The fight to keep mass murderer David Ennis behind bars has earned some political clout.
MP Dan Albas is supporting the petition aimed at stopping Ennis’s bid for freedom and reiterating his support for a bill that would keep serious felons ineligible for parole for a longer duration.
Petitions will be at his local office, and the bill has already been introduced in Ottawa.
“There are always improvements that can be made to the (legal) system,” said Albas of Private Members’ Bill C-587, Wednesday.
The Bill seeks to extend the parole eligibility period for those convicted of the abduction, heinous acts of sexual assault and murder of an individual from the current 25 years, up to a maximum of 40 years.
If it passed, it would allow for judicial discretion, which its proponents say would ensure charter compliance.
Albas pointed out it’s stories like the slaying of the Johnson and Bentley families that inspired him to support the bill, and efforts from the community make a big difference to the people in Ottawa.
“Since I was first elected, I would travel the riding, I would hear the story of the Johnson and Bentley families throughout,” he said. “It’s important that people bring up their cases with their MPs so people in parliament can see the pain and suffering that are unintended consequences of how the system is put together.”
Tammy Arishenkoff is leading the local charge against Ennis being released after his upcoming Sept. 4 hearing with the National Parole Board.
Her latest round of efforts started little over a week ago and she’s already collected 2,380 signatures.
In a recent interview, she pointed out that the fact that the family of the Johnson Bentley clan are continually asked to deal with Ennis is a form of victimization.
“We can’t heal because we will have to go in (September) and listen again to all of the details, to him talk about how he committed the crime,” she said. “They review everything from the beginning, everything involving this case has to be reviewed by the parole board.”
She will be in attendance at the upcoming hearing. It will be the second time she faces Ennis, who had his first hearing in 2008, waived his right to a 2010 hearing and attended his 2012 hearing.
At the last hearing, the National Parole Board said Ennis still had violent sexual fantasies, hadn’t completed sex offender treatment and was not ready for freedom. This September, Arishenkoff doesn’t expect a significantly different response, but she’s not leaving anything to chance.
In August 1982 three generations of the Johnson and Bentley families—George and Edith Bentley of Port Coquitlam, their daughter Jackie Johnson and her husband, Bob, of Westbank and their two daughters, Janet, 13, and Karen, 11,—gathered for a camping trip Wells Gray Provincial Park.
Janet caught Ennis’s eye, so he stalked the family for at least two days before going to the campsite and shooting the four adults, so that he could kidnap the two young girls.
Over the better part of a week Ennis kept the girls hostage and sexually assaulted Janet. He eventually took them into the woods, one at a time, and killed them, also.
He loaded all the bodies into one of the family’s vehicles and torched it in a secluded area of the park. Their remains were discovered on Sept. 13, 1982. It was another 14 months before investigators tracked down Ennis.