Dan Beckon – Part 2 (Pre-Inquest information)
Part 1 – Dan Beckon – Murder or Suicide?
• Claims her husband’s face was swollen, “From the cheekbone down to the jaw.”
• “The funeral director told me it was unexplainable relative to the gunshot which killed Dan. I asked the police about it. “Are you saying he got beat up?” They said, “You tell me.”
• She also said their barn was ransacked between her husbands death and nightfall.
• “I can’t deny there may have been occasional (drug) use. I say that because of what happened in May. Dan was a person who lived with pain because of injuries he had. He had to lose weight pretty well every day of his life. He had plenty of strain..”
• “He had smoked marijuana, I know. He’d once had problems with drinking. He was not a saint, okay? But as for any addiction I’d have seen a drain on our financial situation. There was none. I’d have seen a change in the man, some tell-tale signs. I didn’t.” Note: There would have been no change to the financial situation if he was being given the drugs for free in exchange for tips or other things related to races.
• “They (racetrack officials) had tried different approaches to get him out of riding altogether.”
• “Early in March (1987), he was offered a steward’s position. Nothing would be guaranteed. He’d be slotted into other jobs while learning, and waiting for an opening.”
• “After the June 21st test, he called the testing lab and had a test done privately.”
• “I asked for the autopsy report. I was told there was a backlog. Then there were people on vacation. Then there was a mixup. I finally got it, it was dated September 18.”
• The suicide note left to his son was signed “Dan Beckon”.
• The note to her specified that his assets would be left to her.
• “Yes, it’s Dan’s writing, but I don’t see the reason for the note to me. We had wills. There was no need for him to write something like that. And the way Dan felt about Chad, that’s not how he’d have signed it. It seems so cold and impersonal.”
• Known at Woodbine as a punter of varying quality, but known to place some large bets.
• “A woman of independent means”.
• She was a friend of the Beckon’s since 1983 when she boarded her dog at their farm.
• She was involved in a legal wrangle with the Ontario Jockey Club.
• A member since 1978 of the exclusive Turf Club.
• She was barred from Woodbine, Fort Erie and Greenwood.
• Harold Adamson, was the former Metro Police Chief and at that point in 1987 the OJC Vice-President in charge of security.
• OJC employees had allegedly complained about having difficulty in collecting money they had given Russo for investment purposes.
• Russo had a receipt suggesting otherwise, and in fact there had been a profit.
• Russo is fighting the ban and has launched a multi-million dollar slander suit against the OJC.
• She rejected a settlement the OJC offered.
• She declined to be photographed just after Beckon’s death, saying “I don’t wish to be melodramatic, but I really fear my safety could be at stake.”
Note: Russo’s son was/is a trainer who was caught cheating in 1993
Note: Barbara Russo may have been placing bets for Beckon
Jimmy Santha – Beckon’s agent
• Santha says he told Beckon, “Don’t worry about it (failed drug test). I’ll stick by you and we’ll fight it.”
• Santha says he then asked, “What are you going to do?”
• Santha says Beckon replies, “I’m going to do what I should have done a long time ago. I’m going to shoot myself.”
• Beckon gets into his truck as Santha asks, “Do you want me to draw for you for Saturday (get him horses to ride)?” Beckon answered, “Yes.”
Gary George Alexander
• A close friend of Beckon’s, Gary George Alexander, 31, of Drayton Ave. was found dead by his father on Saturday, July 4, 1987.
• Possible drug overdose.
• Walter Kent Ross, a friend of Alexander’s told police Alexander had been upset by Beckon’s death.
• He said Alexander had been drinking heavily after learning of Beckon’s death and broke down and wept on several occasions.
• Alexander was a familiar figure at Greenwood, Woodbine and Fort Erie.
• Lisa Roberts (Alexander’s girlfriend), believes Alexander killed himself.
• Alexander was an ex-jockey.
• Alexander first worked at Greenwood Racetrack as an exercise boy when he was 17.
• He knew Beckon for 15 years.
• He drifted away from horse racing.
• Worked for Metro Parks for a short time.
• Took summer of 1987 off from Parks.
• He was planning on going to Fort Erie to work as an exercise rider.
Debi Lockhurst – Trainer
• “Dan would leave the track and go home. He was devoted to that son of his. Chad was the biggest thing in his life.”
• “The backstretch is not a drug haven, but you can get them there. People don’t come to the backstretch to get drugs. But it’s there. Let’s face it. You can get drugs anywhere if you want them.”
• “He thought the officials were out to get him. He said that to me. He had to burn his address book because they were after it.”
• “He told me, ’They want me to put the finger on people. I could put the finger on a lot of people back here (on the backstretch) but I’m not going to do it.”
Ron Woods – Assistant Trainer to Debi Lockhurst
• After testing to see if Beckon could have shot himself: “Yes, it could have been done…but with difficulty.” Note: Woods assisted Dear in a test since he was virtually the identical size in height and arm length as Beckon.
• Measurements were made by measuring from the shoulder of one of Beckon’s jackets to the tip of the middle finger. Woods arm was a quarter of an inch longer than Beckon’s.
• Measurements for Beckon’s hand and finger size came from a set of Beckon’s gloves.
Sid Kirkman – Beckon’s Neighbour
• Spoke to Beckon about an hour before his body was found. “He sounded very calm and collected, not excited at all.”
• 12:15 PM “He may have been in a little bit more of a hurry than he was usually.”
Dr. Murray Miron
Professor at the University of Syracuse, N.Y., who describes himself as being a psychological linguistic analyst.
• Re: Suicide notes – “It is my judgement that they are precisely what they manifestly appear to be: namely, messages prepared in certain contemplation of suicide.
• “The content is archetypically consistent with a state of mind, at the time of their composition, of feelings of worthlessness, self-blame, shame, enduring hopelessness of circumstance and mournfulness over loss of love.”
Palmer Tunstall – (Retired F.B.I.) Document Analyst for 23 years
• Compared known samples of Beckon’s handwriting with copies of the notes.
• He said he was “Convinced beyond any doubt”, they were in Beckon’s writing.
Desmond Anderson (Former Woodbine track worker)
• One of the last people to see jockey Dan Beckon alive.
• 31 year-old was found dead of carbon monoxide poisoning in his car on Sunday June 12, 1988 near Wiarton.
• Less than four weeks earlier, he had testified at the inquest.
• Police said they are satisfied Alderson, who called himself “a small time trainer”, committed suicide.
• Alderson was scheduled to appear in Fort Erie provincial court on June 14, 1988 on charges of breaking and entering and sexual assault.
• Relatives said they’re mystified why his body was found almost 250 km from his Rexdale home.
• Alderson and another track worker testified at the Beckon inquest that they spotted Beckon making a phone call from a booth at a service station near Woodbine a few hours before he was found dead.
• Debi Lockhurst (Trainer) downplayed any possible connection between Alderson’s apparent suicide and Beckon’s death.
• Lockhurst said “He (Alderson) had personal problems that had nothing to do with Danny’s case.”
• Lockhurst employed Alderson off and on as a groom for the past four years.
• The criminal charges against Alderson stemmed from a May 10, 1988 incident in Fort Erie.
Part 1 – Dan Beckon – Murder or Suicide?