The only person charged and convicted in connection with the 1993 murder of a Portugal Cove couple has been released from jail.
Meanwhile, the man who actually did it is still at large, with even Oliver’s parole board acknowledging it.
Joey Oliver was recently granted day parole for six months, with several strict conditions.
The decision was made in May by the Pacific region of the Parole Board of Canada in Abbottsford, B.C., following a hearing.
It comes five years after he was given a 15-year prison sentence.
Oliver pleaded guilty in 2009 to two counts of manslaughter in the shooting deaths of Dale Worthman and Kim Lockyer.
With credit given for time served, he had 11 years left on his term.
However, the panel believes the 44-year-old is ready to get back into the community.
“The board concludes your risk on the proposed day parole is not undue and that the day parole will help you reintegrate as a law-abiding citizen,” it stated in Oliver’s decision.
Worthman, 30, and Lockyer, 29, disappeared from their home on Dogberry Hill Road in St. Philip’s in August 1993.
Thirteen years later, in July 2006, Oliver admitted to police that he’d played a role in their deaths and led officers to where their bodies were buried, in an area off Thorburn Road, near Windsor Lake.
They had both been killed execution style — shot several times in the back of the head.
But by all accounts, he didn’t pull the trigger.
“Once you were in an isolated area, the other party shot and killed the victims,” the board’s decision states. “You and your accomplice then disposed of the parts of the gun and returned the next day to clean up the crime scene.”
Oliver confessed to having lured the couple into the woods, but contended that Shannon Murrin shot them.
He had said he was living in terror of Murrin, who he says threatened him and his family if he ever talked. Oliver said he also wanted the Worthman and Lockyer families to have closure.
Murrin has denied the allegations and was never charged.
The board said that while Oliver didn’t kill the couple, he committed a serious crime and tried to cover it up for many years.
The panel also noted he was entrenched in a criminal lifestyle for many years — having sold marijuana for decades — and that he abused drugs and alcohol for years while dealing with anxiety and other mental health and emotional issues.
“On the other hand, you have a limited record of violence and are assessed a low moderate risk to reoffend,” the decision states. “Although you had some difficulty expressing what you learned through correctional programs at your hearing, you did show some reasonable understanding of the factors that contributed to your offender and you identified strategies you use to manage your risk.”
Program reports showed Oliver made significant gains through interventions.
His behaviour while behind bars has been good, the board said, and he’s been clean and sober for several years. His day parole is structured and includes sufficient supports and supervision.
“You have been accountable, motivated and engaged in your correctional plan,” the board said.
Conditions of Oliver’s release on day parole include that he have no contact with anyone with a criminal record or anyone involved with substance abuse. He was ordered to abstain from alcohol and drugs other than prescribed medication, while he must follow psychological counselling to address emotional, mental health and issues relating to his reintegration into the community.