Shane Ertmoed’s application for Escorted Temporary Absences was granted following a hearing May 4, 2021. (File photo)

Shane Ertmoed’s application for Escorted Temporary Absences was granted following a hearing May 4, 2021. (File photo)

Child-killer from Vernon 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 Vernon 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 Black Pressshe 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 Black Press that the board’s decision was “beyond disappointing.”

In the written decision – released to Black Press 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.”

READ MORE: Vernon man’s escorted-leave ‘beyond disappointing’: victim’s mother



tholmes@peacearchnews.com
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

HomicideSurrey

Just Posted

Vernon-Monashee NDP MLA Harwinder Sandhu supported a motion in the B.C. legislature for Canada to create a national Indigenous History month Monday, June 13, 2021. (Contributed)
Canada needs a national Indigenous History Month, Vernon MLA agrees

Harwinder Sandhu supports motion to recognize June as month to advance reconciliation efforts with First Nations

A for sale sign is shown in by new homes in Beckwith, Ont., just outside Ottawa, on Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Thompson-Okanagan population grew despite COVID-19: report

The Chartered Professional Accountants of BC said there are 8,462 new residents in the region

Closure of the 2900 block of 30th Avenue will allow restaurants and other businesses to extend their patios onto the street. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Green light given to downtown Vernon road closure

Single block of 30th Avenue to close over summer months to boost business

Kelowna General Hospital. (File photo)
COVID-19 outbreak at Kelowna General Hospital declared over

Three people tested positive for the virus — two patients and one staff — one of whom died

A crash at the intersection of Harvey Avenue and Leckie Road on June 15. (Amandalina Letterio/Capital News)
Traffic stalled by Harvey Avenue crash in Kelowna

One lane is open as crews clean up after crash at Harvey Avenue and Leckie Road

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

(Facebook)
New trial date set for Penticton beach attacker’s triple assault charges

May trial was delayed after Crown witnesses failed to show up

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Graduating Grade 12 student Savannah Lamb has been awarded an approximate $40,000 scholarship from the Beedie Luminaries foundation. (Contributed)
Dedicated Salmon Arm student earns scholarship to pursue post-secondary education

Savannah Lamb is graduating from Salmon Arm Secondary with a $40,000 scholarship

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A provided photo of the suspect. (Kelowna RCMP/Contributed)
Kelowna RCMP investigating after business robbed

An undisclosed amount of money and merchandise were taken from the business

Travel Penticton went to city council for support in increasing the tax on short-term stays to fund a convention bureau and affordable housing. (File photo)
Travel Penticton seeks to grow through increased hotel tax

The increased funds would go to creating a convention bureau and to affordable housing

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

Most Read