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.
There is a kind of poetic brilliance in the sterile simplicity of written decisions of the Parole Board of Canada. The federal agency has the unenviable task of cataloguing horrors inflicted on society by figures who are both tragic and frightening. Derek Anthony Wood (inset) is one of these – a teenage mastermind of multiple murder. Wood was just 18 years old on May 7, 1992 when he and two accomplices set out to rob the McDonald’s Restaurant where he worked in tiny Sydney River, Nova Scotia. Wood believed, wrongly, that the safe held hundreds of thousands of dollars. The trio slaughtered three restaurant workers –shooting, stabbing and bludgeoning them – and left a fourth permanently disabled. They fled with roughly $2,000 but were soon caught and convicted. Wood, who was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder, appears to have “some psychopathic traits,” according to the written record of his parole hearing (read document after the jump) convened earlier this year. He was denied any form of release.