Found guilty for killing his common-law wife a decade ago, a former B.C. police officer can continue leaving prison on escorted absences following a recent federal decision.
In early February, the Parole Board of Canada ruled that Keith Gregory Wiens can continue leaving his Ontario jail for up to 40 hours per month, albeit for what it called community services.
In 2013, Wiens was found guilty of second-degree murder for fatally shooting Lynn Kalmring following a verbal altercation in their Penticton home on Aug. 15, 2011.
During the trial, Wiens testified that he shot Kalmring in self-defence, stating that she came at him with a knife.
In its decision, the Parole Board of Canada said Wiens reported the shooting but that the court rejected the self-defence claim, adding that he placed the knife in Kalmring’s hand.
Wiens, now 65, was issued a life sentence with no chance of parole for 13 years. He is currently incarcerated in Kingston, Ont.
In 2019, Wiens was granted escorted temporary absences (ETAs) for community service work — a decision that stunned Kalmring’s daughter, Brandy Cummings.
On Feb. 8, 2021, the parole board granted Wiens a year-long extension of that decision.
“Victim Impact Statements on file indicate that the victim’s family continues to endure the tragic loss of their beloved family member, and attest to the emotional and psychological harm that has resulted from her violent death,” the parole board said in its latest decision, a five-page document that was approved by two board members.
It continued, saying Wiens’ recidivism score (a tendency to reoffend) suggests he won’t commit an indictable offence within three years of release, though it did say he was “a high risk for partner violence and low risk for violence against others in a family context.”
Further, the parole board said he does not present any security concerns, is currently institutionally employed with a grounds crew, has positive work reviews and that a November 2020 psychological assessment said he’s in the low range of risk for both general and violent recidivism.
“You completed numerous voluntary programs including the relationships course through the chapel, the Victim Impact Program, alternatives to violence, John Howard Society’s pre-release workshop, work safely with power tools and WHMIS,” said the parole board.
“Correctional Service Canada (CSC) recommends the board approve the proposed ETAs as part of your gradual reintegration plan. CSC notes these ETAs will assist in your rehabilitation by reinforcing pro-social behaviours and attitudes and allow you to give back to the community.”
The parole board said travel for all ETAs will be via government vehicle with CSC staff or a trained citizen escort in a private vehicle. His parole eligibility date is January 2022.
“In making this decision, the Board is cognizant of the tragic loss of life your behaviour caused as well as the residual, enduring trauma to the victim’s family,” said the parole board.
“You will be escorted and supervised at all times by CSC staff or trained volunteers and the proposed location of the ETAs does not raise victim concerns nor any opportunity for incidental victim contact.”
All that means little to Kalmring’s daughter.
“I was kind of surprised to hear (of the extension),” said Cummings. “I was under the understanding that he would be serving 13 years before he was eligible for any parole.
“So having it come up so soon, I was maybe concerned that I didn’t realize how long had gone by, but it hasn’t been 13 years yet.
“I don’t understand why he has any privileges at all, to be honest.”