Here is just a partial list of the brutal murderers that Canada has set free
The Canadian justice system has freed serial killers, child murderers, mass shooters, cop killers, cannibals and even terrorists — all against the desperate pleas of victim's families.
Canadian public opinion has been galvanized this week by the news that Terri-Lynne McClintic, one of the murderers of eight-year-old Tori Stafford, has been transferred to a low-security “healing lodge”
after only eight years in federal prison.
Canadians would be right to suspect that this is something that happens relatively often. A Canadian given a “life sentence” for first-degree murder can expect to get out of jail in only 22.4 years
, according to 2002 numbers from Corrections Service Canada. The Canadian justice system has freed serial killers, child murderers, mass shooters, cop killers, cannibals and even terrorists. Just as in the case of the transfer of McClintic, these releases have almost always occurred despite the fervent appeals of victims’ families. Below, a not-at-all comprehensive list of notorious Canadian killers who were released early, got parole or escaped from minimum security or prison leaves.
Munro was robbing a Toronto restaurant in 1980 when he shot Const. Michael Sweet, an officer attempting to intervene. Over a 90-minute standoff, Munro held off any attempt to secure medical care for the seriously wounded officer. As Sweet bled to death and pleaded for his life, Munro mocked him, saying he would never see his three daughters again. The episode would cause another officer at the scene, Sgt. Eddie Adamson, to take his own life in 2005. In 2010, despite being deemed a “moderate” risk to reoffend, Munro was granted unescorted passes from a B.C. minimum security prison. Those were revoked in 2012 when he tested positive for cocaine and was found to be consorting with prostitutes, although he is able to re-apply for parole every two years.
Career criminal Merrick shot and killed Coquitlam’s Shelley Devoe, 44, in 2006 because he suspected her of stealing $800. Sent to jail for the murder in 2009, he was soon transferred to a minimum security institution from which he easily escaped in 2015. He robbed six banks in the Lower Mainland before being caught six weeks later.
A former RCMP drug squad officer, Kelly murdered his wife Jeanette in 1984 by throwing her off the balcony of their 17th-floor Toronto apartment. Kelly has never admitted to the murder, claiming that his wife simply tripped and fell. Nevertheless, he has repeatedly been granted day and full parole since 2004. Every time, Kelly has quickly violated parole terms by pursuing multiple romantic relationships with women unaware of his criminal past.
Bruce was given a life sentence in 1970 for shooting dead a young woman in front of her seven-year-old daughter, reportedly over an ounce of heroin. Even before that Bruce had a lengthy rap sheet that included two sex attacks on strangers. In 1975, Bruce was one of the ringleaders of a hostage-taking and escape attempt at New Westminster’s B.C. Penitentiary that killed 32-year-old social worker Mary Steinhauser, reportedly as she was being used by Bruce as a human shield. Despite all of this, Bruce was granted full parole in 2010
. He was arrested in 2016 after he was found masturbating at a bus stop and threatening passersby with a can of pepper spray.
Long before there was the 2014 Parliament Hill attacks, there was Denis Lortie. Using weapons stolen from a Canadian Armed Forces base, Lortie charged shooting into the Quebec National Assembly in 1984, wounding 13 and killing three government employees
: George Boyer, Camille Lepage and Roger Lefrançois. The death toll could have easily been much higher if the attack had started while the assembly was in session. Lortie pleaded guilty to three counts of second-degree murder in 1987, but got day parole in 1995 and full parole in 1996, only 12 years after the murders.
Canada’s youngest mass murderer
Known only by her initials in court documents, J.R. was only 12 years old when she had her 23-year-old boyfriend Jeremy Steinke break into her Medicine Hat home to murder her parents. Her eight-year-old brother was also killed to prevent him becoming a witness. J.R. was completely freed after 8.5 years in prison, with one judge saying that her murdered parents “would be rather proud” of her rehabilitation.
On the night of Boxing Day 1988, Yarema, then 22, was among a group of men who pulled 21-year-old Terry Spindler out of a Kingston bar, bundled him off to a house, and proceeded to beat and torture him to death — ending the night by urinating on Spindler’s body. The men believed that Spindler had been the perpetrator of a violent robbery against a local drug dealer’s mother. In fact, the robbery had been committed by Spindler’s twin brother. Convicted of first degree murder, Yarema was out of prison before his 40th birthday, with the parole board saying he had shown “remarkable change” in his personality. The parents of Spindler did not attend Yarema’s parole board hearings, telling local media
through a friend that they didn’t wish to participate in a process that they saw as being slanted against the victim.
A star in the Canadian amateur boxing community, Molitor won gold for Canada in the welterweight division of the 1998 Commonwealth Games. In 2002, he stabbed his 21-year-old girlfriend Jessica Nethery 58 times before abandoning her body in a parked car. Convicted of second degree murder, he was out on day parole by 2015 and has a new girlfriend. “He can murder someone brutally and less than 14 years later be told he can try living his life back in civilization. It’s really angering and frustrating,” the victim’s sister, Stephanie Nethery, told the Sarnia Observer
In 1990, a 17-year-old Lord joined a plot by schoolmate Darren Huenemann to collect part of a $4 million inheritance by brutally murdering two of Huenemann’s relatives. Using kitchen knives and crowbars, Lord participated in the murder of Doris Leatherbarrow, 69, and Sharon Huenemann, 47 in their Tsawwassen home. Despite never admitting guilt and being denied day parole, Lord was still granted escorted absences earlier this year in order to visit family in Chilliwack. “We don’t feel we’re being protected when a convicted double murderer who can’t admit their guilt is walking around,” Kim Hill, a relative of the two slain, told Postmedia in June. Another of the killers, David Muir, has been on full parole since 2003.
Although he now calls himself Will Baker, Li was in the depths of untreated schizophrenia in 2008 when on a Greyhound bus in Manitoba he stabbed seatmate Tim McLean to death and began mutilating and eating the corpse. One of the first RCMP officers on the scene would later take his own life in part because of the trauma. Baker was found not criminally responsible for the murder, and in 2017 was granted an absolute discharge from psychiatric care, effectively removing any ability for the justice system to monitor his movements and actions. Carol de Delley, McLean’s mother, vigorously opposed the release, saying there was no way to ensure that Baker wouldn’t forsake his medication and kill again. “I don’t believe for one second that Will Baker poses no threat,” she said in a statement.
Homolka is easily the most notorious Canadian murderer who has walked free. Along with then-husband Paul Bernardo, she participated in the 1991 abduction, rape and murder of two Ontario schoolgirls, Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy. Homolka received a lesser sentence of manslaughter as a result of a deal she struck with prosecutors and was out of prison by 2005. In 2012 she was found to be living a new life as a mother of three in the Caribbean and in 2017 she was found to be volunteering at a Montreal elementary school
At the tail end of a string of violent crimes in 1976, Bill Nichols murdered Calgary Police officer Keith Harrison, a father of two teenaged boys. Nichols was initially set to face the death penalty, but following federal abolition of capital punishment he instead became the first Canadian to be convicted of first-degree murder and was handed a sentence without parole eligibility for 25 years. Nevertheless, under the faint hope clause he was given day parole by 1993 and was on full parole by 1996. “Our justice system provides unbelievable support and assistance to the offenders, and couldn’t give a rat’s ass about the victims,” one of Harrison’s friends wrote in a 2001 letter to Postmedia.
In 1995, the 20-year-old Kummerfield and a friend got extremely drunk, cruised the streets of Regina looking for a prostitute, and then took her to a remote area where they beat her to death. According to a later autopsy, Pamela Jean George, 28 and a mother of two, was still clinging to life when they left her face-down in a field near the Regina airport. “We drove around, got drunk and killed this chick,” Kummerfield, a university basketball star and the grandson of a Saskatchewan cabinet minister, would tell a friend the next day according to court testimony. Convicted of manslaughter, Kummerfield was granted full parole only five years after the crime
. A parole board decision wrote that Kummerfield showed little remorse for his crime, but that regardless, he wasn’t “an undue risk on full parole.”
Calgary girl Kimberley Thompson was snatched off the street by Smeltzer in 1980 while she was on her way to kindergarten. He drowned her in a bathtub and stuffed her body in a garbage can. Only five years old at the time, Kimberley would now be 44 had she lived. In addition to the murder Smeltzer also admitted to 40 other sexual assaults against children. The Parole Board of Canada began granting unescorted passed to Smeltzer in 2008
. Despite numerous parole violations, such as possessing pornography or admitting to being attracted to a young girl while on day parole in Regina, those leaves have continued. “It makes me sick actually … sick to my stomach because I’m so afraid that it’s going to happen again to somebody else and nobody – nobody – should have to go through what our family has gone through,” Kim’s mother Evelyn Thompson told Global News
Thrown out of a Vancouver bar in 1980, LeClair returned with a gun and opened fire on random patrons, killing three. Then, he drove to the Richmond RCMP detachment and murdered the first Mountie he saw, Const. Tom Agar. It was one of the most shocking spasms of violence in Vancouver history, but LeClair already had a lengthy history of violence against family, police and romantic partners. “Someone who is capable of that level of controlled rage will always have a question mark about the possibility of its re-occurrence,” wrote the Parole Board of Canada in 2014. Despite this, he was given unescorted leaves from prison starting that year. Only in 2017 were those passes revoked after a series of troubling incidents, such as being heard making “disparaging comments towards his victims
John Martin Crawford
Just before Christmas 1981, a 19-year-old Crawford beat Mary Jane Serloin to death on the streets of Lethbridge, Alta. A subsequent autopsy found bite marks all over Serloin’s body that were consistent with Crawford’s dental profile. Crawford was convicted of manslaughter and was out of prison within 10 years. Soon after his release he began killing again, and in 1995 Crawford was charged in the murders of three missing Indigenous women; Shelley Napope, 16, Eva Taysup, 30, and Calinda Waterhen, 22. The skeletons of all three were found in shallow graves at a Saskatoon-area golf course.
In 1991, Lovie allegedly sexually assaulted a former girlfriend at knifepoint, telling her that if she went to police about the crime, he would kill her family. She did, and six weeks later he responded by brutally murdering her parents, Arnold and Donna Edwards, in front of her. Former Buffalo Sabres goalie Don Edwards is the son of Arnold and Donna and was a target of similar threats from Lovie. The murders made Edwards a public advocate for stricter homicide sentencing, although his efforts met with little success. In 2017, Lovie began receiving unescorted absences into downtown Sudbury. “To think this guy is going to be walking the streets of Sudbury and people don’t know who he is or what he’s all about … I’ll be honest, I’m completely pissed off, it’s one of the reasons I left Canada,” Edwards, who now lives in an undisclosed part of the U.S. for security reasons, told Postmedia in 2017
Boden became known as the “vampire rapist” for leaving bite marks all over the breasts of his victims. Between 1968 and 1971 he raped and murdered four young women in Montreal: Norma Vaillancourt, Shirley Audette, Marielle Archambault and Jean Way. A fifth, 33-year-old Elizabeth Pourteous, was found murdered and bitten in Calgary. Boden received an indefinite sentence for the murders but in 1984 he escaped while on an escorted “humanitarian” day pass, and would later be found stalking the same area of Montreal where he had met most of his victims.
Gerald Thomas Archer
Archer would become known as the London Chambermaid Slayer for murdering women who worked as chambermaids in London, Ont. He is believed to have sexually assaulted, beaten and stabbed three women in their 50s and 60s: Edith Authier, Jane Wooley and Belva Russell. But he would only be convicted for the 1971 murder of Russell and would be paroled only 14 years later in 1985. “He spent the next 10 years as a nomad, drifting from town to town throughout Ontario and staying in many of the low rent dives where he used to go trolling for his victims,” wrote author Michael Arntfield in the book Murder City, an account of London’s history of serial killers.
In 2008 Boudreau drove her 12-year-old daughter Karissa to an isolated area outside Bridgewater, Nova Scotia, ordered her to leave the car and then strangled her to death with a piece of twine. “Mommy, don’t,” were Karissa’s last words, according to later testimony. Boudreau then falsely claimed that Karissa had been abducted and put out a tearful public plea for her return. Although convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to 20 years in prison, in June the Parole Board of Canada began granting Boudreau escorted leaves from prison to attend church.
Myself, I would have used Corrections Canada in the headline as they
are the ones responsible for allowing these criminals back into society.