Surrey RCMP Constable Roger Pierlet, 23, killed on duty in Cloverdale in 1974. (RCMP photo)

Surrey cop killer gets new parole conditions

Surrey RCMP Constable Roger Pierlet, 23, was shot dead on March 29, 1974

A Surrey cop killer originally sentenced to death by hanging has had one of his parole conditions removed and two more imposed by the Parole Board of Canada.

Surrey RCMP Constable Roger Pierlet, 23, was shot in cold blood on 176th Street in Cloverdale, near the railway tracks, on March 29, 1974.

John Harvey Miller, 28, and Vincent John Roger Cockriell, 18, were drunk and hunting for a cop to shoot as they drove through Cloverdale in their 1964 Dodge. Cockriell wanted revenge, blaming the law for the death of his brother, who was killed during a high-speed police chase.

The pair threw a beer bottle through the police station window. After luring Pierlet out, and he pulled them over, the young Mountie told Miller to get out of the vehicle.

As Pierlet stood in front of the open car door, Cockriell, from his passenger’s side, squeezed off a shot from a 30-30 Winchester rifle. The bullet hit Pierlet in the chest, killing him almost instantly. It would have been the Mountie’s last shift before he went on leave to get married.

In Pierlet’s memory, the 176th Street overpass just south of Highway 10 was named after him and two bronze plaques were mounted on concrete pillars on its north end. Originally hailing from Montreal, Pierlet had been posted to what was then the Cloverdale detachment. He is buried in the RCMP’s graveyard at Depot Division, in Regina.

READ ALSO: How fallen Surrey Mountie’s Stetson ended up in Europe puzzles police

READ ALSO: New monument honours fallen Surrey RCMP officers

The two killers were originally sentenced to death, but these were commuted to life sentences after capital punishment was abolished in Canada in 1976.

Miller died of a stroke in 2009.

Cockriell, now 63, received full parole in 1998. On Oct. 1, 2019 the Parole Board decided to remove a condition requiring him to abstain from all intoxicants.

“Your health and medical issues are significant and have limited your daily functioning and mobility,” it reasoned. “The recommended change in special conditions does not alter the expectations of the Board that you abstain from substances and take medications only as prescribed.”

It imposed two other conditions: “Not to consume, possess or purchase alcohol,” and “not to consume, purchase or possess drugs other than prescribed medication. To be taken as prescribed and over the counter drugs taken as recommended by the manufacturer, excluding cannabis purchased, consumed and possessed in accordance with the Cannabis Act.”

The Correctional Service of Canada suspended Cockriell’s full parole in December 2000 for being intoxicated at a welfare office and suspended it again in June 2001 and sent him to a drug treatment program after he “blacked out” at a grocery store. This suspension was cancelled in July 2001 and he was returned to a community residential facility.

Outside prison, he has been on a disability pension for shoulder, neck and arthritis problems and also related to a cancer diagnosis. In October 2011 all of his teeth were removed, and he underwent surgery in January 2013 to have part of his esophagus removed and in March 2013, was put back into a residential facility for “over-using” prescription medications, and having a fall outside his home.

According to the document, Cockriell required hospital treatment on several occasions and his weight dropped to under 130 pounds. In August 2014, his parole was again suspended after police spotted him “having trouble walking,” slurring, and with two cans of beer and an empty bottle of pain medication that had been prescribed just five days earlier. He “transitioned” back to his own home and in January 2015 moved in with two other long-term offenders.

The board noted Cockriell had recently “self-reported” two breaches with marijuana after his parole officer smelled in on him. He said he was using it for “pain and nausea reasons.”

“Psychological assessment information on file indicates low risk to re-offend,” the board document states. “You completed all recommended programming many years ago.”



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Tom on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Two-vehicle collision causes rollover at Burtch Road and Highway 97

Harvey is down to single lane traffic headed downtown

Lake Country event gets people to celebrate failure

Event on Feb. 29 will give people opportunity to discuss failures, enjoy live music and create artwork

Dates revealed for 2020 Kelowna Pride celebrations

Kelowna’s Pride Week will run from June 6 to 14

Kelowna accepting applications for Artist in Residence program

Artists from all disciplines are welcome to apply

Central Okanagan receives less funding per student than B.C. average

In 2019, Central Okanagan received almost $400 less in funding per student

Conference introduces Kelowna students to tech-related careers

The goal is to show students the impact technology has across multiple disciplines

Deaths on popular Shuswap trail ruled accidental

B.C. Coroners Service reports on fatal falls in May and July 2019

Study says flu vaccine protected most people during unusual influenza season

Test-negative method was pioneered by the BC Centre for Disease Control in 2004

Saskatchewan and B.C. reach championship round at Scotties

British Columbia’s Corryn Brown locked up the last berth in Pool B

‘Chain reaction pile up’ closes southbound traffic on Coquihalla Highway

Black Press Media has reached out to RCMP, paramedics for details

Federal minister to speak in North Okanagan

Greater Vernon Chamber welcomes middle class prosperity minister to talk money

B.C. lawyer, professor look to piloting a mental-health court

In November, Nova Scotia’s mental-health court program marked 10 years of existence

EDITORIAL: Thoughtless posts to Facebook cause real harm and stress

At the risk of resembling a broken record, it needs to be… Continue reading

COLUMN: Not an expert on First Nations government structures? Then maybe you should calm down

Consider your knowledge about First Nations governance structures before getting really, really mad

Most Read