Nfld. & Labrador

Catherine Carroll's murderer granted temporary absences to attend AA

​Brian Doyle has been granted escorted temporary absences from William Head Prison in British Columbia for a three-month term so he can attend AA meetings.

Greg Parsons, wrongly convicted of killing his mother, gives emotional victim impact statement

Greg Parsons was in British Columbia for Brian Doyle's hearing, where he gave an emotional victim impact statement. (Mike McArthur/CBC)

Convicted murderer Brian Doyle is being let out of prison, at least temporarily and for short periods of time.

"I'm not overly surprised," said Greg Parsons, the son of Catherine Carroll, Doyle's victim — and the man who was initially convicted of the crime.

"I'm disappointed but it's nothing to the disappointment to know that he's in this facility in here. It's a country club. There's one fence, they got a beach, they got tennis courts. He slaughtered my mom and he framed me for slaughtering my mom and then he put a hit on my family."

Doyle killed Carroll in St. John's in 1991, but it was years before he was caught. DNA cleared Parsons' name in 1998, while a police sting operation eventually led to Doyle's conviction. 

The provincial government apologized to Parsons in 1998 and later compensated him, four years after he was convicted.

In 2006, an inquiry led by Justice Antonio Lamer concluded that poor police work and tunnel vision led to the wrongful conviction.

"The investigation and prosecution of Gregory Parsons became a 'runaway train,' fuelled by tunnel vision and picking up many passengers along the way," Lamer wrote at the time.

Parsons was at Friday's parole hearing in British Columbia, where he gave a powerful victim impact statement, saying he's withdrawn from society as a result of his mother's murder and his own wrongful conviction and it feels like he is the one still in jail.

Brian Doyle, seen in this photo from 2002, was convicted of second-degree murder in the 1990 death of Catherine Carroll, 45, in St. John's. (CBC)

At the end of Friday's hearing, the parole board granted Doyle escorted temporary absences for a three-month term so he can attend Alcoholic Anonymous meetings in Greater Victoria. The board says it is the first step in reintegration for Doyle, who a prison psychiatrist says is a moderate risk to reoffend.

Parsons says he's hoping to speak to Canada's justice minister to make the case to have Doyle put in a different institution.

"I want him put back in a prison. You heard in there how violent it was and what he has done," he said.

"They said that he's still a moderate threat to society ... It's no good for him to be in this country club here. It's not fair to me, it's not fair to society, it's not fair to my family. We've suffered enough, and this just adds to the pain and the suffering."

Doyle was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 18 years (until 2021) for second-degree murder. He has been at William Head Prison in Metchosin, B.C., since December 2015. 

Parsons' brother and sister-in-law, as well as a cousin, also attended the hearing.

Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from the CBC's Elizabeth McArthur

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