The tally of violent cons to escape a minimum-security federal prison in Kingston has risen to three this year with the disappearance yesterday of Kevin Douglas Rice (above left). Rice was last seen at Frontenac Institution, a pen with no fences and no armed guards, at 8:15 a.m., November 26. Staff realized he was gone during a head count at 11:30 a.m. Other escapees this year are Kenneth McBain (centre), who bolted July 6 and is still on the loose and Andrew Wood (right), who was caught days after his escape in June.
In one of the bank robberies he pulled in Ottawa, Rice pointed a loaded gun at an unarmed bank security officer. In a hearing in April 2008, Rice told the National Parole Board that he “didn’t think” he would have used the gun.
Rice’s parole records also reveal that he has a longstanding cocaine addiction, an “abysmal” record of failure while free in the community on conditions, and, his most recent crime was a jewelry store robbery in which he and a gun-toting accomplice terrorized the shopkeeper-owner couple. You won’t find any of that detail in the bland news release issued by Corrections Canada, which also appears here.
This e-file includes two documents, the record of Rice’s parole hearing in April 2008, when he was denied day parole and an appeal decision upholding the decision in November:
Corrections Canada news releases are typically devoid of detail when it comes to convicts. Officials usually rationalize this with the tried-and-true explanation that privacy laws prevent disclosure. You wouldn’t really understand the kind of threat Rice poses if you only read this, the release issued yesterday by Corrections Canada about Rice’s escape:
The Brockville Recorder and Times carried this detailed account of the aftermath of Rice’s robbery of a Brockville jewelry shop:
May 7, 2005
By Jack Walker
It was a daring and violent daylight robbery that destroyed the life savings and ambitions of a Brockville business couple.
Last September 4, Darlene Dorion was standing behind the counter of Positive Jewellers at 62 King Street West while her husband Lionel worked in a back office.
Shortly after 3 p.m., two men, one brandishing a gun, the other a mini sledge-hammer, barged into the store.
Darlene was thrown to the floor and ordered not to get up.
“Don’t make me use this on you,” the gunman warned. “I don’t want to have to kill you.”
Her husband could see what was happening from his office. Fearing something might happen to his wife and not wanting to alarm the robbers, he yelled out “everything is fine.”
The two thugs ordered him to the floor and threatened to kill him.
After ransacking the office, the pair began smashing display cases in the store, one with the hammer; the other with the butt of his gun. Darlene suffered a minor laceration from the flying glass as the thieves shattered virtually all the cases in the store and stuffed the jewelry into duffel bags.
The robbers then exited the store, jumped into a van that had earlier been stolen from the 1000 Islands Mall and drove off.
The stolen cache was valued at $125,498 and included wedding rings, bracelets and studded earrings. None of the jewelry was insured and, to date, none has been recovered.
But one of the thieves inadvertently left something behind – bloodstains on the doorknob and inside one of the display cases.
Subsequent analysis matched the samples to the DNA profile of Kevin Rice, an Ottawa drug addict with a lengthy criminal record. Testing showed there was only a one-in-1.5-trillion chance another person would have the same profile.
Friday, Rice pleaded guilty to robbery, unlawful confinement, uttering death threats and carrying a weapon – a hammer. He also pleaded guilty to stealing medicine and damaging a medicine cart in the emergency department of the Kemptville District Hospital three months earlier.
Ontario Court Justice John Waugh sentenced Rice to 62 months in the penitentiary, citing the horrific impact the crimes had on the Dorions.
“Unless you went through this yourself, you’ll never relate to how I feel,” Darlene wrote in a victim impact statement. “I thought I was going to die and words cannot describe how I feel.”
She still suffers from depression and hasn’t been able to return to the store for fear her assailants might return.
In addition to the $125,000, $1,600 damage was done to the display cases and the store was closed for three days after the robbery.
“Any chance of total retirement that we were working for is now gone,” she said.
Lionel Dorion said he still has nightmares of getting shot or killed and fears for his wife’s life.
The 62-month sentence will run consecutive to a 53-month term Rice is now serving for bank robbery and other offences.
Lawyer Jerry White argued for a further four-year consecutive term to allow his client to get treatment for his cocaine addition while not destroying his future hopes.
Rice had been in a treatment program but had a relapse and was on a drug-fuelled crime spree when he pulled off the Brockville robbery, White added.
Rice, 34, told the court he was sorry for what happened and looked forward to getting help for his drug problem.
Crown attorney Curt Flanagan urged a six-year consecutive term, saying the jewelry store heist was premeditated and systematic.
“He didn’t fall off the wagon, he jumped off,” he said.
Flanagan said the accused had shown no regard for his victims and robbed them of their retirement fund.
“Why?” he asked “They lost it because this gentleman with 20 previous convictions wants to put it up his noise or other places.”
Rice’s gun-toting accomplice is unknown to authorities and remains at large.
Ontario’s elite fugitive hunters, the Repeat Offender Parole Enforcement Unit (think U.S. marshals – but Canadians) are hunting Rice. He is five foot nine inches tall, weighs 217 pounds and has short grey hair and hazel eyes. He has a flame tattoo on his right forearm and a wolf tattoo on his left arm.
(UPDATE, NOVEMBER 30, 2009: Rice was recaptured on the weekend in Ottawa.)