Stanley Park killer to get early release
The B.C. justice system is coming under sharp criticism after news that the man found guilty of a notorious killing will get out of jail early.
Ryan Cran took part in the attack that ended the life of Aaron Webster eight years ago. He's only served two-thirds of his sentence for manslaughter, but is expected to be released this week.
The news has outraged Webster's family, who say they want changes to a system they say isn't tough enough.
"He should be in jail for 25 years to life," says Webster's cousin Denise Norman. "He's killed somebody, he's getting out a young man, and he'll be in his mid-twenties."
In November 2001, Aaron Webster was savagely beaten in Stanley Park with bats and golf clubs by a 19-year-old Cran and a group of young men. It was near an area known as a gay stroll.
When Cran was sentenced in 2004, the justice system came under fire. In what was described as a "cowardly and terrifying act," he was sentenced to six years in prison.
Next week, Cran will be a free man -- two years shy of his full sentence because he's eligible for statutory release. If the court prosecuted the murder as a hate crime it could have meant a longer sentence.
"The hate crime legislation is there, why are these people so cowardly to apply it?" Webster's sister Pamela Miller asked in 2005.
The judge ruled there was no evidence before the court that Webster was targeted because he was gay. But four years later, the system is being questioned again.
"Get rid of this statutory release. And if you're going to continue with statutory release, put some restrictions on them that mean something," says Norman.
Community advocates agree.
"I want to know that he's fit and able to function in society without that form of violence, he expressed in that brutal murder of our friend Aaron Webster," says Jim Deva.
Deva wrote a letter to the parole board raising his concerns, but never heard back. The advocate is desperate for answers.
"Will he be walking up and down Davie St. in the next week or two? That would be problematic for his own safety and our community's safety," says Deva.
"He's very well known in our community. He's known, and feared and loathed."
Deva says Cran has never apologized for the crime.
Under the release conditions, Ryan Cran will have to live, work or go to school in the New Westminster area. He will not be allowed to travel without special permission.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's St. John Alexander