1974-?? Update

Archive - 1975

Homicide #??

Date - 1975-10-24

Victim - Connon, Donna Hale (27)
Accused - UNSOLVED
Charge -

On Friday, October 24, 1975, the body of 27-year old Donna Hale Connon was found in the bathtub of her south St. Vital home; she had been hit over the head with a hammer.

At about 10:00 a.m. that morning Mrs. Connon took the family station wagon to St. Vital Lumber at 441 St. Mary's Avenue (no longer exists) and picked-up a sheet of drywall for her father-in-law. After dropping off the drywall she stopped at the Canada Safeway Store at Dakota Village Mall (now an IGA) and purchased a small amount of groceries before returning home to her residence at 14 Blue Spruce Crescent. Several neighbours saw Mrs. Connon arriving home at 11:00 a.m. carrying her groceries.

Within minutes of Mrs. Connon arriving home, neighbours also observe a vehicle (either purple or blue in colour) park in front of her house, facing the wrong way on the street and on the wrong side of the road. The neighbours then observed a male walk up the driveway and speak with Mrs. Connon at her front door. The male is allowed inside the house and shortly thereafter he is seen walking with her around to the side of the house. No more notice is paid of this man or his vehicle, however, the male was described as being 30-40 years old, 5'7"-5'-8", darker hair and possibly heavy set, although he was wearing a coat.

Mrs. Connon had just returned to University that fall and had an English class starting at 12:40 p.m. that afternoon. In order to get to class on time, it is speculated that she would have had to have left home around 12:00 noon. Mrs. Connon never made it to class, indicating that the murder happened between 11:00 a.m. and noon - about the same time as the stranger is seen at her door.   

When her husband arrived home from work, Mrs. Connon's schoolbooks and notes were found scattered down the steps inside the house. The groceries had not yet been put away and her purse sat untouched on the kitchen table. There was no signs that the house and been ransacked, however upon searching the house Mr. Connon found his wife bound and tied in the bathtub of their home. She had been hit over the head with a hammer taken from a toolbox found by the back door of the house. There was no sign of forced entry.

Of particular interest was a piece of notepaper found on the steps among the scattered schoolbooks. The paper was originally from a notepad found in the kitchen and had a name and phone number written on it. Both were determined to be fictitious. As the handwriting on the note did not belong to Mrs. Connon it is believed that it was written out by the suspect, possibly as part of a con to gain entry to the home.

It is believed that the suspect used a con to gain entry to the home to see if Mrs. Connon was alone. A possible scenario was that the Connon's had a 1962 Ford Sunliner Convertible at the side of their house that had been put away for the winter. The suspect may have used the rouse of asking if the vehicle was for sale and leaving a fictitious name on the notepad for her husband to call him if it was. Such a rouse would have established that Mrs. Connon was home alone and that her husband was not expected home until later.

It is believed that the suspect observed Mrs. Connon while she was shopping at the Canada Safeway store and followed her home. The act was probably impulsive as all of the material used to bind, gag and kill Mrs. Connon came from her own home. Furthermore he drew attention to himself by parking the wrong way on the wrong side of the street.

While the assault was sexually motivated, it appears that the suspect did not plan on any resistance from Mrs. Connon. However her family indicated that she would not be submissive and would probably be hysterical and fight off any attacker. The fact that Mrs. Connon was not physically assaulted suggests that the suspect was not usually violent and was able to control his victim's through fear or intimidation. When this failed he may have panicked at his loss of control and killed Mrs. Connon out of fear of getting caught.

Based on the nature of the assault, there is a strong possibility that police have previously arrested the suspect in this matter, possibly for other sexually related offences involving threats of violence and bondage. He may be viewed by his friends as cunning, manipulative, irresponsible and indifferent to the welfare of society. He may have a violent temper, may dress well and select victims he can control and dominate.  Based on the description of the male seen speaking with Mrs. Connon it is believed that the suspect is a white male, about 30 years old (now 55), 5'7"-5'8", stocky build, dark hair and may have been driving an older model green or blue station wagon (in 1975). He was either unemployed or worked as a shift worker or otherwise had an occupation that allowed him flexibility during the day.

As such, anyone who has information on this crime or about someone who fits the profile of the suspect and who has a past history of similar offences and was active in the St. Vital area is requested to contact the police.

If you have any information about this case, please contact Crime Stoppers at 786-TIPS (8477), or e-mail Sgt. Al Bradbury and Det. Jon Lutz of the Cold Case Homicide Unit.