On Friday last week, police found the charred remains of Daniel Langlois – a prominent Quebecois movie-technology entrepreneur who has become a pillar of Dominican society – as well as his wife, Dominique Marchand, in a burned-out car on the Bois Cotlette Estate. On Wednesday, police charged two American nationals with double homicide.
While the intensity of the fire had rendered the bodies unidentifiable, circumstantial evidence (the couple and their car had been missing for some time before the discovery) originally led police to tie the remains to the Langlois and Marchand. Police moved swiftly to detain four people, three foreign nationals and one Dominican, two of whom were later released.
Prosecutors now allege Jonathan Scott Lehrer, the owner of CBI-approved Bois Cotlette, and Robert Snider Jr., Lehrer’s friend, murdered the couple over a road-access dispute between neighbors:
The murdered couple were the proprietors of the award-winning Coulibri Ridge Eco-Resort, which is accessible by the Mourne Rouge Public Road that opened in 2022 and which crosses the Bois Cotlette estate.
Disgruntled by the passage of vacationers and workers headed for Coulibri Ridge on the road through his property, Lehrer has, in past years, taken steps to block the access road by placing boulders, digging trenches, and obstructing the road with heavy equipment, angering local residents.
Langlois reacted by suing Lehrer in 2018 and seeking a permanent injunction against Lehrer and his company’s obstruction of the road, citing damages, economic losses, and tortious interference.
Following several interim rulings, Dominica’s High Court finally affirmed the public status of the road in 2019, granting guests at Coulibri Ridge Resort unrestricted access to the road.
Investigators are working on the theory that Lehrer called upon his friend Snider, a Florida resident, to help him murder the couple over the dispute. Both Lehrer and Snider are now in police custody, where they will remain until they are due in court on March 15th.
The two could hypothetically face the death penalty by hanging, a punishment for which Dominica’s laws still provide but which the country has not exercised since 1986. The current Minister of Justice, Rayburn Blackmoore, has previously stated that he favors the death penalty for the most serious crimes.
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