December 10, 2013 Sections
Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
He hears "command hallucinations" to stab strangers, he has been deemed a high risk to violently reoffend and he has little understanding of how to cope in society and stay out of trouble.
Despite these red flags, a Winnipeg man found guilty of his role in a gruesome slaying is about to return to the streets upon his early release from prison.
Dominic Urichen was convicted in 2006 of conspiracy to commit murder, obstruct justice and contempt of court and sentenced to 131/2 years in prison. He will have served two-thirds of that time by the end of this month, and the National Parole Board recently informed the victim's family Urichen is about to be set free on statutory release.
"It is not the fact that he is getting out of jail on parole. What I object to is that he has done absolutely nothing in jail for 10 years to rehabilitate himself," Floyd Wiebe told the Free Press Friday.
Urichen was one of four men charged in the January 2003 killing of Wiebe's son, Trevor, who was known to loved ones as T.J.
The group was accused of executing a plot to murder Wiebe as part of an ongoing dispute. Wiebe, 20, was stabbed in the throat, injected with a syringe, strangled and left to die in a remote, snow-covered field.
Urichen went on trial for first-degree murder but jurors were unable to reach a verdict. The Crown didn't pursue a second trial.
Urichen admitted to a role in planning T.J's death and to refusing to testify against his co-accused.
A jury convicted Anthony Pulsifer of second-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder and sentenced him to life in prison, with no chance of parole for 15 years. Chad Handsor pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and got the same penalty as Pulsifer.
A 17-year-old youth was acquitted of first-degree murder and conspiracy. The teen was accused of recruiting Urichen, Pulsifer and Handsor to kill Wiebe. It's believed he was jealous of Wiebe for being friends with his girlfriend, court was told.
Urichen's parole documents were sent to Wiebe's family this month. They include several references to Urichen still showing little insight into his offences, wreaking havoc with staff and other inmates behind bars, and due to a diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia, having violent hallucinations about going on a stabbing spree.
"Is this the kind of person that Canadians want walking around in their community?" Wiebe asked Friday. "Obviously people have to be released slowly into the community so that they can reacquire what it is like to live in a community.
"But when he is having the exact issues that he had going into jail and 10 years later still has those same issues, does society not have more responsibility?"
In one paragraph, the parole board warns Urichen "has been incarcerated for many years and the contributing factors to your offending are still outstanding, suggesting that you will easily engage in drug use and association with negative peers, leading to a deterioration of your mental health, significantly increasing the risk you pose."
The parole board has the ability to suspend statutory release and keep an offender behind bars until the expiry of the full sentence if they feel there is a grave risk to society.
Wiebe wonders why that isn't being done in this case.
"If this doesn't meet the criteria of keeping someone in, I shudder to think what it does take," he said.
Urichen's release conditions include abstaining from drugs and alcohol and residing in a halfway house while continuing to get treatment for his mental-health issues.
Wiebe and his family have formed TJ's Gift Foundation in their son's memory. The foundation raises money to educate and inspire teens to live a drug-free lifestyle.
The foundation's Rocking For Choices concert will be held April 3, and more than 3,000 students are expected to attend. More information about the non-profit enterprise can be found at tjsgift.com.
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 23, 2013 B1