‘Betrayed’: Victims’ family outraged after B.C. double-murder suspect granted bail

Click to play video: 'Chilliwack family outraged accused killer released on bail'
Chilliwack family outraged accused killer released on bail
The family of the victims of a double homicide in Chilliwack is outraged at the news the man charged with killing their love-ones has been released on bail. Christa Dao reports – Sep 22, 2023

The family of a Chilliwack, B.C., couple shot dead in their home last week is outraged their accused killer has been released on bail.

John Kavaloff, 58, and Valerie Smith, 67, were found dead at their mobile home on Chilliwack Lake Road by officers responding to a shots-fired call on Sept. 13.

Robert Freeman, 83, has been charged with two counts of second degree murder, in what police have described as an isolated neighbours’ dispute.

Click to play video: 'Two dead in Chilliwack homicide'
Two dead in Chilliwack homicide

“Our family has been torn apart by this inexplicable tragedy. While our family is struggling, trying to navigate through missing our parents, our grief and the manner in which they were taken we were slapped in the face with the unexpected release of Robert Freeland,” daughter-in-law Joy Finnigan said on behalf of the family.

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“We feel completely betrayed by the system and recognize that many in the community also feel utter shock that a man accused, Robert Freeman, of arbitrarily robbing two people of their lives is free, out in the public only a week later.

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“Where is the justice in that? The system is a joke that protects criminals, retraumatizes, revictimizes victims.”

Freeman was released Thursday, under several conditions.

The court has ordered that he live with his son at a complex about 20 minutes from the scene of the shooting.

He has also been ordered not to go within 100 metres of the crime scene, not possess a weapon, and not to have contact with three people, whom Global News has chosen not to identify.

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Bail reform bill passes in House of Commons

Neighbours on Chilliwack Lake Road described Freeman as a widower who was quiet and somewhat reserved.

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Several described the area as quiet, close-knit and low-crime.

Finnigan described the slain couple as “kind, loving, supportive, involved parents and grandparents,” adding, “they are our support system, they are everything in our lives.”

The family, she said, wants to see the justice system “changed or overhauled.”

“It does not work for victims and it is not just. We are not able to completely focus on grieving when we are completely overwhelmed with disgust with the release of the suspect,” she said.

“It is impossible for the public to have confidence in the system when this happened. We deserve the opportunity to focus on our grieving and our traumatic loss instead of focusing on the unjust justice system.”

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