The family of a Mission woman murdered in 2008 is furious after learning the man who orchestrated the attack has been granted day parole.
Lisa Dudley and her boyfriend Guthrie McKay were shot in their home in 2008. Guthrie died immediately in the targeted shooting, but Dudley died in hospital after lying paralyzed inside the house for four days.
In September 2016, Thomas Holden pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison the following year.
Now, less than three years later, Dudley’s stepfather Mark Surakka says Holden has been granted day parole, which he calls a “slap in the face” of the family.
“We’re exasperated by it, and devastated,” he told Global News. “Our family is taken aback by it.
“Tom Holden may not have had his finger on the trigger, but he orchestrated it and ordered it and now he’s out, he’s literally out.”
Holden was the fourth person to be charged in the attack.
In 2011, Bruce Main, Jack Woodruff and Justin Mackinnon were each charged with two counts of first-degree murder.
Main was sentenced to eight years in jail in 2013. His trial heard that Dudley and McKay were running a marijuana grow-op in their home. Main helped out Dudley at the grow-op and was the one who led the killers to the home.
Woodruff pleaded guilty to both of his counts and is currently serving a life sentence. Mackinnon was sentenced to seven years in jail.
In its ruling, the Parole Board of Canada says Holden “witnessed abuse in the family home and were subject to corporal punishment and verbal abuse from an alcoholic parent.”
While the board says Holden poses a moderate risk to re-offend, the members also give him credit for taking anger management courses and wanting to apologize to the victims’ families.
“You said you were sorry that they did not attend the hearing as you had wanted to apologize to both the families in person,” the board wrote.
In 2018, a coroners inquest heard that RCMP officers attended the crime scene in 2008 but didn’t leave their vehicles or speak with any nearby residents.
Dudley’s family has long accused the RCMP of contributing to her death. A negligence lawsuit against the force was tossed out in 2018.
The family just recently gained access to Dudley’s belongings after a years-long battle with RCMP, who had held onto the items for evidence.
Now that Holden has been granted parole, Surakka said it’s just the latest insult the family has faced.
“I think it sends a disastrous message out, that you can kill, you can murder and you won’t get those long terms in prison,” he said.
—With files from Ted Chernecki and Paula Baker