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Serial killer Robert Pickton eligible to apply for day parole, but no hearing set

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Notorious serial killer Robert Pickton is eligible to apply for day parole.

Though the Parole Board of Canada says no hearing has been scheduled, his victims' families are bracing for what could be ahead.

“Pickton should not walk on this earth. He does not deserve to take one step out of where he is,” said Michele Pineault, whose daughter Stephanie Lane, was just 22 when she vanished in 1997. Her DNA was later found at Pickton’s Port Coquitlam pig farm.

"She left behind a nine month old baby," said Pineault. "She’d be proud of him."

Pineault was among those who attended a vigil at the former farm Wednesday night.

“I’ve been living in hell. It’s been horrible. I always say that I am living in a Stephen King novel,” she said.

“Pickton should not walk on this earth. He does not deserve to take one step out of where he is."

Pickton was charged with murdering 26 women and convicted on six counts of second-degree murder in 2007. Though eleigible for day parole, parole board hearings are not automatic and Pickton would have to apply.

“I’d like to think that the most prolific and evil serial killer in the history of our country, that did the most egregious acts imaginable ever, would never be eligible for parole," said public safety analyst Chris Lewis. "And I don’t think it’s likely. But I’ve also seen people that shouldn’t get out on parole released, so you never really know."

Jason Gratl, who represents several family members of Pickton's victims in a civil court lawsuit, said the serial killer has a “snowball's chance in hell” of ever being released on parole.

He said Pickton is in a supermax prison in Quebec, and is “as far in the universe from parole as a man can be.”

At the time of Pickton's sentencing in December 2007, B.C. Supreme Court Justice James Williams said it was a “rare case that properly warrants the maximum period of parole ineligibility available to the court.”

Federal Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre posted to “X” Thursday about Pickton.

“Monsters like this should never be released from prison,” he wrote.

He also said that “…mass murderers should face consecutive sentences…”

Lewis agrees.

“There should be specific cases, well defined, where there would be sentences handed down that are consecutive and there’s never an opportunity for parole for certain people,” Lewis said.

Meanwhile, families of the victims continue to deeply grieve.

“I think of my daughter every single day," Pineault said. "But I don’t want to think of Robert Pickton every day."

The Supreme Court of Canada in 2022 ruled that consecutive sentences with “stacked” parole ineligibility periods are unconstitutional.

The court ruled consecutive terms would allow for sentences that were longer than a person's life, a term “so absurd that it would bring the administration of justice into disrepute.”

“A sentence of imprisonment for life without a realistic possibility of parole is intrinsically incompatible with human dignity,” the Supreme Court ruled. “A punishment that can never be carried out is contrary to the fundamental values of Canadian society.”

With files from The Canadian Press and CTV News Vancouver's Martin MacMahon

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