Father of Proctor killer raped and murdered a 16-year-old girl

The father of Kruse Wellwood, one of the teens convicted of brutally raping and killing Langford teen Kimberly Proctor, is also a convicted killer.

On Oct. 13, 2001, Robert Raymond Dezwaan sexually assaulted Cherish Billy Oppenheim, 16, a First Nations girl in Merritt, and then beat her to death. He left her badly damaged body covered with rocks and debris off a deserted road — where he later took RCMP after he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.

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Dezwaan, who is serving a life sentence with no chance of parole for 15 years, committed the crime while out on bail for a previous sexual assault. In March 2001, Dezwaan was arrested for sexual assault with a weapon, confinement, and robbery of a young woman in Kelowna.

Those crimes followed a 1993 incident in which he was convicted of unlawful confinement and break and enter after he broke into a woman's home at night, climbed on top of her and tried to stuff a rag into her mouth.

Dezwaan's crimes bear a striking similarity to the rape and murder of Proctor by Wellwood and his accomplice, Cameron Moffat. They lured Proctor to Wellwood's home, bound her hands and ankles with duct tape and then gagged her with a sock before repeatedly sexually assaulting her. The teens tried to strangle her; they eventually suffocated her with a bag over her head.

The details of his father's crime can only be published now that the judge has lifted a publication ban on Wellwood and Moffat's identities — under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, youth offenders can only be identified if they are sentenced as adults.

In a letter written by Wellwood and read by his lawyer in court last week, he mentioned his troubled relationship with his dad: "As a child, I hated my father for what he had done. I felt I was less than him and now I find I have become a worse man."

The court heard Monday that Wellwood struggled with his parents' divorce. Wellwood's contact with his father stopped in 2001 — when he was just seven — after his father's imprisonment.

Court-ordered psychiatric and psychological reports concluded Wellwood, an only child, felt disdain and contempt for his mother, whom he verbally and physically abused.

At the time of the crime, Wellwood lived with his mother in a single-storey home on Happy Valley Road in Langford.

With files from Louise Dickson

kderosa@timescolonist.com

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