Friends and relatives of three generations of a family murdered in 1982 are preparing for yet another parole hearing for David William Shearing, now known as David Ennis, one of B.C.’s and Canada’s worst mass murderers.
Tammy Arishenkoff of West Kelowna is leading the campaign to keep Ennis behind bars. She has started an online petition to deny day and full parole for the man who murdered her childhood friend, Janet Johnson.
The petition reached more than 5,000 signatures by Saturday, May 17.
Ennis shot and killed grandparents George and Edith Bentley, their daughter Jackie Johnson and her husband, Bob, while the family was camping in Wells Gray Provincial Park near Clearwater, 32 years ago.
The Johnsons’ had two daughters, Janet, 13 and Karen, 11, who were held captive and sexually assaulted for six days by Ennis before being murdered.
After 13 months, all six bodies were found charred in the Johnson’s family car, set on fire by Ennis in an attempt to avoid being caught.
Janet and Karen’s cousins, Shelley Boden and Kelly Nielsen, have joined forces with Arishenkoff in the campaign to keep Ennis in jail for the rest of his life.
“I know my family is fearful that if he does come out he’ll come after us,” Boden said. “We’re very fearful of that, we’re very terrified and that’s why we keep going, we keep getting these names. Keep him in jail, we don’t want him to get out.”
Boden worries Ennis will commit another crime if he is released.
“He had a halfway house all picked out in Calgary. Don’t let your children out. We’re fearful that he’ll reoffend”.
The third parole hearing, slated for Sept. 4, is going to give consideration for day parole, which would allow the convicted killer to live in a halfway house or full parole that would allow him to live in a community. Ennis was denied parole in 2008 and again 2012.
He was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years, but after he served the quarter of a century sentence, he was legally allowed to apply for parole every two years.
Family and friends are fighting against that, hoping for legislative change that would end such reviews from happening every two years. Neilsen says she’s forced to relive the events with no time to recover at each parole hearing, causing her unbearable grief.
“I think all Canadians should be concerned about a mass murderer getting out on parole,” Neilsen said. “Does anybody want him in their neighbourhood? I sure don’t.”
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