HALIFAX -- A New York judge has dealt a setback to William Shrubsall's bid to reduce his jail time -- to the relief of a detective who ended the offender's spree of violence against Nova Scotia women.
A State Supreme Court justice ruled Monday that Niagara County prosecutors didn't deny Shrubsall's constitutional right to a speedy trial after he jumped bail and fled to Canada to avoid sentencing on sexual assault charges in 1996.
The decision means the 48-year-old American will stand trial for bail jumping -- and if convicted that would add a minimum of two years and four months to the similar sentence he's currently serving.
Shrubsall was deported to New York on Jan. 22 after he obtained a controversial release from the Parole Board of Canada based on its view he stood to serve "many more years" in American penitentiaries.
Tom Martin, a former Halifax detective who helped track and arrest Shrubsall, says he's "very pleased" that Shrubsall hasn't had his bail-jumping charges thrown out.
Martin's investigation was instrumental in having Shrubsall designated a dangerous offender in Canada in 2001 after the American fugitive committed a series of brutal attacks against women in Halifax.
The crimes Martin probed included the fracturing of one victim's skull with a baseball bat in 1998 to the point she spent five days in a coma and almost died.
"They were by far the most extreme instances of violence against women I saw in my entire career," the veteran investigator said in an interview.
Martin has called the parole board decision "absurd" because it was based partly on assumptions regarding jail time Shrubsall might face in the United States for lesser crimes.
He has followed Shrubsall's recent legal proceedings with concern.
"He was saying there was an undue delay in his trial so the charges should be delayed. It's ridiculous because he was arrested here, gave a false name and false identity and had to serve time in Canada," said Martin.
"So the delay was his own doing."
In his written decision, Justice Richard Kloch of the Niagara County Supreme Court said he refused Shrubsall's argument because "the reason for the delay is the defendant absconding the state."
He also said the possibility of an extradition of Shrubsall to face the lesser charges in the United States was always, at best, "uncertain."
The defence lawyer had argued there was little evidence that Canada ever refused a request for Shrubsall's extradition, and therefore New York's district attorneys had failed in their duty to prosecute.
In addition, public defender Jenelle Faso Messer said that witnesses and evidence are no longer available.
Public prosecutor Caroline Wojtaszek said that initially U.S. authorities simply didn't know where Shrubsall was after he suddenly disappeared on the third day of his sexual abuse trial, leaving a suicide note.
In Canada, Shrubsall -- who has changed his name to Ethan Simon Templar MacLeod -- used a series of aliases as he first stalked a woman he'd met and then went on to commit brutal crimes against three others.
In February 1998, he inflicted the baseball bat assault on a clerk in a Halifax waterfront store.
Three months later, he beat, robbed and sexually assaulted a 19-year-old university student in a south-end Halifax driveway. And in June 1998, he choked and confined a 26-year-old woman.
That came on top of his American crimes, which included beating his mother to death when he was 17 in their home in Niagara Falls, N.Y. He told the court at the time that his mother had abused him.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on Oct. 2, 2019.