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Parole board OKs 2nd Mexico trip for Surrey murderer

John Joseph Arneil sentenced in 1993 for two shooting murders and an attempted murder
This image has been cropped from the original photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Lars Hagberg

A Surrey man serving two life sentences for second-degree murder convictions as well as attempted murder has received permission from the Parole Board of Canada for the second time to travel outside of the country.

John Joseph Arneil, 48, began serving his sentences in December 1993 at age 18 for the shooting murders of Chris Lussier, 16, Paul McDaniels, 15, and the attempted murder of Richie Moisan, 17, who was shot in the face but survived. Arneil had been on probation when he committed the crimes.

The shootings, with a handgun, happened under the Pattullo Bridge, on the Surrey side, after Arneil’s then-girlfriend Jade Allen, 18, accused Lussier of raping her – a charge the sentencing judge found “had not been substantiated.”

The court heard that the doctor who examined her on the night she was allegedly raped found no evidence of sexual assault.

Arneil was granted day parole in January 2019 and full parole in May 2021. In 2022, he was approved for “out of country travel to Mexico” and the parole board document indicates his case management team advised his trip was “successful” and completed “within the authorized time period.”

READ ALSO: Surrey wife killer Mukhtiar Panghali’s day parole extended for another 6 months

This past Aug. 18, the board authorized Arneil to go to Mexico for 21 days, informing him the Correctional Service of Canada “is supportive once again of you travelling out of country to spend time with your wife at her vacation home in Mexico. The final travel details have yet to be finalized in order to allow you to book affordable flights, obtain a limited validity passport and make arrangements for the care of your property while you are away.

“You and your wife have recently purchased a property in the Interior of the province and have received approval to transfer supervision areas. Your newly assigned parole officer is also in support of the proposed travel request,” the parole board document noted.

“As noted, your CMT are in support of the current travel request. They note you have demonstrated a strong level of commitment to the expectations of your supervision and in terms of your desire to become a productive member of society. Your CMT are of the opinion that the personal, emotional and relationship benefits associated to this travel request will assist in your long term reintegration efforts.”

According to Arneil’s most recent psychological risk assessment, completed in September 2018, he was considered a moderate risk for both general and violent re-offending” and would be considered to be a high risk if he “returned to substance use.”

The parole board document states the board “reviewed and considered” numerous victim statements on file, with the most recent having been submitted in 2021.

“One statement from the deceased victim’s sibling speaks to the enduring harm and grief the family has suffered. She is not supportive of a release in your case,” the document reads. “A second letter is from the deceased victim’s father who states that his son has been missed for all the years since the murder and that he does not support a full parole grant. A third letter is from another sibling who expresses the utter devastation the family experienced with the loss of their loved one.

“The board notes that despite the passage of time the ramifications and harm associated to your offence have not lessened,” the board told Arneil. “The profound grief and loss resonates through these letters and demonstrates the significance of the harm you caused.”

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About the Author: Tom Zytaruk

I write unvarnished opinion columns and unbiased news reports for the Surrey Now-Leader.
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