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British Columbia man convicted of murdering campground family of 6 seeks parole

Calgary –

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

David Shearing, who is now called David Ennis, shot and killed George and Edith Bentley; their daughter, Jackie; and her husband, Bob Johnson, while the family was camping in the Clearwater Valley near Wells Gray Provincial Park, about 120 kilometers north of Kamloops, British Columbia, in 1982.

He kept the Johnson’s 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 man from British Columbia then put the 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 without the possibility of parole for 25 years. The then judge described the murders as “a cold-blooded and senseless execution of six innocent and helpless people.”

Ennis applied for parole in 2008 and again in 2012. His applications were both turned down because he still had violent sexual fantasies and had not completed his sex offender treatment.

He reapplied in 2014, but withdrew his request a month before the hearing was held.

Friends and families of the victims launched an online petition ahead of the latest hearing at Bowden Institution in central Alberta, urging the parole board to keep Ennis in jail.

“We, the undersigned, believe that the release of David Ennis, formerly David Shearing, to the community would jeopardize the safety of all citizens, but, more importantly, that of our children. In addition, the heinous nature of his crimes should rule out any possibility of release, ”indicates the petition, which has nearly 100,000 signatures.

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

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on September 15, 2021.

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