Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Rolling the dice. And paying the price.

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The Yue family will never get their son, Edwin, back. Violent criminal Davie Cote made sure of that when he fired several shots at the 19-year-old Winnipeg grocery store clerk, killing him in February 2006.But I believe the circumstances of Edwin's brutal killing - specifically new details that we reported on exclusively in Thursday's Free Press - should have the Yue family looking to take something away from the federal government.Money. And lots of it.Now I'm no expert in civil litigation, but it seems to be the Yue's would have a pretty solid case if they decide to go after the National Parole Board for their actions - or, in this case, inaction - surrounding their son's killer.If you missed it, Cote has a criminal record a mile long including many convictions for weapons and violence. He's also a chronic drug and alcohol abuser, which the parole board clearly documented are major triggers for his criminal behavour.Cote was given a 52-month sentence in February 2003, but was given parole after serving two-thirds (34 months) in December 2005.Even though they expressed concerns about Cote's risk for re-offending, the parole board threw their hands up in the air and basically said "We have to release him. It's the law."Now that isn't entirely true. There are provisions which allow for a high-risk offender to be locked up for the entire duration of his sentence. All you need is proof the person is very likely to go right back into a criminal lifestyle.In any event, they didn't do that in this case and Cote was set free. Sort of. You see, they ordered him to live in a halfway house under many conditions including a curfew and order to abstain from drugs and alcohol.So what happens four weeks later when Cote gives federal justice officials every reason to lock him back up when he fails a urine test and shows positive for the very substances that the parole board has already statement puts him at extreme risk?Nothing.Cote is given a "freebie". Officially, his parole officer says Cote has otherwise been showing signs of progress since his release and deserves another chance.Ya, sounds like he was doing very well. In less than 30 days he was somehow able to get his hands on intoxicants while living under what was supposed to be very strict parole conditions. If that's progress I'd hate to know their definition of a setback.So Cote remains in the community under the very same conditions instead of going back in prison on a parole breach for the remaining 17 plus months on his sentence.And, surprise, surprise, he snubs his nose at the rules once again, this time by skipping out on his curfew and going AWOL just two weeks later. I guess he made some more "progress".Only this time parole officials wouldn't have another chance to treat him with kid gloves. That's because Cote wasn't caught until after he stormed inside Magnus Foods with a loaded gun and mask over his face, apparently trying to score some drug money.And Yue would pay the ultimate price.Now I believe its time for the people responsible for keeping Cote in our midst to pay.Yes, Cote pulled the trigger and is going away for a long time. But the fact he was even allowed to be in a position to walk into Yue's family-owned grocery store that day is nothing short of a travesty.I also think the public deserves a complete explanation for why Cote's case was handled the way it was.Is this, as I strongly suspect, an example of doing everything in their power to simply push an inmate out the door to make room for the next one? We all know prisons are overcrowded, so you can't tell me there isn't some pressure to make every effort to keep cons in the community.And if that is indeed the case, then how many other David Cote's are getting break after break? And what is being done, if anything, to correct this problem?Or are we just content to let parole officials keep rolling the dice? Just ask the Yue family what happens to the losers of that little game.www.mikeoncrime.com

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About Mike McIntyre

Journalist, national radio show host, author, pundit and cruise director ... Mike McIntyre loves to keep busy.

Mike is the justice reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press, where he has worked since 1997. He produces and hosts the weekly talk radio show Crime and Punishment, which runs on the Corus Radio Network in several Canadian cities.

Born and bred in Winnipeg, Mike graduated from River East Collegiate and completed his journalism studies in the Creative Communications program at Red River College.

He and his wife, Chassity, have two children.

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