Bridgewater residents upset over decision to grant leaves to Penny Boudreau
The news that the Parole Board of Canada has granted Penny Boudreau temporary leaves to attend church is opening old wounds in the community of Bridgewater, N.S.
Friday, there were still teddy bears posted to a tree 10 years after Karissa Boudreau's body was found along the bank of the LaHave River.
Boudreau was convicted of killing her 12-year-old daughter and is serving a 20-year sentence for a crime that shocked the South Shore community.
“Everybody in the town was struck by it one way or another, it was unbelievable for us,” said Bridgewater resident Leo Frank.
Frank lived below Penny Boudreau, her boyfriend, and daughter. He's disappointed the parole board granted the convicted killer temporary leaves.
“She's in where she belongs in jail,” he said. “She shouldn’t be allowed out of jail period.”
Documents show the Parole Board of Canada has approved four escorted leaves, for a duration of four hours each.
They're to be used over the course of a year to attend church, the decision says.
“The board believes that you are a work in progress, but that you have developed insight into your offending behaviour and taken accountability for your offence.”
Paul Boudreau, Karissa’s father says he did not know Penny Boudreau was requesting leaves from prison.
“The family is shocked that we were not notified of any hearings,” he wrote via text message to CTV Atlantic. “We assumed that any actions for even temporary day passes were before a panel with victim input.
“Life with no chance of parole for 20 means just that, not 10,” he wrote. “That’s all I can say till I can be advised of the legalities of this matter.”
Penny Boudreau pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in 2009. She had initially reported her daughter missing, but the truth of what happened came out in an undercover police investigation.
On Jan. 27, 2008, Penny Boudreau took her daughter to a remote location. They had driven to a local grocery store and Karissa waited in the car. Penny Boudreau called her boyfriend, Vernon Macumber, telling him that Karissa had gone missing.
As it grew dark, Penny drove to a secluded road and told Karissa to get out and then a struggle ensued.
Penny Boudreau pinned her daughter down with her knees and tightened twine around her only child’s neck and strangled her, in a grim bid to keep her boyfriend.
Moments later, when the little girl's heaving gasps stopped, Boudreau loaded her lifeless body onto the floor of her car, discarded the twine in an empty coffee cup, and drove to the icy banks of the LaHave River to dump Karissa's remains.
“The only thing I remember hearing … was her daughter saying ‘Mummy please don’t’ - I don't think I’ll ever forget that; I don't think she will either,” said one resident, who did not wish to be named.
The mother, who once pleaded for her dead daughter to call or come home, will be supervised by 2 correctional officers, who are to be within sight and sound at all times.
“I think 9 1/2 years is short, and I'm sure they have church in prison,” said one resident. “And maybe she just needs to suffer it out a little longer.”
In its decision, the board also says Penny Boudreau feels she needs to be in a real setting, as opposed to the sheltered environment of institutional life, using that time to develop supports as she hopes to eventually be released into the community.
The parole board noted that Boudreau killed her daughter in a desperate attempt to maintain control and to hold on to an “unhealthy” relationship.
“The Board believes that you were in an unhealthy relationship and when faced with the choice of maintaining the relationship or dispensing with your child, cognitive distortions allowed you to take the life of your daughter.”
It also said Boudreau had borderline personality traits at the time of the murder and that she was diagnosed with depression and anxiety following her arrest.
In granting permission for the escorted leaves, the parole board said Boudreau should spend time away from the prison for “personal development for rehabilitative purposes.”
The decision said Boudreau has demonstrated greater self-awareness and she has actively participated in her correctional plan. She has been classified a minimum security offender since 2012 and she successfully completed a number of correctional programs in prison, the report also stated.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Heather Butts and The Canadian Press.