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

Sierra Acton, regional district director for Shawnigan Lake. (file photo)
New parkland in Shawnigan creating connections

Used to created parking for the popular Masons Beach Park

By protesting uninvited in First Nations’ territories, conservationists are acting in a neocolonial or paternalistic manner, says Huu-ay-aht Chief Robert Dennis. Photo by Heather Thomson
A closer look: do Vancouver Island First Nations support the war in the woods?

First Nations/environmentalist old growth alliance uneasy, if it exists at all

Chris Wilkinson
Chris Wilkinson column: This could be the worst thing done to you during the pandemic

As a result, all of us will contend with more ‘scarcity’ thinking and mindset.

The Crofton trailer park home where the bodies of two people were found. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Mom still waiting for answers after daughter and her fiance found dead in Crofton

Pair discovered dead in their Crofton home in May identified as Rachel Gardner and Paul Jenkins

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

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

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

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Teen B.C. mom who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

Emergency vehicles are parked outside of the Wintergreen Apartments on Fourth Avenue. (SUSAN QUINN / Alberni Valley News)
Port Alberni RCMP investigate stabbing on Fourth Avenue

Two men were found with ‘significant’ injuries near Wintergreen Apartments

A blood drive in support of 1-year-old Rielynn Gormley of Agassiz is scheduled for Monday, June 28 at Tzeachten First Nation Community Hall in Chilliwack. Rielynn lives with type 3 von Willebrand disease, which makes it difficult for her to stop bleeding. (Screenshot/Canadian Blood Services)
Upcoming blood drive in honour of Fraser Valley toddler with rare blood condition

The Gormley family has organized a blood drive in Chilliwack on June 28

Most Read