Blog dedicated primarily to randomly selected news items; comments reflecting personal perceptions

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Justice In Evasive Fullness

"I think we're all getting broken. That's what happens when a monster comes into your life."
"I lost six members of our family, and I'll never get that back. I missed it all. So, you know what? He should miss it all, too."
Shelley Boden, niece of Bob Johnson

"From that point onward, it's been terrifying. It brings it all back, just like the day it happened."
"His resolve is to get out, and our resolve is to keep him in there. And we are getting better at what we do."
Larry Boden

"The general thing is, 'Why are those guys out anyway? They should just be in there forever. But if we keep doing that to everybody, we are going to have to build more and more and more jails and we are going to have to be warehousing people. ... You really can't feasibly keep everybody locked up forever."
Charlotte Durhan-Knight, parole supervisor, Edmonton John Howard Society

Murder convictions in Canada, under its penal law code, come with a mandatory life sentence; first-degree murder sees eligibility for parole automatically set at 25 years. With second-degree convictions, the presiding judge can determine parole eligibility of anywhere between ten and 25 years. From that time when prisoners enter incarceration they earn their passage from maximum security institutions to minimum security facilities.

From there, with good behaviour recognized and a prison management willing, they may progress to escorted absences and then unescorted periods of absence from prison; until three years before parole eligibility, lifers are able to apply for day parole, living at a halfway house. When the time of parole eligibility has been reached, they are then able to apply for full parole. Presumably, much depends upon the severity of the crime and the attitude of the individual who committed that crime.

Some criminal deeds are so horrific they bypass anyone's idea of humanity. Some crimes of passion are brief, deadly and represent one-time events, however dreadful. And then, there are some events that are so gruesomely, horribly unforgivable that the onlooker from any distance of emotional removal must ask themselves why the person who surrendered their humanity should have their own life preserved, and the answer eludes.

At the Wells Gray Provincial Park in British Columbia 26 years ago, David Shearing, then a young man, murdered Bob Johnson, his wife Jackie, their daughters Janet 13, and Karen 11, and Jackie's parents, George and Edith Bentley. These were random murders, and held to have been motivated by David Shearing's rape of the two girls. The girls were kept alive for six days, after their parents and grandparents were killed by the psychopath, who finally killed them as well.

Deny Day and Full Parole to David Ennis (aka Shearing) For The Brutal Mass Murder of the Johnson-Bentley Family

While in prison, David Shearing, serving his concurrent life sentence for the murder of six people, changed his name to David Ennis, his mother's surname. As though changing his name might change his status as a mass murderer, for it was David Shearing who committed that unspeakable atrocity, not David Ennis. And now David Ennis feels he is entitled to parole. A day parole was denied him in 2008, and he applied again in 2012.

The family of Mr. Johnson mounted a petition to deny him his request for parole. And the murderer of six family members of Shelley and Larry Boden has applied again in 2014 so the Bodens worked on another petition of denial. Once the victim impact statements and the petition were submitted to the parole board, Mr. Ennis waived the hearing. But another opportunity will present itself in 2016.

At the April 2014 hearing, at the Bowden Institute, north of Calgary, Mr. Ennis stated: "My actions will always cause me to feel an overwhelming sense of shame and a lifetime of pain and regret". Shelley Boden responded: "I never heard that before. It took him 30 years to say it? Stay there another 30 years to actually feel how sorry you really are."

The board ruled that Shearing still has violent sexual fantasies, hasn’t completed sex offender treatment and is not ready for freedom. Will Canada ever be ready for the freedom to live independent of the eye of justice and societal protection for this mass murderer?

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