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Nearly 30 years after his mother was slain, Greg Parsons is still on a mission to make sure her killer gets the justice he deserves.
Brian Doyle, currently serving federal time in British Columbia, has a hearing scheduled for April.
“The biggest thing now, I got to get him put back in a (maximum-security) prison,” Parsons said Wednesday.
In a letter issued this week to those interested in observing, the Parole Board of Canada said the hearing could be cancelled or rescheduled at the request of the offender or by the board.
Two years ago, Parsons attended a temporary-absence hearing for Doyle at William Head Institution, a minimum-security institution consisting of 87 acres of federal land located at the southern tip of Vancouver Island in Metchosin, B.C., about 30 kilometres northwest of Victoria. The facility is surrounded on three sides by the Pacific Ocean.
Doyle, who sought to attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, was successful.
Dubbed "club fed” by some media, the William Head prison includes duplexes and a theatre program — posh surroundings that turn Parsons' stomach.
"William Head is a beautiful retreat, somewhere you should be putting our veterans or homeless people. It’s not somewhere you put people who slashed a parent 53 times."
A parole board official said Wednesday by email that the type of release an offender has applied for, along with their current prison location, is not public information. It was confirmed, however, Doyle is incarcerated in British Columbia.
Parsons said the hearing may be for day parole.
“William Head is a beautiful retreat, somewhere you should be putting our veterans or homeless people. It’s not somewhere you put people who slashed a parent 53 times,” Parsons said. “This is a dangerous man who got into a country club. … He’s done nothing to better himself.”
Catherine Carroll was murdered on New Year’s Day 1991. Parsons, then 19, found her Jan. 2, 1991, on her 16 James Pl. bathroom floor in a pool of dried blood. Eight days later, he was arrested and charged with first-degree murder.
Parsons was wrongfully convicted of the crime in 1994 and exonerated in 1998.
He has joined a Facebook group advocating against prisoners such as Doyle being incarcerated in minimum security facilities and is expecting to participate in a U.K.-based documentary this spring.
Parsons said he is also looking into further civil action and is looking for legal counsel with no link to the history of the case, as he hopes for a fresh start in his fight to shed light on his experiences with the Newfoundland and Labrador and Canadian justice systems.
“Not only did he murder and slash my mother 53 times, but he framed me,” Parsons said.
“Our justice system is a joke. … Punishment has to fit the crime.
“I am going to put this behind me when the whole true story is told. … I want people to see what happened here. I was an innocent child at the time.”
Doyle, who lived in the neighbourhood and was known to the family, pleaded guilty and in 2003 was sentenced to life in prison with no eligibility for parole for 18 years.
The shocking story of Carroll’s murder still reverberates in the Newfoundland and Labrador justice system for the way in which the case was originally handled.
Parsons was finally exonerated when DNA found at the scene didn't match his.
Parsons’ case, along with others, was a key part of the Lamer Inquiry into wrongful convictions in this province. Its report was released in 2006.
Commissioner Antonio Lamer faulted many aspects of the justice system, including the investigation.
“Parsons’ case became a runaway train, fueled by tunnel vision and a noble cause, and picking up many passengers along the way,” Lamer’s report concluded. “The investigative team lacked training and experience. But most of all, it lacked objective critical analysis through leadership. It was a ship adrift … (and thus) extremely vulnerable to tunnel vision.”
According to details from the court case, Doyle broke into Carroll’s home early on Jan. 1, 1991, and used a steak knife from her kitchen to kill her. He later gave no explanation for the murder, other than the fact he had been drunk and under the influence of LSD.
Doyle appealed his sentence more than a decade ago, but it was upheld.