Exclusive: Smuggling Pickton's book 'wasn't difficult at all,' inmate says
Published Tuesday, February 23, 2016 6:23PM PST
Last Updated Tuesday, February 23, 2016 6:49PM PST
The inmate responsible for smuggling a manuscript written by convicted serial killer Robert Pickton out of prison says the scheme was a simple agreement between two prisoners, and to get it out, he just put it in the mail.
That inmate, 58-year-old Grant White, was serving a 20-year federal sentence at Kent Institution when Pickton approached him and asked him to help get his book published three years ago.
“Mr. Pickton is the cleaner on the range,” White said. “He would stop and talk to me periodically.”
White, who spoke with CTV News over the phone from another prison in Saskatchewan, said he agreed in the hopes of making money to hire a lawyer to prove his innocence.
“One day, the manuscript came under the door. He said, ‘Here, if you can get this out, I just want my story out there. I don’t want anything else from it,’" White said.
“I said, ‘Great, I’ll be able to get some money to pay for a lawyer to get my end of this.'"
White, who was doing time for 30-odd crimes including assaults, assualts with a weapon, and sexual abuse of a child, said getting around the regular surveillance of Pickton's communication by prison officials was a simple task.
“It wasn’t difficult at all. I mailed it," he said.
After that, the book made it to retired California construction worker Michael Chilldres, who arranged for it to be typed and sent it to a Colorado publisher, Outskirts Press. The book went online on Amazon last week.
That’s where it briefly hit number one on Amazon Canada’s bestseller list, before appeals from families of the victims, Canada’s public safety minister, and B.C.’s premier prompted both Outskirts Press and Amazon to retract the book, with apologies.
Asked whether he could have chosen to save families from suffering, White said, “I feel bad for them. But I have to think about myself.”
The book, called “Pickton: In His Own Words,” was a 144-page argument for Pickton’s innocence, containing long passages about work on the convicted killer’s Port Coquitlam pig farm, but also slams police officers, prosecutors, the judge in the case and the jury for getting the case wrong.
That’s despite a six convictions of second degree murder, an enormous investigation, a lengthy search of the farm, witness testimony of Pickton both explaining how he planned to murder as many as 49 women, and one witness who said she saw Pickton butchering a woman.
The head of the Pacific region of the Union of Canadian Correctional Officers corroborated White’s story, without mentioning his name, saying guards discovered the manuscript in cells in March 2015.
“We were made aware that the manuscript existed last March. That was the first time we talked about this book. We talked again in July and August. From that point we don’t know what the Correctional Service of Canada did with that information,” said Gord Robertson.
“We’ve seen assertions that Correctional Services Officers should have stopped this. We don’t have the right to read everything. There has to be an order given to use to allow us to read it,” he said.
Robertson said he’s not sure who was behind the scheme to get the book published – Pickton or the other inmate.
“Pickton did sign over the rights to that manuscript to another individual,” Robertson said. “Quite likely he was the one pushing for it to happen.”
Corrections Canada has said it’s investigating, but it has limits on what it can do to prevent inmates from communicating as even though they are incarcerated, they still have freedom of speech.
Directives allow guards to read correspondence and seize it if it is “unfit.”
White has been sent to Saskatchewan, which he said was punishment as guards believed he “muscled” the book from Pickton.
White’s Parole Board decisions say they have heard his claims of innocence before – and still regard him as a high risk to reoffend.
“You refuse to accept responsibility for the serious harm you caused your victims and since the last review you have not made any gains in recognizing or managing the risk you pose,” the board said in a 2014 decision.
He has been ordered detained past his statutory release date. But White’s prison time is nearing an end: his warrant expiry date is April 2017.