Man convicted of murdering West Kelowna family denied parole

ennis-1-950856-1631711993397

Update: September 16 -- 10:08 a.m.

The woman behind the petition to keep mass murderer David Ennis behind bars says family members got what they wanted at his parole hearing yesterday (Sep 15).

"He was denied of both day and full parole," says Tammy Arishenkoff, who started the petition on Change.org. "And he also withdrew his application for escorted temporary absences." 

She says the online hearing was emotional and nerve-wracking for surving family members.

"It seems at times when people were reading impact statements that appeared to be wiping his eyes. The way he still speaks about it, it's very casual, there's no real emotion behind his words. It left everyone questioning if those were even his own words that he had written and presented."

Ennis can apply for full parole again in five years.


Update: September 15 -- 1:25 p.m.

A B.C. man convicted in the mass murder of a family on a camping trip has been denied parole.

David Shearing, now known as David Ennis, shot and killed six members of the same family while they were camping near Wells Gray Provincial Park in 1982.

He was convicted of murdering grandparents George and Edith Bentley and their daughter Jackie Johnson and husband Bob as they sat around a campfire. He kidnapped the Johnson’s two girls, Janet, 13 and Karen, 11. He sexually assaulted them before shooting them days later.

He then put the victims’ bodies in the family car and burned it.

Ennis is serving an indeterminate life sentence for six counts of second-degree murder. The hearing took place at Bowden Institution in Alberta.

Many relatives of the victims spoke during the hearing as well as friends. One of them was Tammy Arishenkoff who was Janet’s childhood friend.

She says Ennis should never be released, calling him a “beast” that stalked the family.

“He’s a coward that our children will never be safe from. He is the monster under our bed that we all fear…good has a duty to always fight against evil,” Arishenkoff said at the hearing.

with files from CTV News Vancouver


Original: September 15 -- 8:00 a.m.

A man convicted of the mass murder of a family nearly 40 years ago is to seek his release once again when he appears today before the Parole Board of Canada.

David Shearing, who now goes by the name David Ennis, shot and killed George and Edith Bentley of Port Coquitlam; their daughter, Jackie; and her husband, Bob Johnson of West Kelowna, while the family was on a camping trip in the Clearwater Valley near Wells Gray Provincial Park, about 120 kilometres north of Kamloops in 1982.

He kept the Johnsons' daughters - Janet, 13, and Karen, 11 - alive for almost a week and sexually assaulted them before taking them into the woods, one at a time, and killing them.

The B.C. man then put all six bodies in the family car and set it on fire.

Shearing, 62, pleaded guilty in 1984 to six counts of second-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years. The judge at the time described the murders as “a cold-blooded and senseless execution of six defenceless and innocent people.”

Ennis applied for parole in 2008 and again in 2012. His applications were both rejected because he still had violent sexual fantasies and hadn't completed sex offender treatment.

He applied again in 2014 but withdrew his request a month before the hearing was to take place.

Friends and families of the victims have launched an online petition ahead of the latest hearing at Bowden Institution in central Alberta that urges the parole board to keep Ennis in prison.

“We, the undersigned, feel that the release of David Ennis, formerly David Shearing, into the community would jeopardize the safety of all citizens, but, more importantly, our children. As well, the heinous nature of his crimes should preclude any possibility of release,” reads the change.org petition.

If Ennis were to be granted day parole, he would be allowed to live in a halfway house. If full parole were granted, he would be allowed to live in the community.

-- with files from CTV News and The Canadian Press --