August 11, 2017 5:53 pm
Updated: August 11, 2017 6:01 pm

Parole denied for man who killed Calgary police officer in 1992

Cst. Rob Vanderwiel was shot in the neck during a traffic stop in Calgary on Sept. 22, 1992.


A Jamaican man who gunned down a Calgary police officer nearly 25 years ago has been denied day parole and full parole.

It started as a routine traffic stop for Cst. Rob Vanderwiel.

On Sept. 22, 1992, he pulled a driver over for speeding on Memorial Drive S.E. As he was walking back to his car to check some ID, he was shot in the back of the neck. Vanderwiel died instantly.

His killer, David Lawes took off, but was arrested at a friend’s home the next day.

Lawes was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years.

Investigators comb over the scene after Cst. Rob Vanderwiel was shot to death on Memorial Drive in Calgary in September 1992.

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In documents obtained by News Talk 770, Lawes recently applied for parole, claiming he was “ready to leave” and wasn’t going to contest the deportation order he faces.

The Parole Board of Canada denied the request following a hearing, citing several issues he has had while in prison.

“Your file listed more than 20 placements in segregation as you remained involved in the drug trade and other underground activities,” the board said in its decision.

Lawes, who is now 51, had a recent run-in with authorities.

“In May 2017, a large hole was found in your cell and bricks have been removed,” the decision read. “Moreover, about 20 litres of homemade alcohol was found hidden in the wall. It seemed that the trade of homemade alcohol has been particularly significant within the unit in which you were housed.”

The decision also shed some light on some Lawes’ past, including how he acted during the trial.

“It is noted in your file that in one instance, you have made a shooting motion at a photograph of the victim and, during the court trial, you spat on the photo of the victim and burned the eyes out of the photograph,” the board said.

Lawes entered Canada on a visitor visa in January 1992, and flew to Calgary the next month. He later admitted to importing and dealing drugs into Canada from Jamaica, which was a contributing factor in the Vanderwiel’s murder.

“You committed the murder to avoid arrest for cocaine possession and possible deportation,” the board said. “You indicated that you had up to a kilo of cocaine in your car when the police officer stopped you for speeding.”

“Instead of facing the prospect of being arrested, you pulled out a .357 magnum handgun and shot the officer.”

The board concluded that even with some positive progress over the years, “there are still elements that require attention and intervention before any type of release can be considered.”

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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