Colin Thatcher, the former Saskatchewan cabinet minister convicted of killing his ex-wife,was granted full parole on Thursday — but under conditions that include reporting any romantic relationships to authorities.
After getting the decision froma National Parole Board panel in Regina at about 12:40 p.m. CT,Thatcher said hewould never do anythingto make the board regretits decision.
His intentionfrom now on is to live quietly as "a ranch hand"on thefamily's operation near Moose Jaw, Thatcher said.
"I have bought another horse. I love horses and livestock.I'm very happy and content and love the rural isolation," Thatcher said.
Thatcher, 68,had beenserving a life sentence after being convicted of first-degree murder in 1984. JoAnn Wilson was beaten and shot in the head in the garage of her home in 1983, three years after the couple divorced and after an acrimonious custody battle over their three children.
Thatcher has always maintained his innocence. Since 1999, when the opportunity first arose, he has devoted considerable energy to winning early release from prison.
He won the right to apply for early parole in 2003 under the so-called faint-hope clause of the Criminal Code. However, the parole board had turned down his requests for full parole until Thursday.
Wilson's brother, Don Geiger, told CBC News from his home in Iowa he was disappointed but not surprised by the decision.
Must get counselling
The panel granted his request, with several conditions. Thatcher will be required to take psychiatric counselling and must report any romantic relationships to the board.
In his comments to the panel, Thatcher said it was unlikely he would be involved in a relationship again.
"I have seen people come back [to prison] because of a conflict with a partner," he said. "I would be hesitant to give someone that kind of power over me."
His release plan calls for him to live on the ranch.
Granted day parole in May
The board granted him day parole in May.
Since then, Thatcher had been spendinghis nights at a halfway house in Regina and days at the family ranch.
He had also been seen, on occasion, working out at a local YMCA gym and attending Saskatchewan Roughrider games.
Thatcher's new lifeon full parolebegins when the paperwork for his release has been completed— likely in a day or so, officials said.