Tal Kalum LaRiviere was arrested in Alberta Monday, Feb. 18. (Photo contributed)

Parole angers parents of Okanagan manslaughter victim

Tal Kalum LaRiviere was arrested in Alberta Feb. 18. He had previously been granted day parole

The parents of Jason Hardy, who was found dead in Vernon in 2015, are upset parole was ever granted for the man who pleaded guilty to manslaughter in connection with their son’s death.

Tal Kalum LaRiviere, 31, who was granted day parole last summer, missed curfew at his designated residence in Prince George earlier this month. RCMP issued a warrant for his arrest on Saturday, Feb. 2. Hearing this, Jason’s parents, John Hardy and Connie Allard, began raising questions about why he had been let out on parole.

“Hearing that he skipped out did make us really apprehensive because when something like this happens, it’s kind of like a flashback. It throws everything back in your face again and brings you right back to when and where it happened,” said Allard. “I think we always had that thought in our mind that if he gets out, will this happen to someone else?”

Related: UPDATED: ‘Violent’ B.C. man back in custody after Alberta arrest

Related: Man admits to park manslaughter

Parole board documents show Jason Hardy was found dead in Vernon’s Polson Park after sustaining injuries from a physical altercation “over money related to a drug transaction” between La Riviere, Hardy and two others.

LaRiviere was sentenced to five years in prison in October 2017 after pleading guilty to manslaughter. At the time of his sentencing, LaRiviere was given credit for time served, meaning he had 721 days, or about two years, of jail time left to serve. Then, on July 31, 2018, LaRiviere was granted day parole. He had to return nightly to a community-based residential facility or halfway house.

“We were aware of what was happening [when he was released] but we weren’t necessarily happy about it because basically from the time that he was granted that privilege, it was less than a year since his sentencing. We just thought about the fact that there are so many people who are incarcerated a lot longer for lesser offences and we didn’t feel like time had been served in a way that was deserved, but perhaps there are a lot of things that they take into consideration that we don’t see,” she said.

Offenders can apply for day parole prior to six months before full parole eligibility date. The Parole Board of Canada granted LaRiviere day parole for a period of six months before he could re-apply for full parole, citing success in rehabilitation programs and good behavior in prison. But, a few weeks before he was eligible to reapply for full-parole, he failed to meet the conditions of his release.

On Monday, Feb. 18, more than two weeks after the warrant was issued, the 31-year-old was arrested in Grand Prairie, Alta. His arrest came after police put out an appeal for information that said the parolee “should be considered violent.”

“We were quite surprised that they had a Canada-wide search for him. They said he was a violent parolee and that kind of struck home with us and we wanted to know why, if they considered him to be that violent, that he would have been out on parole in the first place,” said Allard. “I guess we also find it hard to understand why he would break that parole when he would have been on full release in a few weeks but we feel much better now that he’s been apprehended now.”

Related: Vernon man has second degree murder charge dropped

Related: Man guilty in Polson Park shooting

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