THIS MONTH IN LONDON HISTORY library of historic London events on a month by month basis
DIG AROUND THE ARCHIVES listing of website archives by subject
LINKS TO LONDON HISTORY list of other website with a London Ontario Canada heritage theme
HOME PAGE for Doty Docs
ABOUT DOTY DOCS information on the company and its owner Chirstopher Doty
LOMBARDO WING website dedicated to the hometown roots of bandleader Guy Lombardo
grand theatre wing
hangings of london

Who’s Who at The Donnelly Trial

The Victims
James Donnelly (age 63), Johannah Donnelly (56), Bridget Donnelly (21), Thomas Donnelly (25) and John Donnelly (32)

Trial Judge
Mr. Justice John Douglas Armour
Played by Dale Bell (Juno and the Paycock)

A strong-willed judge who would "brook no interference in the running of his court."

The Defendant
Constable James Carroll
Played by Sean Carmichael (Hellbound)

James Carroll came for the village of Exeter and was a former farmer, lumberjack and dealer of farming equipment. He was hired as constable in Lucan in 1879. He is charged with the murder of Johannah Donnelly and faces the death penalty if found guilty.

The Defense
William Ralph Meredith
Played by Paul Myers (The Under Achievers)

The leader of the Conservative opposition in Queen’s Park, Meredith is using the trial to position himself as the defender of the right and reputations of Ontario’s Irish Catholic population. Any attack on his clients would be treated like an attack on all Irish Catholics.

The Prosecution
Aemilius Irving
Played by Dean Hall (The End of Civilization)

A member of the Queens Council, president of the Hamilton Law Association, and a former Liberal Member of Parliament, Irving is a lawyer of the earlier school in Canada, painstaking, precise, methodical and without a trace of emotion.

The Law
Gilbert S. Moore
Played by Ron Smith (Juno and the Paycock)

A police constable from London, Moore was one of the first law officers at the scene of the murders and helped collect the remains of victims.

William Casey
Played by Declan Dunne (stage debut)

Biddulph township magistrate who harbored a secret hatred for the Donnelly family and who meted out more bias than justice.

William Thomas Trounce Williams
Alistaire McGhee (Suffering Fools)

Chief of Police for the city of London, Williams was in charge of the murder investigation and was not too fussy if he stepped on anyone’s toes to obtain a conviction.

Timothy Lewis (Arsenic and Old Lace)

The Witnesses
John Cain
Played by Craig Munns (Juno and the Paycock)

A member of the Biddulph Vigilance Committee, Cain had once had a land deal ruined by Mrs. Donnelly, who allegedly threatened a prospective buyer.

Martin Darcey
Played by Jim Konopetski (The Sunshine Boys)

Member and leader of the Biddulph Vigilance Committee.

Patrick Whelan
Played by Gerry Hawkins (stage debut)

Grizzled old neighbour of James Donnelly’s once chased James Carroll off his farm for trying to subpoena his wife and threatened to brain the constable with an axe if he ever came back. Was nearly cited for contempt at the hearings in Lucan for refusing to give evidence.

Johnny O’Connor
Played by Joel Bradford (Touched by a Demon) and Scott Morasch (The Secret Garden)

The 13-year-old Lucan native was the sole survivor of the murders at James Donnelly’s house and the star witness for the prosecution.

William Donnelly
Played by Simon Goodwin (Risk Everything)

The most famous member of the Donnelly family provided testimony about his brother’s murder - but only opened himself up for character assassination and ridicule by the defense.

Jennie E. Currie
Played by Eva Blahut (Angels in America)

The only daughter of James and Johannah Donnelly proved to be extremely emotional when she stepped on the witness stand.

Mary Hastings O’Connor
Played by Josey Christmas (stage debut)

The mother of Johnny O’Connor who has been blackmailing the crown in exchange for her son’s testimony.

Mary Thompson
Played by Sue Mei (The Miracle Worker)

Enemy of the Donnelly family who perjured herself on the witness stand to secure an alibi for the prisoner.

John Kennedy
Played by David Leeson (Eve)

William Donnelly’s much hated brother-in law and the suspected killer of John Donnelly.

James Feeheley
Played by Jeff Werkmeister (The Under Achievers)

The Judas of the piece, Feeheley was a former friend of the Donnellys who later betrayed them to their enemies.

Click here for ticket information on The Donnelly Trial
Click here for a Donnelly Chronology
Click here for media release on The Donnelly Trial
Click here to view the photo gallery
Click here for the official Donnelly website
Click here for The Donnellys: Before the Murders - a new play