88,000 signatures and counting.
That’s how many people want to see killer David Ennis, formerly known as Shearing, stay behind bars this summer.
He shouldn’t even be given the option for parole.
This is a man who cold-heartedly stalked George and Edith Bentley, daughter Jackie Johnson, her husband Bob and their two daughters Janet, 13, and Karen, 11 during the families’ summer camping trip to Wells Gray Park in 1982. He later shot the four adults and kidnapped the two girls, sexually assaulting and torturing them before he murdered them too. He then burned all their bodies.
For those old enough to remember that horrendous time, it’s one that is hard to forget. It’s considered one of the worst mass murders in our history. It took close to two years before Ennis was caught.
Canada’s Justice system encourages rehabilitation but some people should never be let back out on the streets.
In 2012, a two-member National Parole Board panel determined that Ennis should re-enrol in a high-intensity sexual offender program before he could be released. It also stated he needed to spend time in a minimum-security institution to establish credibility during temporary absences before he could be paroled.
The most telling information, however, was the board found that Ennis’ “sexual deviance in fantasy” remained, and he did not fully understand the risk factors for his behaviour or how to manage them. Chances are he would likely re-offend if he was let out on the streets.
That’s a scary thought, especially since those findings came 30 years after Ennis had killed the Johnson-Bentley families. It’s hard to believe that in the past eight years, he has been able to rehabilitate himself to the point where he could live in a halfway house in the community.
The petitioners argue his release into the community would “jeopardize the safety of all citizens, but more importantly our children.”
Let’s hope their petition, with its hefty 88,469 signatures – equivalent to 4,000 pages – holds enough weight to convince the parole board to keep him behind bars, not just for the next five years, but forever.
It would lift a weight from all of our shoulders.