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)

Petition started to keep convicted killer in Wells Gray Park murders behind bars

David Ennis, formerly David Shearing, is up for parole in July.

A petition is circulating to keep a man who murdered two families in Wells Gray Park in 1982 behind bars.

David William Shearing, now known as David Ennis, is up for full parole this July. He was convicted of murdering George and Edith Bentley of Port Coquitlam along with their daughter Jackie Johnson, her husband Bob and their two daughters Janet, 13, and Karen, 11, of West Kelowna at a campsite in Wells Gray Park.

After shooting the four adults as they sat around a campfire, Ennis held the two girls captive for a week, sexually assaulting and torturing them before killing them. He then put all six bodies in the family car and set it on fire.

The petition was launched by Tammy Arishenkoff, who lives in West Kelowna and was a classmate and childhood friend of Janet Johnson. She has continued the fight to keep Ennis locked up, joined in her effort by a small group of friends and Johnson relatives.

The petition already has more than 11,000 signatures and the hope is to reach 15,000 people who feel Ennis’ release into the community “would jeopardize the safety of all citizens, but more importantly our children. As well, the heinous nature of his crimes should preclude any possibility of release.”

If granted day parole, Ennis would be allowed to live in a halfway house, while full parole would give him access to the community.

“We strongly urge the Parole Board of Canada to once again deny parole and full parole to this murderer at the upcoming hearing scheduled for July 2021,” the petition states.

Those who sign the petition are also asked to include their comments as the petition will also be sent to Ottawa.

Ennis’ parole applications in 2008, 2012 and 2014 were rejected. A two-member National Parole Board panel in 2012 determined Ennis should re-enrol in a high-intensity sexual offender program before he could be released, and that he needed to spend time in a minimum-security institution to establish credibility during temporary absences before he could be paroled.

The Board also found at the time that his “sexual deviance in fantasy” remained, and he did not fully understand the risk factors for his behaviour or how to manage them.

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.

A fact sheet from the Parole Board of Canada states protection of society is paramount in any release decision.

The change.org petition can be found here.


@ksinoski
kelly.sinoski@100milefreepress.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Crime

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

Just Posted

The 5th Street Bridge requires structural improvements, new coating to repair and prevent corrosion, and deck repairs. File photo
City of Courtenay awards contract for 5th Street Bridge project

The City of Courtenay has awarded the contract for the rehabilitation of… Continue reading

Pumpjacks pump crude oil near Halkirk, Alta., June 20, 2007.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Larry MacDougal
Gas prices jump in the Valley – and experts predict prices to rise even more

“We still could be talking about record prices…”

NIC Practical Nursing instructor Barb McPherson (right) is pictured with student Rebecca Wood in 2018 in NIC’s SIM lab. NIC photo
Learn about Practical Nursing opportunities for Island students

Students interested in exploring a future in health care are invited to… Continue reading

The Comox Valley Cycling Coalition is hoping to see more bike lines in the Cumberland area. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Cycling coalition wants better bike links for Cumberland

Group says members want more connections with Comox Valley

The Courtenay Legion has identified 16 homeless veterans living in the Comox Valley. File photo
Courtenay Legion unites with Qualicum to help homeless veterans

Last year’s Point-in-Time (PIT) homeless count conducted in the Comox Valley identified… Continue reading

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Older rental apartments are prime candidates for renovations, and could result in lost affordable housing stock. (Zoë Ducklow photo)
B.C.’s renoviction overhaul a good start, but won’t preserve affordable stock, lawyer says

And still no protection for people who can’t pay rent due to COVID-19

Activists from the Fairy Creek Blockades hold the injunction application notice which was submitted by logging company Teal Jones to the B.C. Supreme Court. The application, which asks to have blockaders removed from the sites that stop access to cut blocks, is set to be heard on March 4. (Photo contributed/Joshua Wright)
Activists hunker down to protect Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew from logging

Forest company Teal Cedar applies for injunction to remove seven-month-old blockades

(Photo by Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze)
B.C. WHL teams to hit the ice with Kelowna, Kamloops hub cities

Kelowna, Kamloops centres chosen to host B.C. WHL teams for 24-game regular season

The victim of the homicide on Cowichan Lake Road early Monday morning was 17 years old, and was stabbed in the incident. (File photo)
Duncan homicide victim was 17 years old

RCMP report that teenager was stabbed

(File photo)
RCMP arrest man after report of gun-toting threat-maker near Parksville schools

43-year-old man taken into custody; students at nearby schools were asked to stay inside

The machines are akin to ATMs and allow drug users at risk of overdose to get hydromorphone pills dispensed to them after their palm has been scanned to identify its unique vein pattern. (CANADIAN PRESS)
Feds dole out $3.5M for ‘vending machines’ to dispense safer opioids in B.C.

The machines are located in four cities across Canada, including Vancouver and Victoria

Most Read