Teen killer’s self-harm, risk to reoffend led to parole denial

Warning: This story contains disturbing details about a murder.

In August 2019, two weeks after the Parole Board of Canada denied teen killer Kruse Wellwood day parole and escorted temporary absences from Mission Institution, he met with his case-management team to discuss the hearing.

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The meeting was long and had to be adjourned until another day. Upset that the meeting had been adjourned, Wellwood slid off his chair and lay face down on the floor. While he was being taken to his cell, he began crying and punching himself in the face.

A negotiator was called in case he continued to injure himself. Wellwood refused to answer questions. One side of the unit where Wellwood’s cell is located had to be cleared for about five hours until the situation was resolved.

The details are contained in the parole board’s recent decision to deny full parole to Wellwood, 26, who is serving a life sentence for the murder of 18-year-old Kimberly Proctor in March 2010.

Wellwood, then 16, and Cameron Moffat, 17, lured the Grade 12 student to Wellwood’s home in Langford, tied her up, gagged her, sexually assaulted her, beat her, suffocated her and mutilated her body with a knife over several hours.

They then put her body in a freezer, and the next day travelled to the Galloping Goose trail and set it on fire. Her badly burned body was found under a bridge on the trail on March 19, 2010.

The teens pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and were given life sentences in 2011 with no possibility of parole for 10 years. They were both eligible for day parole in 2018.

At Wellwood’s hearing for full parole, held by video on May 15, his parole officer told the board there have been some setbacks since the board reviewed his case in August.

His case-management team views his “episodes of mismanaged emotions as demonstrating deterioration in terms of overall stability and readiness for any form of conditional release,” the board found in its decision, released Thursday.

Board members listened to three victim-impact statements from Proctor’s family and found that the extreme violence and brutality of the crime is still fresh in their minds. The family also believes it is an injustice for Wellwood to be reviewed for various forms of release at this early stage in his life sentence, said the decision.

Psychological reports prepared for the court found traits consistent with sexual deviancy, sadism and psychopathy and “indications of necrophilia.” Wellwood was assessed as at high risk to reoffend, the board noted.

In December 2018, Wellwood completed a high-intensity sex-offender program. An evaluation report noted some gains, but rated his ability and commitment to manage his risk factors as needing improvement.

During a psychological assessment completed in July 2019, the clinician found Wellwood to be cool, detached, confident, arrogant, superior and entitled.

The psychologist could not envision a scenario where Wellwood could be in the community without supervision, noting the severity of his psychopathy and the lack of progress, despite the high-intensity sex-offender program. The report was concerned with his deflection, minimization, sexual sadism, psychopathy and high risk to reoffend, said the board.

During his time in prison, Wellwood made an inappropriate comment about the murder and dismemberment of another inmate. When confronted, he said he was just joking.

On a number of occasions, he has been seen reacting violently to inanimate objects. In July 2018, Wellwood began yelling and banging in his unit, and pacing with closed fists, telling correctional staff to put him in his cell and leave him alone.

“You then kicked your cell door so violently that it could be seen flexing outwards,” said the board.

After the incident, Wellwood explained that he had become upset because a friend had been transferred to higher security and another inmate left his cell door open.

“Some of these incidents have been described by staff as ‘temper tantrums.’ You have also reacted with self-harming behaviours such as hitting yourself in the head and pulling your hair,” said the board.

However, board members noted that Wellwood has continued to work and has received positive reports from his work supervisors.

Wellwood was supported at the hearing by the institutional chaplain, who described Wellwood as academic, thoughtful and “persistently seeking the truth.”

The chaplain said he supported Wellwood’s request to attend weekly church services in the community with escorted temporary absences.

The board found there were some mitigating factors. Wellwood shared a detailed account of his selfish attitudes and behaviour in his teens and how they led to the murder. He also acknowledged the extreme violence and sexual deviancy in his actions and said he wanted to know more about the labels used to describe him in the professional assessments.

But after considering all the information, the board found insignificant gains in Wellwood’s risk reduction.

“Your case calls for a very gradual, closely monitored and structured release. Full parole does not offer sufficient structure and supervision. Your release on full parole at this time would present undue risk to the public’s safety,” said the decision.

ldickson@timescolonist.com

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