British Columbia

Kelowna residents fight killer's release

Residents of a town in B.C.'s Interior are gathering signatures on a petition to keep a convicted killer behind bars.

Petition calls for murderer of 6 members of one family to be kept behind bars

Members of a B.C. Interior town are gathering signatures on a petition to try to ensure a killer stays behind bars.

In the summer of 1982, David Shearing of Clearwater, B.C., pleaded guilty to six counts of second-degree murder. He will be eligible for parole in October after serving 25 years of a life sentence.

Bob and Jackie Johnson, their daughters Janet, 13, and Karen, 11, and Jackie's parents, George and Edith Bentley, were found dead after they failed to return from a camping trip near Clearwater. They had been shot and then burned in the family car.

The Johnson girls were kidnapped and sexually assaulted before being killed. 

Now residents of Westbank, near Kelowna, are rallying to try to prevent parole being granted to Shearing, who has changed his last name to Ennis.

"When you understand what he did to those girls … this guy should never get out of jail. He should never get out," said local business owner Chuck Jean.

He is one of 30 business owners in the area posting petitions for residents to sign to help fight Shearing's possible release from prison.

"Everyone is concerned of the possibility of something like this happening again," said Dorene Lander, who knew the family.

At Gorman Brothers Sawmill, where Bob Johnson never missed a shift, his former colleagues oppose Shearing's release.

"I certainly don't think he should be let out. Any creature that could murder six people and burn their bodies doesn't deserve freedom," said Ross Gorman.

So far, petition organizers have managed to collect approximately 5,000 signatures, which will be presented to the National Parole Board at Shearing's parole hearing in October.