In September of 1993, a violent offender on Day Parole murdered my son, Dennis. Paul Butler’s previous offences were armed robbery, hostage taking, shooting at police. While he was incarcerated for these crimes he was involved in 2 stabbings of other inmates. He was (is) a diagnosed psychopath. Eventually, after 2 1/2 years of writing literally hundreds of letters, and spending thousands of dollars, I learned that the man who murdered my son was an RCMP agent.
Paul Butler was released on stat release straight out of the Special Handling unit in Saskatchewan to Whitehorse, Yukon. He immediately did a B&E. CSC and the Parole Board turned around and re-released him on Day Parole. While he was in prison waiting for the trial for the B&E, he told the RCMP that another inmate asked him to do a contract killing. The RCMP wanted him on the street. They then flew him to Prince George, BC on an RCMP jet where he was staying in a half way house.
My son had just moved to Prince George to go to school and was working part time. He was rooming and boarding with a long time friend. My son’s roommate saw Butler in coffee shops, etc around town, eventually they chatted and he told her that he was a mechanic, lived with his girlfriend etc. He asked her what kind of work she does and she said dry walling but was out of work. He asked for her name and address and phone number because he knew someone that may be hiring. She gave it to him.
Butler got into a fight with another inmate at the half way house. He phoned his handler and his parole officer and told them he couldn’t go back to the half way house because he was afraid. His parole officer asked him if he had somewhere else he could go, he gave my son and roommate’s address and the parole officer told him to go stay there. NEVER did they phone Dennis and Trish and ask them if they wanted a violent offender to come stay with them. The parole officer told the half way house worker to phone Trish’s number later to see if he was there. When they phoned Trish, they asked if Paul Butler was there. Trish said she didn’t know a Paul Butler (she did not know his real name, he had given another name to them). The parole officer issued a warrant for his arrest. He showed up at their house one week later, told them he had a fight with his girlfriend and wanted to know if he could stay the night. My son’s roommate was going to visit her mom for the weekend and Dennis, being the nice guy he was, said OK. The next day he stabbed Dennis 6 times, once in the neck and 5 times in the heart. He then stole Dennis’s truck and ID and took off. During the week between the time there was supposedly and arrest warrant for him and when he showed up at their house there was no action taken at all. They did not open a file. The RCMP claimed they lost the warrant. They never went to see Dennis and Trish – NOTHING. I am convinced they knew where he was and were trying to make arrangements to get him out of town.
When I learned that the man who murdered my son was on Parole, I had to find out what happened. After 3 months of writing letters, phoning the RCMP, Parole and Corrections I received a form letter from Corrections. My one lucky break came when I went to see the director of the halfway house and he told me that “There was something about Butler that Corrections didn’t tell him and if he would have know he would have never accepted him into the house.” There was no way I was not going to find out. I did everything. I literally went through 2 1/2 years of hell while they tried to dismiss me. I am sure they thought that eventually I would give up and go away. Finally, the RCMP told me about the informer part.
Something I didn’t know until sometime later was that Trish, Dennis’s roommate and long time friend who discovered his body had to clean up the crime scene herself. I didn’t realize that the victim’s family is expected to clean up the blood of a murder victim themselves. I could have given her the money to hire someone had I known, but I didn’t know. It sickens me to this day, 10 years later.
Most of my help came from Steve Sullivan, Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime. With Steve Sullivan’s help, I lobbied the Attorney General of BC to reopen the file and call a public inquest. After many months he agreed. After the inquest I brought a lawsuit against corrections RCMP and Parole Board and won an out of court settlement. One of the recommendations from the inquest was that an independent victims ombudsman office be formed. Corrections and Parole responded to the recommendation by forming the Victims Advisory Committee to CSC/NPB in the Pacific Region.