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

Terrace city council are reaching out to the B.C. Office of the Ombudsperson regarding councillor Jessica McCallum-Miller’s resignation on Feb. 22, 2021. (Black Press Media File Photo)
City of Terrace seeking ombudsperson investigation into allegations of systemic racism

Councillor Jessica McCallum-Miller resigned Feb. 22, citing racism

A large provincial grant will make cycling and walking safer in Terrace. (File photo)
Large grant to make walking, cycling safer in Terrace

Pathway will connect old Skeena Bridge to the downtown

Design work continues for planned new hospital

Construction contract still in the works

The Terrace municipal council in 1974. Front row, left to right, alderman E.F. Clift, Mayor Gordon Rowland, alderman H.M. Buncombe. Back row, left to right, alderman R.A. Green, alderman M.J.G. Duffus, alderman N. Jacques and alderman C.D. (Dave) Maroney. (City of Terrace photo)
Former Terrace mayor passes away

Gordon Rowland was mayor during the 1970s

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

A new survey has found that virtual visits are British Columbian’s preferred way to see the doctor amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Unsplash)
Majority of British Columbians now prefer routine virtual doctor’s visits: study

More than 82% feel virtual health options reduce wait times, 64% think they lead to better health

Captain and Maria, a pair of big and affectionate akbash dogs, must be adopted together because they are so closely bonded. (SPCA image)
Shuswap SPCA seeks forever home for inseparable Akbash dogs

A fundraiser to help medical expenses for Captain and Maria earned over 10 times its goal

The missing camper heard a GSAR helicopter, and ran from his tree well waving his arms. File photo
Man trapped on Manning mountain did nearly everything right to survive: SAR

The winter experienced camper was overwhelmed by snow conditions

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen, all 20, drown in the Sooke River in February 2020. (Contributed photos)
Coroner confirms ‘puddle jumping’ in 2020 drowning deaths of 3 B.C. men

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen pulled into raging river driving through nearby flooding

Castlegar doctor Megan Taylor contracted COVID-19 in November. This photo was taken before the pandemic. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay doctor shares experience contracting COVID-19

Castlegar doctor shares her COVID experience

Ashley Paxman, 29, is in the ICU after being struck by a vehicle along Highway 97 Feb. 18, 2021. She remains in critical condition. (GoFundMe)
Okanagan woman in ICU with broken bones in face after being struck by car

She remains in serious condition following Feb. 18 incident

Vancouver International Women in Film Festival kicks off March 5.
Women in Film Festival features two B.C. filmmakers

The 16th annual festival kicks off March 5, 2021

The booklet roots present day activism in the history of racist policies, arguing the history must be acknowledged in order to change. (CCPA)
New resource dives into 150 years of racist policy in B.C.

Racist history must be acknowledged in order to change, authors say

Most Read