B.C. man convicted of murdering family of 6 at campground denied parole
Warning: This story contains graphic details that some readers my find upsetting
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.
Shelly Boden, a relative of the victims, was in Grade 12 when the murders took place.
“We never forget,” she told CTV News following the hearing.
“It’s still so fresh, years later. It’s never gone away. It never will until he dies,” Boden said.
She is relieved Ennis was again denied parole, but she worries he could be granted freedoms in the future.
“We’re just terrified that he will come after us,” she said.
Ennis is married and now works at a church. He’s also taking a program at a Bible school.
He says he has “crippling feelings of remorse and despair” over his crimes.
Diagnosed as a sexual sadist, Ennis told the parole hearing that he’s done a lot to improve himself but admits that letting his guard down could create a “high-risk scenario.”
“The most dangerous times are when I’m feeling down or depressed or if I’m having arguments or stress,” he said during the hearing.
Boden says it’s just another indication he’s not ready to be released and never will be.
“He’s totally dangerous and he has triggers,” she said.
The victims’ family worries Ennis will try getting escorted temporary absences from prison and they are prepared to do whatever they can to stop that.
“We’ll never stop the fight,” Boden said.
A petition launched online by a family friend to keep Ennis behind bars has gained more than 100,000 supporters.
Meanwhile, Ennis told the two-member parole-board that he will always be a work in progress.
“I feel while I still have opportunities to improve … I have hope.”