|Death: ||Dec. 23, 1955|
Maydream McLean was the eldest child of Malcolm and Rose McLean. Her father was a longtime City Recorder for Eastside, Oregon.
On Jun 10, 1919 in Coos County, Maydream McLean married Guy B. Bond of Eugene. Maydream Bond and Guy Bond were later divorced and then she married Leon Albert Bernier. Guy B. Bond died at the age of 48 on November 3, 1944 in Portland, Oregon, having never remarried.
Coos Bay Times newspaper
Coos Bay-North Bend, Coos County, Oregon
Sunday, December 24, 1955
2 WOMEN SLAIN IN EASTSIDE
LEON BERNIER ADMITS MURDER OF WIFE AND SISTER-IN-LAW
Goaded by a nagging wife and sister-in-law, Leon Albert Bernier, 54, shot and killed them both Friday morning as they sat in bed in an Eastside home.
Bernier told police he shot his wife, Maydream Mabel (sh/be Rosina) Bernier, and sister-in-law, Marie Watkins, both in the chest with a .22 cal. Pistol when his wife said, "He hasn't got the guts to use it."
The double murder was not discovered until 10:30 p.m. Friday when a relative became suspicious and called the Eastside police, who brought in the state police after seeing the bodies through the bedroom window.
Officers broke in and found Bernier asleep in another bedroom, the pistol in a holster under his pillow.
Mr. and Mrs. William Ferguson, relatives of the Bernier family, had visited the home earlier in the day, talked with Bernier in the kitchen and did not realize the two dead women were in the bedroom a few feet away.
Ferguson asked Bernier during the visit who was lying on the bed and Bernier told him it was a sick neighbor.
Officers found Mrs. Watkins on the bed with two wounds through the chest and Mrs. Bernier was on the floor beside the bed with one wound, sideways through the chest. Coroner Brewer Mills said evidence indicated the women died instantly and had been dead approximately since early morning.
According to Bernier's own statements, he killed the two women because "life has not been the same since Mrs. Watkins moved in with us three years ago—she treated me like a dog and both of them constantly nagged me."
Bernier said he got up Friday morning, put his clothes on and walked to the living room adjacent to the women's bedroom. He said the women began yelling and nagging at him and he walked to the desk, picked up a pistol from a drawer and pointed the gun at them.
"They were sitting up in bed," Bernier said in his confession, "and Marie cried out, ‘It's a gun' and Maydream said, ‘He hasn't got guts enough to use it." He admitted he shot Marie twice through the chest and shot his wife as she struggled out of bed.
Bernier has been an employee of the West Coast Telephone branch in Coos Bay. West Coast Manger George McBride today said, "I am shocked by the tragedy—‘Berny' is an old and veteran employee of the telephone company. He is a quiet man and I can't conceive of this happening."
Maydream Bernier, 54, also known as "Dream," was a waitress in the Pan American tavern in Bunker Hill.
Marie Watkins, about 50, sister of Mrs. Bernier, was employed during the Christmas season at The Hub.
Earl Hewitt, relative of the Bernier family, went to the Eastside home around 3 p.m., he told police, when he wondered why Mrs. Bernier did not go to work. He said he could not get in the house. By 10 p.m., he said his suspicions that something was wrong increased and he went back and got Police Chief Jesse McCullough across the street at the Eastside police station.
McCullough went to the home, shone a light through the bedroom window and saw a body on the bed and evidence of foul play.
Chief McCullough called the state police and Sgt. H.C. Snider arrived and gained entrance to the home, finding Bernier in his own bedroom, asleep.
Bernier said to officers that life "has not been the same since Marie Watkins came to live with us." Both his wife and sister-in-law nagged him all the time, he said, making it miserable for him.
After he shot the two women, Bernier told police, he sat around the house, "puttering around," drinking milk and eating fruit cake.
At 10:30 p.m. William Ferguson and Dream Ferguson, the latter a niece of Maydream Bernier, came to the Bernier home and were let in by Bernier. They talked awhile in the kitchen, police said, but went away without knowing about the murders.
When police broke in and got Bernier out of bed, he willingly posed for pictures of the murder scene and readily confessed to the crime. The Bernier home is at 623 Third Ave., in Eastside.
Bernier has been an employee of West Coast Telephone Co. for 30 years and is thought to be a quiet, mild mannered person by some of his friends.
He was a lineman for many years, recently being moved to an inside job when his legs no longer permitted strenuous pole climbing work, a telephone company official said.
During his arraignment this morning, Bernier commented on the wiring in Judge Thomas Wanton's Northern Justice Court, and mentioned he had been in the building many times before on telephone work.
After repeated explanation of his rights to have an attorney and for a preliminary hearing, he said, "I'm guilty and that's all I can say." Bernier may ask for an attorney, to be appointed by the court, at any time during the proceedings.
The 54-year-old killer will face two charges of second-degree murder, and if he waives his right to a grand jury trial, will go directly to circuit curt. No bail has been set.
Sgt. H.C. Snider of the state police was in charge of the initial investigation. With him were state patrolmen Wallace Denton and Marvin Acheson. Also assisting in the case were District Attorney John Pickett, Assistant District Attorney John Warden, Dep. Sheriff M.F. Kelly and Chief McCullough of Eastside.
Floyd Clower, special district attorney's investigator, interviewed Bernier and obtained the confession of the murders by Bernier.
Maximum sentence of 20 years on each charge is possible, if Bernier is found guilty.
The murdered women, like Bernier, are well known around Coos County and have lived here most of their lives.
The murder weapon was purchased by Bernier nine years ago from the estate of a man who had committed suicide with the same gun.
Coos Bay Times newspaper
Coos Bay-North Bend, Coos County, Oregon
Tuesday, December 27, 1955
The Rosary will be recited tonight at 8 o'clock in the chapel of the Mills Funeral Home, in double services for Mrs. Maydream Rosina Bernier, 61, and her sister, Mrs. Marie Agnes Watkins, 54, who were slain Dec. 23, at their home at 625 Third St., Eastside.
Funeral services will be held Wednesday, Dec. 28, at 11 a.m. in the Mills Chapel.
The Very Rev. James Gallagher will officiate and interment will be in Sunset Cemetery.
The sisters were born in Grand Marias, Mich., and came to Coos Bay with their parents in 1911. They are survived by a sister, Mrs. Earl Hewitt, Coos Bay.
Mrs. Bernier is also survived by her husband, L.A. Bernier.
Mrs. Watkins is survived by her husband, Preston Watkins of Salt Lake City; one daughter, Mrs. Dreme Ferguson, San Bernardino, Calif., and one grandchild. ~~~END~~~
NOTE: On April 25, 1960, fifty-eight-year-old Leon Bernier died in Salem, Marion County, Oregon.
Malcolm McLean (1868 - 1937)
Rose V. McLean (1870 - 1932)
Leon Albert Bernier (1903 - 1960)
Guy Burton Bond (1897 - 1944)*
Maydream Rosina McLean Bernier (1897 - 1955)
Marie Agnes McLean Watkins (1902 - 1955)*
Cathern Theresa McLean Hewitt (1908 - 1974)*
Sunset Memorial Park
Created by: Jan
Record added: Sep 21, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 29963939
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Added: Dec. 8, 2008