Nfld. & Labrador

Samantha's killer should never go free: Walsh

The mother of a teenager murdered in Fleur de Lys, on Newfoundland's Baie Verte Peninsula, is worried that her daughter's killer could soon be out of prison.
Samantha Walsh was murdered by Michael Lewis in 2000. ((CBC))

The mother of a teenager murdered in Fleur de Lys on Newfoundland's Baie Verte Peninsula is worried her daughter's killer could soon be out of prison.

The possibility that Michael Lewis could be a free man later this summer has overwhelmed Millie Walsh with anxiety. Lewis, 27, is scheduled to have a full parole hearing on Aug. 5.

"I just feel fearful that when he's out into society that I just feel fearful for myself, for my family,  for all his friends at that time, " said an emotional Walsh.

Lewis strangled Samantha Walsh, 13, at a cabin in Fleur de Lys in February 2000. He confessed to the crime after initially misleading investigators for 17 days. Lewis was 16 at the time.

The murder shocked many people in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Lewis was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for seven years.

In 2007, Lewis applied for parole and was turned down. The National Parole Board ruled that he was still a risk to reoffend. In November 2010, Lewis was granted unescorted temporary absences, and started spending time at a halfway house in Nova Scotia.

Walsh said  the parole board is more concerned with Lewis' progress in the correctional system, rather than the crime he committed.

"[There's] nothing about who he is, what he did, the time period of 17 days of Sam being missing, his actions, everything," a tearful Walsh said.  "It's all about who Michael Lewis is now."

Walsh said she's exhausted from attending Lewis's parole hearings and tracking Lewis's movement through the correctional system. But Walsh and her husband George will travel to New Brunswick again for Lewis's parole board hearing Aug. 5.

"I feel I have to have a voice for [Samantha] and for any other family who has gone through what we have gone through," she said.

Lewis could be granted full parole as soon as later that day.