US Chocolatier Charged with Murder of Canadian Animation in Dominica Dispute

An American chocolatier and his alleged accomplice have been charged in Dominica with the murder of a Canadian animation innovator and eco-resort owner and his partner days after their bodies were found in a burned-out car.

Jonathan Lehrer (left) and Robert Snider leaves Roseau Magistrate Court

Jonathan Lehrer, 57, and Robert Snider appeared in magistrates court in Roseau, the capital, on last Wednesday to face charges relating to the murders of Daniel Langlois and Dominique Marchand. They did not enter a plea.

Lehrer owns property next to Coulibri Ridge, a luxury eco-resort run by Langlois and Marchand. He is reported to have been locked in a dispute with the couple over a public road that passes through Lehrer’s cocoa plantation estate.

Langlois and Marchand had been ambushed and killed before their car plunged into the ravine and caught fire.

Daniel Langlois

The fire that engulfed their bodies was reported to be so intense that police relied on “circumstantial evidence” to identify them.

Four people were arrested in connection with the crime, but only Lehrer and Snyder were charged.

Lehrer is the owner of the Bois Cotlette estate, a chocolate maker.

Reports indicate that Lehrer and Langlois had been in a dispute about the Morne Rouge road that runs through Lehrer’s property and provided the only access to the eco-resort. Langlois had reportedly organized a demonstration against Lehrer.

In 2018, after Lehrer tried to block the route using rocks and metal pipes and by digging a trench, the eastern Caribbean supreme court ruled it was a public road paid for by taxpayers. The court considered the construction of a second road but opted for mediation and later granted Langlois’ employees and guests unrestricted access.

Langlois was known as a computer animation pioneer who had developed 3D animation software that was used in movies including Jurassic Park, Titanic, The Matrix, and the Harry Potter and Pirates of the Caribbean franchises.

“It is with great sadness that we learned of the tragic death of Daniel Langlois,” the National Film Board of Canada said on X. “His contributions to the world of cinema are incalculable.”