A man convicted of killing a Langley woman nearly 22 years ago has been granted day parole.
Wayne Alexander Perkin was convicted of second-degree murder the 1992 murder of 24-year-old Angela Richards.
Richards, a graduate of New Westminster Secondary School and a Miss New Westminster contestant, had moved to Langley to train to become a helicopter pilot. She was murdered in her Langley apartment on June 13, 1992.
About 10 of Richardsâ€™ family members and high school friends attended the June 5 parole hearing at William Head Institution on Vancouver Island.
â€œAbsolutely devastating,â€ Richardsâ€™ longtime friend Ben Doyle said of the decision. â€œI feel like I have just been coming out of a 22-year coma of sorts and now he seeks his freedom and gets it. I just canâ€™t believe it. This is a guy who murdered while on parole. I am pretty sure most people donâ€™t understand why he can get out.â€
After a three-and-a-half hour hearing, the two members of the parole board supported Perkinâ€™s application for day parole. Day parole means heâ€™s out during the day and stays at a halfway house at night, and faces restrictions such as no alcohol, no drugs and no sex with females under 18 years of age.
â€œThey are satisfied that he is a manageable risk,â€ Doyle said. â€œItâ€™s insane to me. He still denies killing Angie and he minimizes all the other crimes, all the things he has been convicted of. Itâ€™s unbelievable. I really believed they were going to deny his application, but they didnâ€™t. I was floored.â€
Corinne Schaefer, Richardsâ€™ sister, said evidence was presented at the hearing that suggested Perkin did well on the second of two unescorted temporary absences and has job opportunities when he leaves prison. While incarcerated, she said heâ€™s also had more than 300 temporary escorted absences to attend meetings and appointments.
â€œI wouldnâ€™t have thought in a thousand years he would get off,â€ she told The Royal City Record after the hearing. â€œI am amazed. He is still a moderate risk to re-offend â€“ not a small risk â€“ as a sexual, violent predator of women.â€
Schaefer said itâ€™s â€œshamefulâ€ that her sisterâ€™s family and friends even have to attend parole hearings, given his history.
â€œThe fact that he murdered while on parole and we have to fight to keep him in is so stupid. We shouldnâ€™t have to,â€ she said. â€œYou know what? It doesnâ€™t matter how much we cried our hearts out and say he shouldnâ€™t â€“ it doesnâ€™t make a difference, from their point of view, which is risk factors involved. And even though he is still a â€˜moderateâ€™ risk, theyâ€™re letting him out.â€
When convicted, the Supreme Court judge ruled that Perkin wouldnâ€™t be eligible to apply for parole for 18 years, based on the nature of the â€œbrutalâ€ killing and the publicâ€™s safety. The Crownâ€™s case was based on the theory that
Perkin, an experienced kick boxer who lived across the hall for Richards, struck her in the head and repeatedly stabbed her.
At the time of Richardsâ€™ murder, Perkin was on parole for aggravated sexual assault and unlawful confinement. A manager of a townhouse complex at the time of that crime, he was found guilty of luring a woman to a shed where he bound and gagged her, sexually assaulted her and hit her over the head with a ball peen hammer.
Richardsâ€™ family and friends disagree with the parole boardâ€™s view that Perkin is a â€œmanageable riskâ€ in the community.
â€œAbsolutely not. I fear for people living in his vicinity,â€ Doyle said. â€œHere is the reason: if he wonâ€™t even come to terms with what he has done, he is totally out of touch with his own risk factors.â€
Following the hearing, Schaefer called her mom and let her know that Richardsâ€™ killer had been granted day parole.
â€œWe cried a bit. She did say she knew in her heart from watching all the different news stories about people who did get out, she sort of knew in her heart. Itâ€™s really hard. Itâ€™s just so hard for us,â€ she cried. â€œI hope he doesnâ€™t hurt anyone else. That would be nice for us if he actually has rehabilitated himself. That would be wonderful to know he is a success story â€“ you can murder and still rehabilitate yourself.â€
On the same evening that they learned Richardsâ€™ killer would be getting day parole, her family presented the Angie Richards Memorial Bursary to a graduating student from New Westminster Secondary School.
â€œItâ€™s a really nice thing,â€ Doyle said. â€œItâ€™s really nice to have something in your loved oneâ€™s name that sustains itself. In front of Massey Theatre we still have a memory stone. It is nice to have these tangible things.â€
Prior to the day parole hearing, a friend of Richards launched an online petition against Perkinâ€™s request for day parole. As of June 5, 750 people had signed the petition to the parole board of Canada on change.org to deny day/full parole to Perkin.
â€œItâ€™s really hard to tell everyone we failed. I failed my sister. Thatâ€™s how it feels. We didnâ€™t win for her. We didnâ€™t change anything,â€ Schaefer told The Record Thursday. â€œThe guy today said I have to tell you all your statements were touching and you are very smart about what you say and very moving. I said, â€˜Yeah, because we have had 20 years experience writing them.â€™ It doesnâ€™t matter what you say because itâ€™s really not taken into the scope of what these parole officers look at.â€