Shane Ertmoed (right) is serving a life sentence for killing 10-year-old Heather Thomas on Oct. 1, 2000. (File photos)

Shane Ertmoed (right) is serving a life sentence for killing 10-year-old Heather Thomas on Oct. 1, 2000. (File photos)

B.C. child-killer an ‘average’ risk to sexually reoffend: Parole Board

Written reasons behind approval of Shane Ertmoed’s request for escorted absences shared

This story contains details that some readers may find upsetting.

•••

The man who killed 10-year-old Heather Thomas in Cloverdale more than two decades ago is at “average” risk to reoffend sexually, according to a Parole Board decision granting his request for Escorted Temporary Absences (ETAs) from custody.

Shane Robert Ertmoed, 43, applied for the ETAs on April 7, for the purpose of completing community service.

READ MORE: Surrey child-killer’s escorted-leave ‘beyond disappointing’: victim’s mother

In a letter accompanying the application, he apologized for his actions – which included abducting, sexually assaulting and strangling Heather, then concocting an alibi before dumping her body in a lake – and provided insight into them, the decision states.

Serving a life sentence for first-degree murder, Ertmoed told the board that leading up to Heather’s Oct. 1, 2000 murder, he was dealing with “a combination of life stressors” that included financial, social, immaturity, isolation, boredom, preoccupation with sex, deviant thoughts, panic and selfishness, the decision states.

Upon arrest, Ertmoed confessed and provided a detailed description of the murder. He then recanted and appealed, maintaining his innocence until the appeal was dismissed.

The parole-board decision, rendered May 4, notes that the board weighed the severity of Ertmoed’s crime, and that his actions “show capability for extreme violence.”

“You planned the abduction of a random young girl for the purpose of sexual assault and you carried this out. When events did not go as you expected, you killed your victim, and then took measures to avoid being caught,” it reads.

“These static factors will always be aggravating in the Board’s assessment of your case. You took an innocent life and your actions have had a profound negative impact on family members and others.”

The written decision also notes that information on file regarding Ertmoed, dating back to nine years before Heather’s death, states he had demonstrated sexually inappropriate behaviour as a youth towards young girls.

Reports included that he had lifted a girl’s skirt and touched her; grabbed two girls and rubbed himself against them; placed his hand on a girl’s thigh on the school bus; sent a sexually explicit letter, described as “threatening,” to a female teacher detailing sexual acts he wanted to perform on her; broke into the home of a female co-worker who had spurned his advances; and sexually assaulted a seven-year-old girl that he and his girlfriend were babysitting. The latter occurred four times over the course of one evening.

Heather’s mother, Jody Aspin, and Heather’s childhood best friend Katherine Charette spoke at the May 4 hearing, registering their opposition to Ertmoed’s request.

In Aspin’s statement – shared that afternoon with Peace Arch News – she told the board that Ertmoed “not only took my daughter’s life, he took mine.”

She said Ertmoed’s rights died with her daughter and appealed to the board to stop allowing him to continue victimizing her and her family.

She told PAN that the board’s decision was “beyond disappointing.”

In the written decision – released to PAN Thursday (May 13) afternoon – the board said mitigating factors they weighed included that Ertmoed has now served approximately 20 years in custody, and that he has accepted both responsibility for the crime and a correctional plan. As well, he’s earned minimum-security classification, and shown “strong motivation” by completing and showing benefit from programming objectives.

The board “saw evidence of this progress” at the hearing, the decision continues.

“You provided examples of how your thinking has changed and how you use skills and concepts from programming. The Board finds that you have used your time in the institution productively. You have made significant progress, and this progress has resulted in risk reduction.”

Letters of support for Ertmoed that the board also considered included one from a retired police officer.

“The Board finds that you will not, by reoffending, present an undue risk to society during the ETAs,” the decision states. “It is desirable for you to be absent from the penitentiary, your behaviour while under sentence does not preclude approval, and a structured plan has been prepared.”

The ETAs were approved for one year, starting after COVID-19 restrictions lift. They are for up to five days per week, Monday through Friday, for no more than eight hours per day, and physical restraints will not be required.

Conditions attached include that Ertmoed have no contact with children, any of Heather’s family members or a person identified as “K.C.”



tholmes@peacearchnews.com
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

HomicideSurrey

Just Posted

(Submitted Photo)
Skeena Voices| Dance, discipline and determination

When Braya Kluss is not dancing, she is a regular 16-year-old teenager… Continue reading

Karl Meyer was an active member of the Thornhill Volunteer Fire Department. (Terrace Professional Firefighters/ Facebook)
VIDEO: First responders parade through town in honour of fallen Thornhill firefighter

Thornhill Volunteer Fire Department’s Karl Meyer was found deceased during June 3 flooding

Suspected methamphetamine and scale seized by police. (Terrace RCMP photo)
Terrace RCMP seize guns, ammo, suspected narcotics

Man released after court appearance

Caledonia Secondary School is the recipient of a $50,000 grant to replace its aging science equipment. (File photo)
Cal snags major grant to modernize science equipment

The $50,000 comes from a pharmaceutical company

Unemployment rate drops in northwestern B.C.

Large improvement since Spring 2020

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) is scored on by Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez, not pictured, during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Habs fall 4-1 to Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of NHL semifinal series

Match was Montreal’s first game outside of Canada in 2021

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. watching U.K.’s COVID struggles but don’t think province will see similar pitfalls

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

David and Collet Stephan leave for a break during an appeal hearing in Calgary on Thursday, March 9, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Appeal Court rejects stay for Alberta couple facing third trial in son’s death

Pair accused in their earlier trials of not seeking medical attention for their son sooner

Highway notices like this come down effective June 14. Public health restrictions on non-essential travel and commercial operation have hit local businesses in every corner of B.C. (B.C. government)
Province-wide travel back on in B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan

Gathering changes include up to 50 people for outdoor events

Most Read