Saskatchewan stabbing suspect’s February release to be investigated by parole board

Click to play video: 'Feds promise to investigate parole board decision'
Feds promise to investigate parole board decision
WATCH: Feds promise to investigate parole board decision – Sep 7, 2022

The Parole Board of Canada and Correctional Services Canada have launched an investigation into the decisions that led to the release of Myles Sanderson months before he became the prime suspect of a fatal stabbing spree in Saskatchewan.

The agencies said in a joint statement Thursday that the national joint board of investigations will “thoroughly analyze” the parole board’s actions and identify any recommendations or corrective measures.

An unnamed Indigenous person will be appointed as an independent observer, the statement added, “to ensure that the investigation process is thorough and impartial.”

No timeline was given for when the investigation will conclude, but the agencies promised to make the findings public.

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Sanderson died in police custody of a suspected drug overdose on Sept. 7 after a four-day manhunt. RCMP had named him a suspect in a stabbing rampage that left 11 people dead — including his brother, Damien Sanderson, who was also named as a suspect — and 18 others injured in James Smith Cree Nation and Weldon, Sask.

On Thursday, Saskatchewan RCMP clarified they do not believe Damien Sanderson killed any of the victims, and that Myles was solely responsible for all of their deaths — including Damien.

Click to play video: 'Saskatchewan stabbings: Names of all the victims released'
Saskatchewan stabbings: Names of all the victims released

The parole board has been under intense scrutiny for its decision to release Myles Sanderson last February, having declared he would “not present an undue risk,” and that freeing him would “contribute to the protection of society” by facilitating his reintegration.

That was despite a lengthy criminal history that court documents obtained by Global News revealed included 59 criminal convictions since Sanderson turned 18.

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The 31-year-old had been released into the community in August 2021 on statutory release, which kicks in when federal offenders have served two-thirds of their prison sentences.

Four months into his freedom, Sanderson was found to have been lying about his living arrangements and had his release suspended. The parole board’s Feb. 1, 2022 decision reversed that suspension, releasing him with a reprimand.

But by May, the Correctional Service of Canada deemed him to be unlawfully at large and a parole officer issued a warrant for his apprehension.

During the manhunt for Sanderson, Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino promised the parole board’s decision would be reviewed, saying he was “extremely concerned by what occurred here.”

With files from the Canadian Press

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