ALBANY Richard Vallee, 49, St. Jean, Quebec, Canada, was found guilty of murder in Federal Court on Sept. 20 in the car- bomb killing of Lee Carter, Jr., at Rouses Point on July 28, 1993.
Vallee was convicted on both counts with which he was charged use of an explosive to destroy a vehicle used in interstate commerce and murder of a federal witness to prevent communication of information to federal law enforcement.
The evidence at trial established Vallee, a member of the Three Rivers chapter of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club, was the head of a cocaine smuggling and distribution network. Carter, a resident of Rouses Point, came forward to police to report he had been approached to assist in smuggling narcotics into Canada. Carter volunteered to assist law enforcement, and ultimately was introduced to Vallee, the head of the smuggling network.
As a result of Carter's efforts, five people were arrested, including Vallee. The other four pleaded guilty, two in the U.S. and two in Canada, but Vallee remained free on bail pending a trial in Canada scheduled for September 1993. Vallee committed the murder by causing a bomb to be placed in Carter's vehicle. The bomb exploded when Carter unknowingly activated a triggering mechanism placed in the car. Due to Carter's death, the prosecution in Canada had to be dismissed.
Vallee was arrested in Canada, but escaped at gunpoint on June 5, 1997, after he had been taken to a local hospital for treatment of an injury received while in prison. Vallee remained a fugitive for seven years under the assumed name of Gary Turner, a toddler who had died in 1961.
Vallee was arrested in Montreal on April 11, 2003, for drunk driving. But using the assumed identity Guy Turner, he was released. A routine fingerprint check unearthed Vallee's true identity, and the Surete du Quebec set in motion a massive manhunt, and finally cornered Vallee on April 17, 2003.
Vallee fought extradition, but was finally returned to the United States in Nov. 2006. The jury heard from more than thirty witnesses, and examined more than two dozen exhibits in reaching its determination.
While it took fourteen years to get Vallee into a courtroom, U.S. Attorney Glenn T. Suddaby said, it is important for the public to realize that law enforcement will not rest in bringing criminals such as Vallee to justice.
This was a tremendous example of international cooperation. We are especially grateful to the Surete du Quebec and the Service de Police de Montreal for the tremendous effort and support they gave to this prosecution.
Vallee's sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 14 in Albany before the trial judge, the Hon. Thomas J. McAvoy, Jr., Vallee will be sentenced to a statutory mandatory term of life in prison on Count 2, for which he faces a maximum term of life imprisonment.
The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the New York State Police, and the Surete du Quebec. The Assistant United States Attorney handling the case is William C. Pericak.