Chatham triple-murderer granted parole after almost 25 years in prison

Now 46 years old, Cofell was a teenager in a militia regiment when he and an accomplice killed a grandson, grandfather and grandmother.

Jason Shawn Cofell received a life sentence for three counts of first-degree murder

Jason Shawn Cofell killed three people in October 1991. (Northern Advancement Capital )

A Chatham, Ont. man who was sent to prison in the early 1990s with a life sentence for three counts of first-degree murder was granted full parole on Jan. 14.

Now 46 years old, Jason Shawn Cofell was 18 and in the Essex Kent Scottish Militia Regiment when he killed a young man, his grandfather and grandmother on Oct. 18, 1991. 

At the time, Cofell was trafficking in illegal firearms and had learned that his first victim — Jasen Pangburn, who was in the same militia regiment — was going to inform the police about Cofell's activities. 

After killing Pangburn, Cofell and his accomplice, Dan Cowell, fatally stabbed the victim's grandparents, Alfred Critchley, 75, and Virginia Critchley, 73.

Cowell was convicted of the second degree murder of Virginia Critchley.

According to the Parole Board of Canada's (PBC) decision, Cofell has been on day parole for the past three and a half years, "without incident and [maintains] positive supports and gainful employment."

Released to a halfway house on day parole in 2016, Cofell was required to avoid direct or indirect contact with any members of the victims' families; avoid association with anyone involved in or believed to be involved in criminal activity; and avoid association with any person known to be or believed to be a member of the Canadian Armed Forces. 

While on day parole, Cofell's case was reviewed every six months. He also worked with a psychologist and obtained a driver's license.

Since being granted day parole, Cofell has also had his privileges expanded, allowing him five nights away from the halfway house per week, up from the standard four nights per week. 

Though he didn't submit written comments to the Parole Board, he stated that his plans are to continue to establish his leather business, move into an apartment he shares with a roommate and "maintain positive family supports," according to the decision. 


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