A petition is circulating to keep convicted murder David Ennis from getting parole. Ennis murdered the Johnson and Bentley families in Wells Gray Park in 1982. (Tammy Arishenkoff/change.org)

A petition is circulating to keep convicted murder David Ennis from getting parole. Ennis murdered the Johnson and Bentley families in Wells Gray Park in 1982. (Tammy Arishenkoff/change.org)

88k people sign petition to keep Wells Gray murderer behind bars

David Ennis, now Shering, killed the family while they were camping in Wells Gray Park

Four thousand double-side pages filled with signatures have been sent off to the Parole Board of Canada with the goal of keeping a convicted killer behind bars.

David Shearing, who now goes by David Ennis, will be eligible for full parole this July. He was convicted of murdering three generations of a family: grandparents George and Edith Bentley, their daughter Jackie Johnson and her husband Bob, and her daughters Janet, 13, and Karen, 11.

Ennis murdered the West Kelowna family while they were camping in Wells Gray Park, back in 1982. He killed the four adults first, then held the two girls captive for a week.

He sexually assaulted and tortured the girls before killing them.

Tammy Arishenkoff, who was childhood friends with Janet Johnson, organized the petition urging the parole board to keep Ennis behind bars, launching it in February.

Since that time, it has garnered 88,469 signatures, equivalent to 4,000 pages. She sent off the signatures in a box, weighing 25 pounds earlier this week.

“A box of 4,000 pages is impactful. The hope is when he sees 4,000 pages plunked in his file of signatures from people that don’t have any interest in seeing him get freedom, that he’ll throw in the towel and waive his rights to this hearing and save us all the trouble,” she said.

She said that the amount of support she and members of the Johnson-Bentley family have received is humbling.

“What that support says too is that the memory of this kind is not fading anytime soon and that the public outrage is only growing when it comes to offenders like this being given these opportunities for parole when they committed the crimes they’ve done,” she said.

“People have had enough of these kinds of stories and they don’t want people like (Ennis) to have the opportunity to live amongst them in their community.”

She said the journey has been long and exhausting, but she, along with members of the Johnson-Bentley family, will keep fighting. In fact, Arishenkoff said she’s looking forward to the hearing, which she said will most likely be sometime in the summer.

“I’m personally looking forward to this hearing because I feel we’re on the cusp of something transformative,” she said.

She also said she wanted to thank everyone who has supported them along the way.

In 2008, 2012 and 2014, Ennis’ parole applications were rejected. In 2016, Ennis opted to revoke his parole application just prior to his hearing. He can reapply for parole before the Parole Board of Canada every five years.

Today, Ennis is incarcerated in a medium security prison. He has since changed his name, gotten married and has two kids.

Arishenkoff said those interested in supporting can still sign the petition.

READ MORE: Petition circulates to keep convicted killer in Johnson-Bentley murders behind bars


@twilamam
twila.amato@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Surrey Mayor delivering “virtual” State of the City Address on Tuesday. (Screen shot)
Surrey Mayor says city is ‘earning accolades from near and far’

Doug McCallum delivered his second State of the City Address on Tuesday since being elected in 2018

North Surrey Sport and Ice Complex. (Photo: larkgroup.com)
North Surrey rink, Newton playground earn B.C. excellence awards

Awards presented by BC Recreation and Parks Association

Surrey Fire Service battled a fire at an apartment building in Fleetwood late Friday night (May 14), near 84th Avenue and 160th Street. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
Surrey firefighters collecting donations for people displaced by Fleetwood apartment fire

56 units impacted by the fire, and several did not have insurance: charitable society

The George Massey Tunnel will be closed overnight May 28 and 29 to test the tunnel’s fire suppression system and overhead lane control signals. (Black Press Media file photo)
Overnight Massey Tunnel closures coming May 28, 29

Closure to allow safe testing of tunnel’s fire suppression system and overhead lane control signals

A prowling coyote proved no match for a stray black cat who chased it out of a Port Moody parking lot Friday, May 14. (Twitter/Screen grab)
VIDEO: Cat who chases away coyote asked to join Port Moody, Vancouver police 

Caught on camera Friday, the black cat jumps out from under a parked car and runs the wild animal out of a vacant lot

A restaurant server on White Rock’s Marine Drive serves customers on a roadside patio. Indoor dining and recreational travel bans have been in effect since late March in B.C. (Peace Arch News)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate falls to 411 cases Tuesday

360 people in hospital, up slightly, two more deaths

The Banff National Park entrance is shown in Banff, Alta., Tuesday, March 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Minister asks Canadians to camp carefully in national parks as season starts

Kitchen shelters in Banff National Park closed, trails on Vancouver Island will only be one-way

Names of those aboard the ship are seen at Komagata Maru monument in downtown Vancouver, on Tuesday, May 18, 2021. The City of Vancouver has issued an apology for its racist role in denying entry to 376 passengers aboard a ship that was forced to return to India over a century ago. Mayor Kennedy Stewart says discrimination by the city had “cruel effects” on the Sikhs, Hindus and Muslims aboard the Komagata Maru, which arrived in Burrard Inlet on May 23, 1914. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver mayor says sorry for city’s role in turning away South Asians in 1914

Kennedy Stewart has declared May 23 as the annual Komagata Maru Day of Remembrance

A crew of WestCoast WILD Adventures employees tackled an onslaught of litter left at the ‘Locks of Love’ fence at Wally Creek on May 2. (Anne-Marie Gosselin photo)
Litter woes consume popular ‘Locks of Love’ fence on B.C.’s Pacific Rim

Popular view spot near Tofino plagued by people hanging masks and other unwanted garbage

Vincent Doumeizel, senior advisor at the United Nations Global Compact on Oceans, as well as director for the Food Programme for the Lloyd’s Register Foundation, pulls up some sugar kelp seaweed off the French coast in April 2020. He was the keynote speaker during the opening ceremony of the inaugural Seaweed Days Festival. (Vincent Doumeizel/Submitted)
Let’s hear it for seaweed: slimy, unsexy and the world’s greatest untapped food source

Experts talks emerging industry’s challenges and potential at Sidney inaugural Seawood Days Festival

Troy Patterson, a Cadboro Bay 15-year-old, got a virtual meeting with B.C.’s environment minister months after he started an online petition calling for construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline to stop. (Jake Romphf/News Staff)
B.C. teen’s 23,000-name Coastal GasLink petition gets him an audience with the minister

15-year-old Saanich high school student and George Heyman discussed project for about 30 minutes

Announced Tuesday, May 18 by Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth, the province added gyms, dance and fitness studios to its list of places where face coverings are mandatory (AP/Steven Senne)
Masks now required at all times inside B.C. gyms, including during workouts

Those who disobey could be subject to a $230 fine

Reinhard “Bud” Loewen of Abbotsford has now been charged with 21 counts of sexual assault related to his massage business. (Facebook photo)
Former Abbotsford masseur now faces 21 counts of sexual assault

Bud Loewen of Bud’s Massage Therapy initally faced three charges

Most Read