Manitoba

Triple murderer could get day parole in 4 years

The possibility exists a now-18-year-old street gang member who murdered three people could be eligible for day parole just four years to the day his crimes were committed.

At age 15, he shot and murdered three strangers and seriously wounded three others as they celebrated at a Winnipeg birthday party.

But Tuesday, it was revealed that there's a possibility the now-18-year-old street gang member could be eligible for day parole and back on the streets in a limited fashion just four years to the day his crimes were committed.

The man can't be identified because he was charged and convicted as a youth of three counts of first-degree murder and three counts of attempted murder after a trial last year.

While a judge has ruled he will receive an adult sentence, that sentence has yet to be imposed. Lawyers for the Crown and defence returned to court Tuesday to argue over where the man should serve his prison time and when he may be eligible for parole.

Court of Queen's Bench Justice Colleen Suche must decide whether he could apply for parole at the minimum of five years, a maximum of seven or somewhere in between.

The Crown is seeking the maximum seven years, citing a need to protect the public and denounce the young man's conduct.

"Seven years should be the absolute floor," prosecutor Lisa Carson told Suche. "He creates a significant risk to public safety," she said.

However, court heard federal guidelines open the door for the man to apply for day parole prior to his full parole eligibility.

Carson said that should Suche choose a five-year parole eligibility period, the man would be eligible for day parole on March 29, 2012. She will issue a decision on March 1, Carson told CBC News late Tuesday.

On March 29, 2008, the man was one of two suspects who entered through the rear door of a home on Alexander Avenue and started firing.

Entrenched in gang life

Scott Lavallee, 31, Corey Keeper, 22, and Jennifer Ward, 26, were killed. Three other people were wounded: two men, aged 19 and 29, and a 41-year-old woman. They survived the attack in which more than 19 shots were fired.

Carson told Suche on Tuesday the man is an entrenched member of the Indian Posse street gang who presents major security concerns to staff and other inmates at the youth centre where he's currently being held. The Crown wants him transferred to a federal prison for adults to serve his time.

Court heard his convictions for serious crimes have in some way bolstered his reputation with other inmates who defer to his authority.

Since his arrest shortly after the murders, the risk he's posed to other inmates has "steadily" increased, Carson said. Reports filed by the Crown said the man has been involved in recruitment efforts for the Indian Posse while locked up.

On Nov. 8, he passed a piece of paper to an inmate who was leaving. On it was a phone number and the words "tell him I sent you," Carson said.

Defence lawyer Ryan Rolston said the jail records the Crown put before the court didn't paint a complete picture of the man.

Colton Patchinose, 21, remains in custody and is also charged with three counts of murder and attempted murder in connection to the case.