Saturday, June 1, 2013

John Norman Collins and the Canadian Prison Gambit - Part One

International Ambassador Bridge between Detroit and Windsor.

On June 10, 1980, Michigan governor William Milliken signed an  agreement (HR4308) with neighboring Canada to exchange prisoners to serve out the completion of their sentences in their home countries. The act joined the State of Michigan to the terms of a 1978 United States/Canadian treaty.

After exhausting all appeals for a new trial, John Norman Collins became aware of the international prisoner exchange treaty. Collins was born in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. 

Collins' mother, Loretta, divorced for a second time by the time John was four, returned to her parents' home in Center Line, Michigan, with her three children in tow. 

John became a naturalized American citizen at five years old. Now, thirty-three years later and serving time in prison, he believed he still held dual citizenship.

John Collins in Jackson Prison Interview
On November 10, 1980, one month after Governor Milliken signed the international prisoner exchange agreement, Collins quietly applied to have his surname changed back to his Canadian birth father's name, Chapman. 

The name change was granted January 5, 1981, and certified by the Deputy Registrar of Probate Court for the County of Macomb.

John's biological father, Mr. Richard Chapman, lived in Kitchener, Ontario. Chapman had been estranged from his children at Loretta's insistence, but once John was charged with Karen Sue Beineman's murder, Mr. Chapman began to correspond and reconnect with his son. He even attended some of the court sessions.

John Collins certainly thought that he might be able to fly under the prison radar as Chapman and begin the process for a prisoner exchange under the international treaty. 

In Michigan with no possibility of parole, Collins had to serve a minimum of twenty years before he could be considered for a pardon by a sitting Michigan governor. The chances of that happening were slim and none. 

In Canada, an inmate serving a life sentence is eligible for parole after fifteen years. With time served in the Washtenaw County jail and various Michigan prisons, Collins could have been eligible for parole in 1985.

Part Two: John Norman Collins Canadian Prisoner Exchange Exposed