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

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

lotto max logo
Are you the lucky winner?

A $1 million ticket was bought in Burns Lake for Friday’s Lotto… Continue reading

The 2021 Walk to End ALS took place in Burns Lake on June 19. A walk around the LDSS track and a draw for the quilt made by Jenny Pirie was organized by Ronda Payne for her friend Barb Wilson. Wilson was diagnosed with ALS in 2016. The draw raised roughly $6,300 from all across Canada, with tickets being bought from as far as Ontario. Burns Lake local won Patti Dube won the draw and the quilt. The money raised will now go to the ALS Society which in turn will be going towards more ALS research and for ALS Societies to provide support to other individuals and families living with this disease. (Priyanka Ketkar photo/Lakes District News)
VIDEO: Walk to End ALS held in Burns Lake

The 2021 Walk to End ALS took place in Burns Lake on… Continue reading

Grad 2021 parade through the village. (Priyanka Ketkar photo/Lakes District News)
VIDEO: LDSS graduation 2021 parade in Burns Lake

Lakes District Secondary School (LDSS) in Burns Lake had a graduation parade… Continue reading

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Val Litwin is the latest candidate to declare his bid for the B.C. Liberal leadership. (Litwin campaign video)
Political newcomer joins contest for B.C. Liberal leadership

Val Litwin a former B.C. Chamber of Commerce CEO

Golden Ears Mountains, captured in May 2021. (Black Press Media files)
2nd year of day passes required for entry into 5 provincial parks launches in B.C.

Pilot program seeks to protect the environment by addressing visitor surges amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Lincoln Mckoen. (YouTube)
Anglican bishop of the central Interior resigns over sexual misconduct allegations

Lincoln Mckoen was elected as a bishop of the Territory of the People region last year

The former Kamloops Indian Residential School on the Tk’emlups te Secwépemc reserve. (Allen Douglas/Kamloops This Week)
Tk’emlups preparing for archaeological work at B.C. residential school site where remains found

The 215 graves are, to the band’s knowledge, undocumented deaths for which it is still collecting records

Fans watch the warm-up before Game 6 between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens in NHL playoff hockey action Saturday, May 29, 2021 in Montreal. Quebec’s easing of COVID-19 restrictions will allow 2,500 fans to attend the game for the first time in fourteen months. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Two-thirds of Canadians say governments shouldn’t lift all COVID-19 restrictions

Poll reports Canadians who gained pandemic weight say they have gained 16 pounds on average

Paul Bernardo is shown in this courtroom sketch during Ontario court proceedings via video link in Napanee, Ont., on October 5, 2018. Teen killer and serial rapist Paul Bernardo is set for a parole hearing today. The designated dangerous offender, has been eligible for full parole for more than three years. Bernardo’s horrific crimes in the 1980s and early 1990s include for kidnapping, torturing and killing Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy near St. Catharines, Ont. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Greg Banning
Killer rapist Paul Bernardo faces parole hearing today; victim families opposed

Designated dangerous offender has been eligible for full parole for more than three years.

People look over the damage after a tornado touched down in Mascouche, Que., north of Montreal, Monday, June 21, 2021. Dozens of homes were damaged and one death has been confirmed. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
One dead and extensive damage as tornado hits Mascouche, Que., north of Montreal

Damage reported in several parts of the city, and emergency teams dispatched to sectors hardest hit

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
B.C. student’s yearbook quote equates grad to end of slavery; principal cites editing error

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

Most Read