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Altona killer granted unescorted temporary absences

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A man who killed one teen and left another for dead in Altona in 1990 has been granted unescorted leaves from prison by the Parole Board of Canada.

Earl Giesbrecht, 40, was given permission for "unescorted temporary absences" in a unanimous decision by two board members at a hearing this week.

The leaves are subject to special conditions imposed on Giesbrecht, who is to have no contact with his victims or members of the victims’ families, must not associate with anyone involved in criminal activity, must abstain from alcohol consumption, and is restricted to a specific geographic area.

That area is not released publicly, a spokesman for the board said this morning.

Giesbrecht was found guilty of first-degree murder and attempted murder after committing heinous crimes 23 years ago in the southern Manitoba town.

Curtis Klassen, 15, died after being tied up and having his throat slashed. Tyler Pelke, then 14, miraculously survived the attack.

Although he was just 17, Giesbrecht was given an adult sentence of life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years. Months later, the law was changed so killers under 18 would be eligible for parole in 10 years. Giesbrecht was granted temporary escorted absences from Rockwood Institution just north of Winnipeg during a 2010 hearing.

Giesbrecht appeared before the board this week seeking even more relaxed conditions, as part of his plan for full freedom as early as 2015.

Now authorized to take unescorted leaves, he must also follow standard conditions like travelling directly from prison to and from his destination, obeying all laws and carrying his release documents at all times.

Pelke, now living in Alberta, told the Free Press last week he would not be at Giesbrecht’s hearing in Manitoba.

He said he had no desire to see the man who slashed his throat, sexually assaulted him and set him on fire.

"My thoughts haven’t changed. He should stay in prison," Pelke said last week. "Unfortunately, the social and political sentiment doesn’t support that."

Prior to Giesbrecht receiving temporary absences, Pelke told the parole board three years ago his throat was slit "within a dime of my jugular," his heart stopped briefly, he suffered severe burns to 25 per cent of his body and needed more than 200 stitches for his wounds.

"The crimes were severe enough to warrant a life sentence. A life sentence was given and, as such, should be served," he said.

Giesbrecht’s parole officer and other members of his treatment team have described him as a model inmate who has participated in restorative-justice meetings and completed extensive programming, including sexual-offender treatment. He has upgraded his education, earning degrees in business administration and human resources.

 

 

 

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