Killer Kelly Ellard keeps freedom despite decades of denial and lies

Murderer Kelly Ellard is one of the lucky ones – a killer permitted freedom despite her refusal to tell the truth about the central role she played in a savage murder. In 1997, 14-year-old Reena Virk was beaten by a group of teens and drowned near Victoria, B.C. Ellard was convicted of murder after a trial heard that she held Reena’s head under water until the badly injured, struggling girl fell limp. Ellard has come timidly to the precipice of a full confession, too cowardly to plunge fully forward. Despite this, she is free from prison on parole, clinging to denials and rationalizations.

The Parole Board of Canada recently released another document (read it below) explaining why Ellard (who has changed her name to Kerry Marie Sim) can continue to live beyond prison walls despite years of lying about the murder of Reena Virk. The board is fully aware that Ellard cannot be trusted.

In a 2016 decision, the board wrote: “In fact, you lied to the police and courts when describing your role in the murder.” The board granted Ellard day parole in 2017, although it’s unclear whether she has ever stopped lying about the events of that night. 

Reena Virk, murdered in 1997 at age 14

Ellard is now 35 and has a two-year-old son fathered by a heroin addict with a lengthy criminal record that includes kidnapping and robbery. Parole records do not name Darwin Dorozan, 44, as the father, but Postmedia reported that it confirmed the relationship through sources. Dorozan had conjugal visits with Ellard in 2016 while she was behind bars and he was on day parole. His release was recently revoked after he was caught tampering with an electronic monitoring device, associating with criminals and secretly using an encrypted app to communicate with five people, including Ellard. If investigation reveals that Dorozan was engaged in criminal activity, Ellard’s parole could also be revoked, since one of the conditions of her release bars her from associating with “any person you know or have reason to believe is involved in criminal activity and/or substance abuse.”

Authorities have determined that Dorozan was in contact with a number of other people with serious criminal records and he had made unusual electronic money transfers that were not explained.

Ellard is “open and transparent with those charged with your supervision,” according to the parole board’s latest decision, made in July 2018.

“It would appear that having a child has helped you focus on the important things in life and as a result your motivation to lead a crime free existence remains high,” the parole board states, in its decision.

It’s a seemingly paradoxical statement, given Ellard was the principal figure in the murder of a child – a crime that the sentencing judge said was shocking because of its “senseless, virtually remorseless barbarity.”

Reena Virk was 14 when she was swarmed near a bridge in Saanich, a suburb of Victoria, late on the evening of November 14, 1997. Eight youths punched and kicked her and one attacker burned Reena’s forehead with a lit cigarette. Rebecca Godfrey expertly explains the motives for the attack in her book on the case, Under the Bridge. According to Godfrey, Virk had angered a clique of girls who fancied themselves badass gangsters. After the initial assault, Reena staggered away, across a nearby bridge, but she was followed by Warren Glowatski, then 17, and Ellard, then 15.

Glowatski and Ellard, who were tried as adults, were both convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for seven years (the maximum for a youth tried as an adult). Glowatski was given day parole in 2007. Six girls were convicted of assault causing bodily harm.

It took three trials before Ellard’s conviction was confirmed.

Glowatski admitted, during trial, to taking part in the final assault that led to Reena’s death.

“Kelly started punching her, and I jumped in,” Glowatski testified at the second trial. “We were both kicking and punching.” He said that he and Ellard continued “kicking and stomping on her” after she fell to the ground. Eventually, they grabbed the girl’s legs and dragged her to the water’s edge.

Glowatski said Reena became “semiconscious” and “began struggling” as Ellard held her head underwater.
“Kelly gave her a chop to the throat,” he testified. “Kelly stuck her head under water until red stuff floated to the top. Kelly started walking out of the water.”

Glowatski told the jury trial that he believed Reena was dead. He was asked about Ellard’s emotional state, in the moment immediately after she held the struggling victim underwater until she stopped moving.

“I can’t really describe it – she was – blank.”

After Reena’s body was found, Ellard was questioned by police and admitted only to being involved in a small fight with her. During the trials, Ellard vehemently denied she took part in the second, fatal attack on Reena. She insisted that she did not follow Reena across the bridge with Glowatski.

During the second trial, a Crown prosecutor grilled her about the evidence of other teens who said Ellard had confided to them later that she finished Reena off by drowning her to ensure she could not “rat” them out. Some of the witnesses said Ellard bragged about killing Reena.

“I did not kill Reena Virk and I will repeat it and repeat it and I will stick with that until the day I die!” Ellard testified. “I don’t care how much jail time I do, I did not kill Reena Virk. I will still say I did not kill Reena Virk until the day I die. I don’t care if I get another life sentence but I did not kill Reena Virk.”

Ellard did not “stick with” the story that she insisted at trial was “her truth.” In prison, she has told authorities that, contrary to her many angry denials of crossing the bridge to follow Reena and assault her again, she did, in fact, return to Reena after the first assault.

In a 2017 parole hearing, she “admitted to dragging the victim into the water afterwards, though you were adamant that you did not bend her arm back or hold her under the water to drown her. This time you also expressed that you were not trying to assist her in any way or to revive her; rather, you were trying to ‘make it [the problem] go away’ and wanted to ‘get rid of her.’ ”

The admission is in stark contrast to trial testimony, when Ellard insisted that she was not involved in a second attack on Reena and that she only heard from others that Reena had been “put in the water.”

“That you were a central figure in the planning and execution [of the attack] is of particular concern, as is your central role in ensuring her death,” the parole board noted, in its November 2017 decision. “The [parole] board also finds that your denials and minimizations over the years have further egregiously injured the family of the victim, a family that will forever live with such an incomprehensible loss.”

Ellard has impudently admitted withholding the truth until it was necessary to win her freedom. During a 2016 parole hearing she was asked why she took so long to admit to a greater role in the murder.

“You said you were initially reluctant to do so due to the legal proceedings,” the written record of the hearing states. “You said you later decided to wait for the ‘appropriate time,’ which you said was related to the timing of your release such as applying for day parole.” Ellard also told the parole board that she “omitted” the information during the trial process.

In 2011, she told a psychiatrist that she took some responsibility for Reena’s death but believed she should have been convicted only of manslaughter.

Now free, Ellard has the facade of redemption, but clearly devoid of contrition.

The written record of the decision by the Parole Board of Canada in July 2018 to extend Ellard’s day parole:

» Read all of Ellard’s documents in the Parole Records Library

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