(File photo)

(File photo)

B.C. child-killer’s escorted-leave ‘beyond disappointing’: victim’s mother

Shane Ertmoed was convicted of first-degree murder in the 2000 death of 10-year-old Heather Thomas

The mother of a Surrey 10-year-old who was abducted and killed in October 2000 says she is “beyond disappointed” that her daughter’s killer has been granted escorted leaves from custody.

Jody Aspin said the decision regarding Shane Ertmoed was made Tuesday (May 4), following a virtual parole board hearing.

“Clearly, watching him today, all he was concerned about was what he could get for himself. He showed no remorse. Not an ounce,” Aspin said.

Ertmoed is serving a life sentence for first-degree murder in connection with Heather’s death. The youngster was playing outside with some children during a stay at her father’s townhouse complex in Cloverdale when a neighbour convinced her to go inside his apartment.

When Ertmoed tried to sexually assault Heather, she struggled and he killed her. Her body was found weeks later in Alouette Lake.

Ertmoed was found guilty in 2002, and handed a life sentence with no chance of parole until 2027.

Aspin said Tuesday that following Ertmoed’s conviction, no one told her that he could be applying for day parole on a regular basis – “which he did, the entire time,” she said.

(Parole Board of Canada officials clarified that offenders may apply for Escorted Temporary Absences at any time in their sentence. Ertmoed is not eligible for day parole, however, until Nov. 3, 2022, followed by full parole eligibility as of Nov. 3, 2025. His sentence does not expire.)

“So at no point has myself or my family been able to even try and start to heal, because he feels that he should be allowed outside jail.”

In a statement read during the hearing and shared that afternoon with Peace Arch News, Aspin told the board that Ertmoed, now 43, “not only took my daughter’s life, he took mine.”

She said Ertmoed’s rights died with her daughter and appealed to the board to stop allowing him to continue victimizing her and her family.

“I wake up and go to work and that’s all I can do,” Aspin told Peace Arch News. “I think about her from the moment I wake up till the moment I go to bed.”

According to Rebecca Darnell, a Langley lawyer who attended Tuesday’s hearing to support Aspin – with whom she developed a friendship through the ordeal of Heather’s disappearance and murder – Ertmoed asked for escorted leaves from William Head Institution in Victoria “for the purpose of assisting his rehabilitation and reintegration into the community.”

“He wants to work at non-profits,” Darnell said. “I was not aware that that was part of the plan and, in fact, the victims were not aware of the plan.”

Darnell said other information disclosed during the hearing that concerned her included that Ertmoed did not participate in any programs during the first decade of his incarceration, and that he hadn’t considered medication to reduce his sex drive and manage his risk level because he is still young enough to have a family.

About about being a murderer, Ertmoed told the board “he was not proud of what happened to Heather,” Darnell said.

Darnell said she was not convinced that Ertmoed was sincere.

“I get that we don’t lock people up, we don’t throw away the key, we don’t hang them,” she said. “This guy, when I heard him, I just could not detect any credible empathy from him. He was controlled and he was deliberate. He shared as much as he was forced to share.”

Heather’s childhood best friend also gave a statement to the board, sharing the lasting impact that her friend’s death had on her own life, and her concerns for the community’s safety should Ertmoed be allowed out.

Katherine Charette told PAN she found the board’s decision to grant Ertmoed’s application “really shocking,” and said Ertmoed’s expressions of regret don’t hold up.

“I feel if he was truly sorry… he wouldn’t ask for this,” she said. “He would sit and do his time till the day he died.”

Darnell said Ertmoed’s escorted leaves are to take effect after COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, and be in effect from Monday to Friday, for no more than eight hours per day, for a period of one year.

Parole board officials said such escorted leaves are approved/authorized when it is considered that the offender “will not present an undue risk during the absence.”



tholmes@peacearchnews.com
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

HomicideSurrey

Just Posted

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

The Red Chris open pit mine approximately 80 km south of Dease Lake. The province and Tahltan will start negotiations on the first consent-based decision-making agreement ever to be negotiated under DRIPA with regards to two mining projects in northern B.C. (Newcrest Mining photo)
B.C. to begin DRIPA-based negotiations with Tahltan First Nation on two northwest mining projects

Negotiations on Red Chris and Eskay Creek mines to commence soon in accordance with Section 7 of DRIPA

President of the Tahltan Central Government, Chad Norman Day, surveys Tahltan territory by helicopter in this July 2019 handout photo. The Tahltan Nation and the British Columbia government have struck what officials say is a historic agreement for shared decision-making for the nation’s territory in northwestern B.C., a hot spot for mineral exploration. Day says the deal shows they are “getting closer and closer to a true nation-to-nation relationship.” THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Tahltan Central Government
Tahltan Nation, B.C. government sign agreement for shared decision-making

Deal commits the province and the northwest B.C. nation to developing a land-use plan

Tahltan First Nation wildlife guardian, Jarett Quock, above and below right, was awarded the Outstanding Individual Leadership Award by the Indigenous Leadership Initiative on June 3. (Photos courtesy Adam Amir)
Tahltan wildlife guardian receives outstanding leadership award

Jarett Quock’s contributions were recognised by the Indigenous Leadership Initiative

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
B.C. student’s yearbook quote equates grad to end of slavery; principal cites editing error

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Teen B.C. mom who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

By protesting uninvited in First Nations’ territories, conservationists are acting in a neocolonial or paternalistic manner, says Huu-ay-aht Chief Robert Dennis. Photo by Heather Thomson
A closer look: do Vancouver Island First Nations support the war in the woods?

First Nations/environmentalist old growth alliance uneasy, if it exists at all

Most Read