After a wild night of heavy drinking in New Brunswick, Canada Gloria O’Toole wakes at noon, on Oct. 2nd, 1993 to find her six-year-old daughter has vanished from her house. Six and a half hours later, Samantha O’Toole is located on a river’s edge near her home. She had been raped, sodomized, choked and drowned.
After a makeshift and muffled investigation, the police department determined that the mother’s boyfriend, George Pitt, who lived with the family at the time was responsible. They deemed it an open and shut case, Pitt was convicted of first-degree murder and was given life in prison.
However, nothing about the case built against George Pitt made any sense, and many in the community believe that he didn’t do it. From the moment of his arrest to present day, twenty-three years after the crime. George Pitt still swears his innocence. After his conviction, the police department continues to investigate this case.
Here are the six reasons that George Pitt may have been wrongfully convicted of Murder.
6. Frequent Visitors
On the night of October 1st, 1993, George and Gloria both heavy drinkers decided to go out. They hired two teenage girls as the babysitters for Gloria’s two children. Gloria purchased them a bottle of rum, which was ordered for the house by cab. The girls invited their boyfriends who brought an additional bottle of vodka.
Gloria and her friends popped in and out of the house frequently between 9 pm and 4 am. Suggesting that where ever they might have been that night was close their home. George had also popped in and out with some his drinking buddies, two of which took alcohol-related blackouts.
The teenage boys that had been in the house were never questioned nor was DNA samples collected. Either was the two men that took blackouts. You would think that everyone would be a suspect until ruled out. In the case of Samantha O’Toole, this was never thought. So many different possibilities, and yet too quickly was it decided that Pitt was at fault.
5. Lack of Interest
1993 was before the Amber Alert was created, so when Gloria called 911, the police department never considered the child a priority. Feeling that if Gloria genuinely cared about her daughter, she never would have gone out in the first place. The officers dispatched decided to take on other calls first. It took three additional calls to 911 in the span of two and a half hours before a car arrived at the house.
Neighbors reported seeing a black pickup truck near the edge of the river twice that day. Once in the morning, before Gloria noticed her daughter was missing and once only a few minutes before Samantha was discovered at this location.
This place was only a minute from Samantha’s home. While 911 wasn’t taking the call seriously, Gloria’s friends, including George Pitt were. They searched the area themselves while waiting for police to arrive. Someone must have checked this spot at least once, which would mean that while George and the others searched for Samantha that afternoon, she was not at that river’s edge.
A young child and friend of Samantha’s told police that she had seen Samantha that morning. Samantha wanted her to go to a nearby playground. This Playground is located in the same place Samantha was found. It was a civilian who found Samantha at the river’s edge; police had first believed the child to be dead on the scene.
They attempted to preserve the crime scene, but minutes later they changed their minds. They passed her on to the paramedics who attempted to revive and then transported her to the hospital where the doctors couldn’t revive her either. This compromised the crime scene, as well as the body itself.
Because too many people handled the child, the coroner could not pinpoint her time of death. They also stated that Samantha would have survived her injuries if she would have been found before she drowned. Four hairs were found on Samantha. Near her, two cigarette butts of two different brands, a lighter, a plastic bag and a used condom were found. They ignored the footprint and fresh tire marks indicating that the mud around Samantha was “pristine.”
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4. Lack Of Evidence
The police took samples of what they believed to be blood from the bathroom, hallway, and floor at the front door. As well as from a flashlight they found in the closet. Further testing of these samples concluded that the substance wasn’t blood. They lifted a single footprint from the deck, which could have been anyone in the house the night before.
This footprint did not match George Pitt’s shoes. One of George’s friends Steve Miller was on the couch, and police asked him who he was. He informed them he was Gloria’s boyfriend, lacked to give a name and stated he was there to help find Samantha. As soon as the body was uncovered, he left.
Gloria had told officers that when she came home at 4 am, George Pitt was doing a load of laundry. It was the bedding from the master bedroom. The police decided this was odd behavior, taking the blanket for further testing.
A speck of Samantha’s blood was found within a larger blood stain on the blanket. The sample of the larger stain did not match any of the DNA profiles the police had collected. This includes George Pitt. George said he washed the blanket because the beer had been spilled on it and that he had not noticed any stains. However, Miller had woke him up, and he had been drinking.
Experts confirmed that there was no way of knowing how long Samantha’s blood had been on the comforter. Because she lived in the home and two weeks before her death, she cut her lip and scraped her knee.
George Pitt’s DNA did not match any of the samples collected from the crime scene. The only DNA found belonged to Samantha O’Toole. The hairs found on Samantha were never tested, and most likely the butts and condom hadn’t been either. Which probably means the lighter wasn’t tested for prints.
2. George’s Behavior
George Pitt was an alcoholic who was currently on probation. Because the home was crawling with law enforcement, he made his presence scarce. Pitt called the house several times for updates on the case. The last time he phoned, a police officer answered the phone and had several questions.
He informed the officer he’d come round the house in a while, but he didn’t. Instead, he went back to the rooming house with Miller. Police went to the rooming house, Miller glanced out the window and began shouting about cops. Pitt took a few bottles of beer and went one door down. The police found this strange and launched a manhunt for George Pitt; his picture was distributed everywhere.
The next day without realizing that he was the most wanted man in the area, he went inside a drug store to get some Gravol. Two women were talking near him about Samantha, and that police were looking for George Pitt. George shouted “What?” but did not go to the police even then.
He visited his dad, to catch the news and then headed to the bar. Later he hit Burger King, another Tavern, and the liquor store before drinking alone on the railroad tracks. Thinking about sobering up, calling the police, his lawyer, and friends to get ready to face everything the next day.
He went to Tim Horton’s first, purchasing an apple dumpling and coffee at 4 AM, exactly two days after he’d washed the blanket, where he was recognized by a Brink’s guard, who informed the police. Pitt went out to the payphone about to call home when police found him and arrested him for the rape and murder of Samantha O’Toole.
It is undeniable that George Pitt’s behavior made him look guilty of this crime. However, Gloria O’Toole had told police that George treated both her and her children well and that George was hoping to adopt Samantha as his own. Therefore, it is easy to assume that George thought of Samantha as his child. One who just went missing, one who had turned up dead.
Pitt was an alcoholic, and drinking is an alcoholic’s escape from pain. He was on probation; cops were crawling all over his house and drinking was a violation of his probation. It is justifiable that he’d go elsewhere to grieve in the only way he knew. After all, police previously made this same assumption with Gloria, when she first made the call.
On the other hand, there was the blanket which had Samantha’s blood on it. However, Gloria O’Toole also told police that when she came in at 4 AM to find George Pitt doing laundry. She had checked on her children before they went to bed. Samantha was sound asleep in her bed.
She also said that it wasn’t the first time Samantha had left the house before an adult was up. This would explain Samantha’s friend seeing her the morning she went missing. It also debunks any solid evidence connected to Pitt. Gloria O’Toole says that she knew police suspected George Pitt from the beginning. They weren’t even considering anyone else.
He was suspected shortly after the child was found and on what basis? Steve Miller’s lie that he was Gloria’s boyfriend? A man that frequently stayed over in this house, one that took frequent blackouts and a man who was caught lying on the witness stand during Pitt’s trial more than once.
In 2006 it was announced in news articles that the case was being reopened. In 2015, a petition was created to give George a new trial; it received twenty signatures. The evidence clearly shows that it is more likely that Samantha got up early on the morning of October 1st, 1993 and went out to play, where she met up with a friend and asked her to go to the park.
The child couldn’t go with her so, Samantha went alone. A black pickup truck pulled in and lured Samantha to go with them. It is likely that it was someone the child knew, possibly Miller. Also, it might have been a complete stranger. Whoever it may have been, seeming to have taken Samantha from the park to an unknown location.
Later returning the child to the River’s edge where she drowned. George Pitt is still behind bars as he’s been these last twenty-three years. There seems to be no rush to open a new trial that might free a man who has lost the last twenty-three years of his life.