account the trial and all the drama from “the street” that followed it.
Justice sometimes has a heavy price, but injustice is always more costly. Tolerating Prince was the price for justice.
Wyatt Prince’s violent and unpredictable nature
At the point in time when the murder occurred, I had known Prince for several years. I had always found it difficult to stomach his presence due to his arrogance, his hair trigger temper, and his constant need for attention and dope. But, after the murder, living with Prince became even more dangerous. He had become even more unpredictable. He was more insufferable, even more erratic, and even more violent. It was as if he energized by having murdered Paul.
Two tense and dangerous episodes out of many
One night, he held my roommate captive at the bottom of the back stairwell in my apartment building. He then went through her purse and took her money. He told her that if she moved a muscle or said a word that he would smash her face in. Selfishly and tauntingly, he sat there and smoked her dope in front of her. Finally, he took off with her cash and told her she wasn’t allowed to leave the stairwell for thirty minutes, or else. He did this to a woman whom he supposedly loved. Prince is a real piece of sh*t.
Another time, sitting in my living room with my roommate and me, Prince thought he had crystal bugs crawling in and out of his skin. When neither my roommate nor I could see them, Prince became enraged. He screamed at my roommate saying she was blind. He also threatened to kill me because I must have known the bugs were there and I was just “f*cking” with him. I was basically, under threat of death, being ordered to say that I saw something that did not exist.
Wyatt Prince is an animal torturer.
It was during this period of time that I had discovered Prince had been torturing my rabbit, pictured herein. Whenever he was alone in my apartment he would torture my rabbit. Accordingly, I imposed a ban on him being in my apartment unless I was present. [The discovery of his cruelty to my rabbit was as close as I have ever come to wanting to kill somebody. I truly loved that rabbit.] This restriction made little difference to Prince though. He would simply, under threats of violence, refuse to leave when I needed to go somewhere. Instead he would just lay in his bedding on the floor, sniveling and whining for hours until my roommate might come back with some dope for him.
Often times, I would have an appointment to meet my heart doctor or somebody for whom I was designing a brochure or doing a business plan. Knowing I needed to leave and wanting to be alone in my apartment, Prince would go into my bathroom. He would then narcissisticly comb his hair for thirty minutes, lock the door and refuse to leave.
If my roommate or I asked him to hurry up, he would threaten to “f*cking kill” us if we didn’t “f*cking” get off his a*s. You need to understand that he would be in the bathroom for three hours or more as he took what he termed “a quick shower.”
Prince, the vile rapper floods my apartment twice
Twice, he actually overfilled the bathtub, purposely clogging the emergency drain thereof with a wash rag or t-shirt. He intentionally allowed the tub’s overflow to fill the bathroom floor with water. Then he bathed himself on the bathroom floor as water continued flowing out into my hallway and into the common hallway of the building. He flooded the apartment below us with his clown act. Both times multiple neighbors called the police because as Prince was doing this, he would yell vile rants and improvised raps about f*cking all the girls and killing people.
I endured at least two death threats per week from Prince. Sometimes these threats were replete with violent arm waving, with hyper-exaggerated movements and accompanied by his customary invectives. During these tirades, he would yell, slam doors, and kick furniture. He was an absolute nightmare and cops and management at my door became the routine during this period. I was actually fighting three eviction notices brought about by his behaviors at one point. This was despite the fact that the building manager and I were friends.
Wyatt Prince, the thief
When Prince wasn’t throwing fits, threatening my roommate and me or whining that he he was dope sick, he would also steal from me. He would rifle through my drawers while I slept, taking my change. Additionally, he made off with my personal electronic grooming devices from the bathroom. He even broke into my apartment when I was gone overnight to Vancouver on some business.
A friend finds recovery
With this as a backdrop, my roommate and I had a young, drug addicted lady staying with us who we were helping to get a recovery bed. As well, we were dealing with this lady’s parents and her brother. Her brother was an individual who himself was less than rational at times. I actually spent most of my first payment from the police helping this young lady get into recovery. Although she and I have lost contact with one another, as of mid 2012 she was clean. Additionally, she had married and had a child of whom I am told that I am godfather.
A seemingly never ending police investigation
From my viewpoint, the police investigation appeared never ending. Other more high profile cases kept getting in the way and the coroner’s office kept getting backed up from other murders in other municipalities.
For a couple of weeks at a time, I would go to eight hours or so worth of police meetings per week. Then suddenly there would be a month or two of deafening and disheartening silence. Even when working with the police as I was, they are an extremely secretive bunch. Accordingly, I was often left to speculate on what was happening with the investigation. During all those times, Prince continued bouncing off my walls with his drug use. He continued making threats against my roommate and me, and doing break and enters in the neighborhood.
Prince never seemed to grasp the concept of not pis*ing in his own back yard. Instead he dealt drugs in my apartment building parking lot and the back stairwells. As well as he constantly broke into my underground parking where he shot up his dope.
The $35,000 paid me for my work was not simply an offer I received. It was a result of time consuming and tense negotiations with RCMP professional negotiators. They had flown over from Vancouver expressly for meetings with me. After an agreement was reached, there was a contract drawn up that had to be reviewed by RCMP brass, signed by them, and then countersigned by me. The process just surrounding this contract took several months by itself.
Early on the police had offered me a “witness protection” program, instead of a financial pay out. The witness protection program came with stipulations that I accept relocation. That would have required a new identity and me being on a monthly stipend for a period of time.
Not over my dead body, loyalty and honour mean something
I was unwilling to travel that road with them because my roommate was still in the throes of her addiction. She would have accidentally outted her identity and mine within a few days due to her activities surrounding her addiction. Additionally, I was not going to allow myself to be put in a position of entrusting my monthly finances to some bureaucrat in a swivel-back chair to whom I was only a statistic. In street vernacular, “That’s not the way I roll.”
The alternative would have been for me to just up and go, leaving my roommate to fend for herself. However, I was not going to reward her years of loyalty with abandonment. In street vernacular, again, “That’s not the way I roll”. I don’t run from my troubles. Accordingly, I made the decision to stand beside her and to deal with “the street“. Therefore, I negotiated the contract spoken of above.
I was questioned about everything surrounding Wyatt Prince. Then I was re-questioned and every detail was vetted. I was questioned about my personal life and about my history. The police even went so far back as to find out that I had once written a bad cheque in Topeka, Kansas some forty-five years earlier. It was a cheque that would have over-drafted my account by less than a dollar.
I was also cautioned that any criminal activity by me during the term of my contract with the RCMP could invalidate my contract. Police rules were so stringent that I was even directed to update my car insurance when it was noticed that it was due to expire in a few days.
To the credit of the police and to my relief, I was never asked about other crimes of which I might have been aware or about other people I knew. There was a feeling of a single common goal, and apart from the negotiators, a level of mutual respect. In my past business life in the U.S., I had negotiated multiple hundred thousand dollar deals. Therefore I understood how to negotiate and was not a fan of the attempted heavy-handed negotiators’ tactics.
Training for the job
I was taught how to make proper notes that could be read and would be concise and cogent to the reader. Then I was questioned about those notes during another vetting process. This was after having been put through a scenario the only purpose of which appeared to me to be to evaluate my performance and my honesty.
My note taking skill was supposed to be widely used throughout the investigation. This was because of the immense amount of time I spent with with Prince. I was directed to memorize any comments made by him and commit them to paper later. Often though, I would simply text the information to one of my handlers, or call him/her directly when the opportunity arose. Keeping written notes around was too dangerous. Remember Prince’s propensity for rifling through my drawers for money or objects that he could convert to dope or cash on the street. In doing this, he could have run across any notes I might have had. That was a risk I could not take.
The Sting Begins
Police were in control and it was professional and very secretive
Because of Prince’s violent nature, I was involved in a very serious and perilous project. It became obvious that the police had a protocol that they were required to follow and that they followed it scrupulously. These were professionals in every sense of the word, and they left nothing to chance. I am not a stupid man, so I also understood that they needed to be able to cover their a*ses if something went wrong. There would have been questions to answer had I ended up severely injured or dead.
Throughout the entire process my identity was kept secret from non-team members. I was in their files only by a number with access to those files being limited to a select few police. In fact, knowledge that there was an ongoing operation to convict Wyatt Prince for the death of Paul was limited to a very few law enforcement personnel.
Had this been an operation wherein I was not to be required to go public at a later date, I feel assured that my involvement in it would have never been known to anybody else. We would meet in motels and never arrive at the motel or leave the motel together. This was a very secure operation. In fact to me, it seemed overly so.
I was entrusting my very life to the the police with whom I was working and to their respective superior. And they were entrusting an investment of around a million dollars on my ability to handle my responsibilities and find justice for Paul.
Having to maintain the secret to not blow the case
Realize that I was living with a violent and unpredictable madman. Therefore, if I was forced to overtly call the police on him in order to protect my roommate and/or myself, the entire operation might have been un-salvageable. Additionally, any level of trust Prince might have had in me would have instantly evaporated. Accordingly, I felt the pressure of my responsibility to carry out my assigned duties. Moreover I needed to protect my roommate and to protect the young lady whom my roommate and I were helping into recovery. All the while, I had to tolerate the intolerable when it came to Prince’s behaviors.
Even when not present, Wyatt Prince brought more violence and drama to my home, causing the interruption of a police bugging operation.
There came a time when the police were in my suite. They were wiring it for sound and video, and I was not allowed to be within four blocks of my building. Police wanted to protect the identity of the electronic technicians doing the work. Suddenly, I got a call from one of the technicians. He told me that some people who thought Prince or my roommate owed them money were trying to kick in my door.
Without consulting the police, I broke the “four block rule”. I hurried to my building, but never entered the suite. I confronted the trio of thugs who were still in the common hallway. Then I convinced them that the people they could hear in my suite were higher level criminals who they would be advised not to meet. I also convinced them that somebody had called the police on them and that they had better get moving quickly. I then sneaked them into the underground parking and out of a back entrance to my building. (Somebody actually had called the police who were arriving at the front of the building unaware of the covert operation in my suite.)
Disagreements between police and me regarding how to best get Wyatt Prince to talk
The discussion, a euphemistic word, that ensued between my handlers and me that evening was not something that either of us probably wishes to elaborate on. If the police technicians didn’t want me to do anything about those marauders, then why in the hell tell me about them? I relate this incident to give you another dimension to the stress being created in my life by the unpredictability of what could occur when Prince was part of the equation.
There were a couple of other disagreements too. On the rare occasions when they would arise I was at a severe disadvantage. It would be four against one and you know what generally happens to the “one” in that case. These were respectful arguments to be sure. Still, they were also heartfelt. Therefore, they were emotionally charged. In the end, though, no matter who prevailed, we went forward as a team. No “I told you so” ever passed anybody’s lips.
It was a great partnership.
Despite those disagreements, I knew that the police had my back as much as they could. Although with the secrecy considerations I often found myself caught up in a situation wherein I could not call the police. This was because doing so attending cop(s) might misinterpret the circumstances. Without knowing the full circumstance, they might blow the might somehow blow the operation. So I only called the police twice. Instead, I just managed things as best I could. Moreover, there was the additional consideration that the more often the police attended my place, the more suspicious Prince might become.
As weeks turned into months and months into a year and nothing positive happened with the investigation, I was became anxious and frustrated. I wondered if Paul would ever find justice and if my nightmare would ever end. I even wondered if the file was still open.
Standing Wyatt Prince’s bail because Wyatt in jail would have further stalled the operation against him
There came a time where Prince had to appear before the courts on another matter. I stood Prince’s bail for him because Prince going to jail at that point would have brought the investigation to a standstill. Additionally, I did so because I was not looking for just a short vacation while Prince was temporarily out of my hair. To the contrary, I wanted this investigation over with and Prince in jail for many years.
I took this action without consulting my police handlers and absolutely of my own accord. There was a fear that I would be told, “No.” At that time, I was 64 years old, infirmed, and running out of mental, emotional, and physical energy. I needed my life back.
Prince says “thank you for the trust” to his friend
As an aside, speaking of bail, I remember another time when Wyatt Prince convinced a friend of his to put up a cash bail for him. The charges in that case were quickly dropped. Prince immediately went to the courthouse cashier. There he secured the return of the bail money for himself. He then called the dope man, thus stealing his friend’s money. I do not believe the two ever spoke again. Now, you know the meaning of the word “loyalty” to Wyatt Prince.
Tempus fugit, NOT
Let’s get back to the undercover operation though. The investigation had dragged on for such an extended period of time. When it finally ended there was only one cop who had started with me who was still part of the operation, Dave Bown. He was the gentleman with whom I had originally spoken about Paul’s murder on the night it had occurred. Dave is truly one of the good guys and I had a lot of faith in him and respect for him. I knew that he had been somewhat instrumental in helping a lady to decide to get off drugs. He then helped her to move out of town, away from a slime ball who was abusing her.
The anonymity I sought would have jeopardized a conviction and I had to make a decision.
Please understand that originally I had thought that I could remain anonymous. Naively, I figured I could tell the police that Wyatt Prince had murdered Paul and then just walk away. This fact is evident in multiple police interviews that were recorded by the police.
The crime was solved.
I had figured that I had solved the murder and that all police had to do was prove it. When I got involved, I didn’t go into this thing looking for a job, for excitement, or for money. I hate working for other people. Moreover, I had enough excitement in my life. Additionally, my finances, as became apparent during the trial, were quite manageable.
In meetings with Dave and other police officers though, it was made clear to me that I was needed. I was told that the only way that there would be any assurance that Wyatt Prince would be charged and convicted would be if I was willing to discard my cloak of anonymity and testify.
It was a life changing decision that was easy
On one hand, this was not an easy choice because it would be a life changing decision for my roommate and me. This was a decision about which I could not consult with her because of her relationship with Wyatt Prince. On the other hand, it was a no brainer as Paul needed justice.
Somebody upon whom I could rely
I was dealing with a handful of cops, each with their own strong personality, but also with the bond of “brothers under the badge” between them. Accordingly, I needed to believe that there was somebody who could be impartial. So, I agreed that I would come on board, but only if Dave promised that he would walk the entire path with me.
I needed somebody in whom I could absolutely trust before I was willing to put the life of my roommate and my life on the line. I was raised that “if you’ve got a good horse you give it the spurs” and Dave was a good horse. Times of stress tend to make me revert to my upbringing for some sense of security. So Dave was my man.
With respect to all the police
Meaning no disrespect to any of the other officers, but I would not have had anywhere near the same comfort level had it been anybody other that Dave who had my back. This was especially because the other officers answered to the large bureaucracy of the RCMP and did not live within the community. Dave was a city cop from a much smaller force and could not just leave town and return to his job in “whereverville”. Thus, he could not easily divorce himself from whatever might have unfolded as a result of the Wyatt Prince investigation and my participation in it.
While not a drinking man, when Wyatt Prince was finally arrested, I cracked open a bottle of Johnny Walker Gold that I had been saving for just that occasion. It was a very well hidden one that Prince had been unable to find when pilfering my apartment. Thinking of Paul, his family and of justice, I drank a few solo toasts, relieved that an end had come to one leg of my journey. I fell asleep that night before my prayers ended and slept like a baby. It wasn’t simply because of a couple of stiff ones. It was more due to sheer exhaustion and relief.
The relief was palpable.
The largest burden I had ever felt had just been lifted from my shoulders. But my ordeal was not over yet, and I knew it. Wyatt Prince still had a trial to come. And I had repercussions to deal with from brain dead idiots who condone murder. They think a “street code” that they don’t follow should have protected Prince and silenced me. I don’t silence. It’s not in my DNA. And I don’t gave a damn about some non-existant street code.
There was much more yet to come. I had to deal with those brain dead idiots. Then I had to endure the trial. I had to tolerate a judge who obviously did not like me because of my relationship with my roommate. This judge made some of the most ignorant remarks I have ever heard from an educated individual.