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Day parole revoked for Saskatoon killer released to Victoria halfway house

Parole board found Kenneth David MacKay presents an “undue risk to society”
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In January, Kenneth MacKay was granted early parole. In July, the Parole Board of Canada extended his day parole for another six months. SASKTODAY VIA CRYSTAL PASKEMIN’S FAMILY

Warning: This story contains details about a sexual assault. 

The Parole Board of Canada has revoked day parole for a convicted killer who was released to a halfway house in Victoria last February, saying his risk to reoffend presents an “undue risk to society.”

Kenneth David MacKay, who brutally murdered a woman in Saskatoon in December 2000, was arrested and had his day parole suspended in September after a woman he worked with in the capital region phoned police and complained about his behaviour.

At a hearing on Nov. 21, the board revoked MacKay’s day parole after concluding he had breached a requirement to report all relationships with women to his parole supervisor.

In 2002, MacKay was convicted of first-degree murder in the death of 21-year-old Crystal Paskemin from Sweetgrass First Nation in Saskatoon, and sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years.

He had approached her at a bar and offered her a ride home, then violently sexually assaulted her in his truck. She managed to escape, but he continued to attack her, hitting her with such force that her jaw was broken. He then drove his truck over her head. MacKay set her body on fire and dragged her body behind his truck before digging a crude grave and tossing her body into it. He fled and tried to destroy evidence.

In January of this year, he was granted day parole with nine special conditions, including reporting all sexual and non-sexual relationships and friendships with women to his parole officer.

In granting day parole, the board expressed concern about MacKay’s high risk for violent reoffending and moderate risk for sexual reoffending, but noted that he had not been involved in any violent incidents since the murder and that he had participated in a lot of correctional programming.

The board decided MacKay’s risk could be managed in the community with a structured release plan.

In July, his day parole was continued for another six months, after the board found he had used his initial day parole well, was complying with his conditions and was working and developing community support.

Staff at the halfway house found he was respectful and followed house rules. He was attending a community maintenance program and there was no evidence of substance use. MacKay had reported an online relationship with a woman living in the U.S. but had not had any personal contact with her.

In September, however, police learned MacKay had been talking and texting with a woman co-worker in the capital region. He had been to her house and given her rides to and from work for two weeks.

At one point, the woman blocked MacKay on her phone to avoid further contact. When he couldn’t get in touch with her, he went to her work site to speak to her.

MacKay offered to drive her to her next work site the next day and asked her about her weekend plans. The woman texted MacKay and said she was upset he had shown up at her workplace and asked him not to do it again. He texted that he was sorry and asked her about her weekend plans.

When she learned about his criminal history from co-workers, she called police.

Staff at the halfway house found a box of condoms in his room, suggesting MacKay was “preparing for physical intimacy.”

Police went through his phone and found a photo of an unknown woman MacKay had seen on the street. There were also photos and messages from three other women. One woman had sent him nude photos. MacKay had not reported any of those contacts to his parole officer.

At an interview at Vancouver Island Regional Correctional Centre on Wilkinson Road after his arrest, MacKay appeared with his face bruised and swollen. He had been assaulted by a number of inmates who heard about his case on the news, and had been taken to hospital with broken ribs, said the parole board decision.

MacKay admitted he had talked and texted with his co-worker but said he didn’t consider his contact with her to be a relationship and that’s why he didn’t report it.

He said the first time he realized she was uncomfortable was when he arrived at her job site.

He insisted he was more interested in pursuing a relationship with the woman who lived in the U.S.

The parole board found MacKay was evasive, was not transparent with his case-management team about the “many contacts” he was having with women and had a well-established pattern of minimizing the seriousness of his behaviour, justifying his actions and being deceitful to avoid accountability.

The residential facility withdrew its support for him and his case-management team recommended his day parole be revoked.

“Given that you killed a woman with whom you were seeking sex and that this crime occurred in a larger context of marital difficulties, secrecy and infidelity, the requirement to report significant contact and/or relationships with women immediately and reliably while you are in the community is a minimum expectation consistent with public safety,” the parole board decision said.

ldickson@timescolonist.com