Edmonton man who killed wife made ‘positive progress’ in prison: parole board

Click to play video: 'ARCHIVE: Edmonton man Michael White found guilty of murdering his wife in 2006' ARCHIVE: Edmonton man Michael White found guilty of murdering his wife in 2006
WATCH ABOVE: In 2005, Edmonton man Michael White killed his pregnant wife Liana White and left her body in a wooded area outside the city. Kendra Slugoski filed this report in 2006 when he was found guilty. – Dec 7, 2006

The Parole Board of Canada says an Edmonton man convicted of killing his wife and dumping her body nearly 15 years ago has made progress in addressing family violence while in prison.

A parole board panel decided last week to grant Michael White, 43, four unescorted temporary absences from the Beaver Creek Institution in Gravenhurst, Ont. over nine months.

Three of the absences are meant to help him get familiar with the city of Barrie, Ont. and a halfway house there, and the other is to be spent with family, particularly the couple’s now-adult daughter.

READ MORE: Edmonton man convicted of killing pregnant wife allowed to leave prison unsupervised

The panel released its reasons for the ruling on Tuesday, saying the 72-hour absences would help White develop and demonstrate the skills necessary to reintegrate into society.

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It says Michael White, who maintains his innocence in the death of his wife Liana White, is assessed as posing a low risk of reoffending.

Photo of murder victim Liana White. Global News

The parole panel says the nature of White’s convictions means he is considered a high risk for future domestic violence, but notes he has taken positive steps to deal with the issue.

“To your credit, you engaged relevant programming and made positive progress. Accordingly, the board considers that your risk would not be undue during the proposed absences,” it said in the decision.

READ MORE: Pardon fee a ‘significant’ barrier for Canadians trying to turn their lives around

White told the panel Wednesday he had always believed his marriage was perfect, but realized while participating in a family violence program that some of his behaviour had in fact been abusive.

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“From your perspective, the program was helpful. From the board’s perspective, it was to your credit that you engaged the programs, acknowledged historical problems and reportedly made gains,” the two-member panel wrote.

“In the board’s experience, few individuals that deny culpability are willing to engage in such programming.”

However, White is not to see his girlfriend during his absences from prison, the board said.

“Given the nature of your offending, and your relatively recent relationship with your girlfriend, there is a need for ongoing monitoring of this relationship,” it said.

Michael and Liana White at their wedding. Global News

Liana White was four months pregnant with the couple’s second child when she was stabbed to death in July 2005. Her body was found in a ditch a few days later, uncovered by a search party that included her husband.

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Michael White, who previously worked as a mechanic and served in the military, was convicted in 2006 of second-degree murder and offering an indignity to a dead body.

READ MORE: Day parole revoked for Calgary man who killed wife, hid body in basement wall

He was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 17 years. Alberta’s highest court later rejected his bid to have the convictions overturned.

Michael White outside his Edmonton home before he was arrested for his wife’s murder in 2005. Global News

At last week’s hearing, White denied playing any role in his wife’s death. He acknowledged acting in a way that drew police suspicion after his wife went missing, but blamed that behaviour on his emotional state.

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