Surrey child killer applies for early parole under faint-hope clause that has since been repealed

Notorious child killer of a 10-year-old Surrey girl has applied for early release

  • Dec. 16, 2015 3:00 p.m.

Shane Ertmoed was convicted of first-degree murder for the October 2000 murder of 10-year-old Heather Thomas. He has applied for early parole under the so-called faint-hope clause that was repealed by the Conservative government in 2011. He is eligible to file an appeal because his crime predates the scrapping of the clause.

Keith Fraser, The Province

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.

kfraser@theprovince.com

twitter.com/keithrfraser

Click here to read more stories by The Province.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Love flourishes at Peace Arch Park, but COVID-19 concerns loom

South Surrey park becomes only place for international couples to meet

Human Rights Tribunal denies church’s request to toss out White Rock Pride Society’s complaint

Star of the Sea and White Rock Pride Society to go to Human Rights Tribunal hearing

UPDATE: Missing 12-year-old boy found, Surrey RCMP say

Landon Vangeel-Morgan was last seen 9:14 p.m., May 30 near 96 Avenue and 150 Street

COVID-19: Daily update on pandemic in Surrey, White Rock and beyond

Provincial Health Officer officially bans overnight kids’ camps this summer

Surrey RCMP look for missing man

Tyler Ridout, 36, last seen near Balsam Crescent and 136th Street

VIDEO: Injured bald eagle rescued in B.C. First Nations community

Bird suspected injured in fight, whisked off to Coquitlam rehab

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

We’re asking you to lock arms with us, as we look to better days ahead

Toronto Raptors’ Ujiri says conversations about racism can no longer be avoided

Thousands have protested Floyd’s death and repeated police killings of black men across the United States

‘I’m afraid’: Witnesses of wolf attack on senior near Prince Rupert worried about safety

Frank Russ shows where the unprovoked wolf attacked his father

Protesters prepare to rally against racism in front of Vancouver Art Gallery

Rally is in response to the deaths of black Americans and a Toronto woman

Protesters rally against anti-black, Indigenous racism in Toronto

Police estimated the crowd to be between 3,500 and 4,000 and said there was no violence

Feds earmark $1.5M to support recovery of B.C., Indigenous tourism

B.C. money will be split between Vancouver Island and Indigenous tourism

‘We’re sick of it’: Anger over police killings shatters U.S.

Tens of thousands marched to protest the death of George Floyd

Most Read