A notorious B.C. child killer has applied for early release under the so-called faint-hope clause.
In August 2002, following a seven-month trial, a B.C. Supreme Court jury found Shane Robert Ertmoed guilty of the October 2000 first-degree murder of 10-year-old Heather Thomas of Surrey. He received a mandatory life sentence with no parole eligibility for 25 years.
The girl went missing on Oct. 1, 2000, while she was visiting her father’s Cloverdale townhouse.
Three weeks later, her body was found floating in Alouette Lake.
Ertmoed, who lived in the same townhouse complex as the girl’s dad, was arrested and confessed to murdering her and disposing of her body.
He told police he’d invited Heather into his townhouse, laid down with her on the floor, removed her pants and underpants and asphyxiated her while stifling her screams of protest.
Ertmoed used his black football bag to carry her body to his vehicle, along with her clothing, and drove to Golden Ears Park before hiding the bag in dense forest. The next day he returned, recovered the bag, inflated a small dinghy and dropped the bag into the lake.
He testified at trial, denying the murder and claiming his confession was falsely obtained, but the jury didn’t believe his story. His subsequent appeal was dismissed.
On Tuesday, a lawyer for Ertmoed and a lawyer for the Crown made a brief appearance before B.C. Supreme Court Justice Christopher Grauer.
The judge ordered that a parole elibility report be prepared by Correctional Service Canada officials.
After the report is completed, the next step in the process is typically for the judge to determine whether a full hearing on the merits of a possible reduced parole eligibility period for Ertmoed should be held. If the full hearing is ordered, a jury will be empanelled to hear and decide on the matter.
The faint-hope clause, under which offenders convicted of first-degree murder may apply for a reduced parole eligibility period after serving 15 years in prison, was scrapped by the Conservative government in 2011.
But because Ertmoed’s crime predated the repeal of the law, he is eligibile to apply for a hearing.