THE MURDERER of a woman here in 1998 has failed again to be granted parole.
Christopher Alexander, 17 at the time he killed Linda LeFranc, who was then 36, was sentenced to life for second degree murder.
In an eight-page decision released after a mid-January hearing, two members of the National Parole Board of Canada assessed Alexander as being a “moderate risk to reoffend violently” by being either on day parole or full parole.
Alexander was a neighbour of LeFranc’s and on Dec. 8, 1998, using a key which he knew was hidden outside the door and armed with a hunting knife, entered her Southside townhouse, stabbing her 83 times. LeFranc’s daughter, then 7, found her mother.
Alexander became eligible for parole seven years after being sentenced in 2002 and this is the third time he has made an application.
Although the parole board noted that Alexander had made progress in realizing the extent of his crime and that he has been taking programs and undergoing counselling, his “level of insight, while improving, is still not adequate as the motive for killing the victim remains unclear.”
Board members also noted that Alexander’s progress is relatively recent and that he had not been completely honest about the circumstances of meeting a woman when he was out on an unescorted temporary absence. That lead to such absences being suspended.
LeFranc’s sister, Anita Johnstone, who has lead campaigns opposing Alexander’s release, was happy with the outcome.
She said Alexander should never be released, not specifically because he is the person who killed her sister but also because of the seriousness of the crime.
“[He’s] now 30 years old,” said Johnstone. “How much longer does he need and how many more courses does he need to take in order for him to ‘get it’ – for him to finally comprehend life’s basic moral principles?” she said.
Johnstone said Alexander has shown during his time in prison that he cannot distinguish between right and wrong.
And she’s worried that Alexander will one day be granted parole based on gradually learning what he needs to say to parole board officials in response to questions they ask him.
“It’s as if they are coddling him,” said Johnstone after sitting through the most recent hearing. “I don’t think he’s capable of functioning back in society,” she added.
Although Johnstone is grateful Alexander remains in jail for now, she said the parole and jail system seems more structured in favour of criminals than it does victims and families.
Alexander’s eligibility for parole means he can apply every year, a factor that puts a further strain on the family, she said.
Johnstone also said petitions opposing Alexander’s release are valuable because they are read by the parole board.
Investigators pursued hundreds of leads leading up to concentrating on Alexander.
Police officers, posing as members of a criminal gang, convinced Alexander they wanted to make him part of their enterprise.
They then told him they wanted him to murder someone and in the process, he provided details of LeFranc’s murder.