bc-Virk

The victim's mother, Suman Virk, spoke in support of Warren Glowatski's application for unescorted temporary absences. ((CBC))

The man convicted ofsecond-degree murder for killing 14-year-old Reena Virk near Victoria in 1997 has been granted unescorted temporary absences from prison.

Warren Glowatski,25, had been sentenced to a life term, but is eligible for parole because he was a youth at the time of Virk's killing.

He was only 16 when he helped Kelly Ellard beat Reena Virk, and then stood by and watched as Ellard drowned Virk in the Gorge Waterway near Victoria.

Glowatski eventually testified for the Crown against Ellard, who was also convicted of second-degree murder.

Elder-assisted hearing

His parole hearing was held on Wednesday at the minimum-security Ferndale Institution in Mission east of Vancouver where he is serving his sentence.

It was his secondbid for a measure of freedom. He had applied for day parole in late 2004, but was turned down because the Parole Board panel felt he had not come to terms with his violent past.

Wednesday's hearing involved a First Nations elder and began with the burning of sweetgrass, because ofGlowatski's aboriginal ancestry.

It also involved Manjit and Suman Virk, the parents of Reena Virk.

Glowatski contrite

The convicted killer told the panel he has now come to terms with his past and his attraction to gangs and violence.

He said he now knows that he was a dangerously impulsive man,and that herecognizes the triggers for hisviolent behaviour.

He told the panel he's a different person now, and acknowledged the pain he has caused others.

Glowatskisaid he'sready to take the next step in his life, and asked the Parole Board members to trust him.

Virks supportive

Both of the Virks also spoke at the hearing, telling the panel that healing cannot begin until an offender owns up to their actions.

Suman Virk said that Glowatski's statement on Wednesday is "huge,"and was tremendously helpful to the couple.

The Virks also said they think the young man is on the right path, and that theysupported him getting unescorted absences as he continues to serve his life sentence.

The panel members agreed, noting Glowatski's positive record while in prison. His next step will be to apply for full day parole.

At the end of the hearing, Glowatski thanked the Virks,giving each ofthema hug.