B.C. mass murderer to apply for release, victims’ families want request denied

Click to play video: 'Family of victims of notorious Johnson-Bentley murders fight potential parole of killer'
Family of victims of notorious Johnson-Bentley murders fight potential parole of killer
WATCH: Family of victims of notorious Johnson-Bentley murders fight potential parole of killer – Apr 28, 2021

UPDATE: David Ennis has been denied parole

A man convicted of the mass murder of a family nearly 40 years ago is to seek his release once again when he appears today before the Parole Board of Canada.

David Shearing, who now goes by the name David Ennis, shot and killed George and Edith Bentley; their daughter, Jackie; and her husband, Bob Johnson, while the family was on a camping trip in the Clearwater Valley near Wells Gray Provincial Park, about 120 kilometres north of Kamloops, B.C., in 1982.

He kept the Johnsons’ daughters Janet, 13, and Karen, 11 alive for almost a week and sexually assaulted them before taking them into the woods, one at a time, and killing them.

The B.C. man then put all six bodies in the family car and set it on fire.

Story continues below advertisement

Shearing, 62, pleaded guilty in 1984 to six counts of second-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years. The judge at the time described the murders as “a cold-blooded and senseless execution of six defenceless and innocent people.”

Read more: Man responsible for one of B.C.’s most horrifying mass murders can apply for parole again in July

Ennis applied for parole in 2008 and again in 2012. His applications were both rejected because he still had violent sexual fantasies and hadn’t completed sex offender treatment.

He applied again in 2014 but withdrew his request a month before the hearing was to take place.

Read more: Mass murderer forgoes parole hearing

Friends and families of the victims have launched an online petition ahead of the latest hearing at Bowden Institution in central Alberta that urges the parole board to keep Ennis in prison.

“We, the undersigned, feel that the release of David Ennis, formerly David Shearing, into the community would jeopardize the safety of all citizens, but, more importantly, our children. As well, the heinous nature of his crimes should preclude any possibility of release,” reads the petition which has close to 100,000 signatures.

Story continues below advertisement

If Ennis were to be granted day parole, he would be allowed to live in a halfway house. If full parole were granted, he would be allowed to live in the community.

Sponsored content