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.
Imprisoned murderer Paul Bernardo claims that he has “cured” himself of the aberrant thinking that drove him to rape and murder young women and girls, and that’s why he should be set free. Bernardo also claimed, in an October 17 parole hearing that, although he may have once been considered a psychopath, sexual sadist and narcissist, now, he’s a “nice and compassionate guy.” The outlandish claims are documented in the written record of the hearing (read the full doc after the jump). The Parole Board rejected Bernardo’s assertions and denied him any form of release.
Richard Ambrose, who was convicted of murdering two Moncton police officers more than 40 years ago, complains that a parole officer at a B.C. penitentiary where he’s confined lied to the parole board, his prison files are rife with errors and it’s unreasonable that he’s being kept in prison. Ambrose (who changed his name to Bergeron) was denied parole during a hearing in February 2017. He appealed the decision and a judgment on the appeal has been released (read it in full after the jump).
To the naïve or gullible, prisoner Derek Wood might seem an intriguing Renaissance man, based on a new, aggrandizing self-portrait. Twenty-five years ago, he shot three McDonald’s restaurant workers in the head in a bungled robbery-turned-multiple-murder in Nova Scotia. Wood is 44 and still behind bars in Quebec and now says he loves great Baroque composers of the 17th century. He invokes famed physicist Erwin Schrodinger. Wood insists he’s “funny” and a “bibliophile” with a “fondness for recondite words.” Really, he may simply be a remorseless killer who concocted a more likeable – and less threatening – persona, given his eligibility in September to seek full parole.
Canada’s top court has mercifully put an end to the Shafia family charade of innocence claims and birthdate uncertainty. The Supreme Court of Canada announced today (April 13, 2017) that it will not hear the appeal of Hamed Shafia, who claimed he wasn’t 18 years old at the time he and his father and mother murdered four other family members, including three of Hamed’s five sisters. In essence, the court declared that the Shafias are mass murderers and liars, and that’s the end of it. They no longer have any legal recourse. The decision follows the unanimous rejection by Ontario’s top court of appeals by the trio.
Muhammad Parvez, who strangled his 16-year-old daughter Aqsa (inset) to death because of his distorted belief that she had tarnished his family honour, has died in prison. His death comes nearly a decade after the murder that became a flashpoint for a national debate about cultural traditions imported to Canada by newcomers. “I killed my daughter. . . with my hands,” Parvez said, in a 911 call placed minutes after the murder in the Parvez home in Mississauga, Ontario in December 2007. The Parvez case sparked a sustained and furious national debate about the spread of misogynistic and patriarchal practices that put women and girls at risk of violence and death, though there had been many such murders dating back decades before Aqsa’s death. The debate intensified two years after Aqsa’s death, when four members of the Shafia family were murdered in June 2009 in Kingston, Ontario in a mass honour killing – the case that is the focus of my true crime book, Without Honour: The True Story of the Shafia Family and the Kingston Canal Murders.
More than 40 years after Richard Ambrose was sentenced to hang for murdering two New Brunswick police officers, he is continuing to deny that he shot the victims. At a hearing in British Columbia this month, Ambrose, 68, told the parole board that he was only hired to “bury something” – he just didn’t know ‘something’ was the bodies of two policemen, Const. Michael O’Leary and Cpl. Aurele Bourgeois of the Moncton police department. At a hearing February 1 (read parole document, after the jump), the board refused Ambrose’s bid for full parole, noting that in the past year he has becoming increasingly hostile with prison staff and he was charged twice with breaking prison rules. Ambrose, who has changed his name to Bergeron, was ordered to remain behind bars in B.C.
Seven years ago, one of Canada’s most notorious imprisoned child killers, Saul Betesh (inset), began pursuing penpals on a U.S.-based website for lonely inmates. Betesh is now into his fourth decade behind bars and he’s still hunting friendship by letter. The reviled sex murderer has posted another online ad soliciting penpals, this time on a Canadian-based site. Betesh’s ad (screenshot after the jump) reveals that he’s no longer in Ontario – he was at medium-security Warkworth Institution near Campbellford, Ontario when he posted his 2010 ad – but he’s now at Pacific Institution, about 80 kilometres east of Vancouver. Six years ago, Betesh slyly concealed the horror of his crime. His ad described his offence only as “assault.” Now, he’s shown the temerity to confess he’s serving time for first-degree murder and acknowledges that “my crime was bad.”