Man convicted in notorious McDonald's murders granted full parole
Published Thursday, November 29, 2012 6:08PM AST Last Updated Thursday, November 29, 2012 6:09PM AST
Three employees were killed during an attempted robbery at the McDonald's in Sydney River on May 7, 1992.
HALIFAX -- More than 20 years after Nova Scotia was stunned by the murders of three people inside a McDonald's restaurant in Cape Breton, one of the convicted killers has been granted full parole.
The National Parole Board has decided Darren Richard Muise of Glace Bay, N.S., who is now on day parole, should be released, subject to certain conditions.
Muise must avoid contact with surviving victims or their families, and avoid consuming illicit drugs or meeting people with a criminal background.
As well, Muise is prohibited from going to Sydney, N.S., which is close to where the restaurant used to be.
"This community is still struggling with the scars left by your actions and is fully entitled to heal peacefully," the board says in its decision released Thursday. "Your crimes were characterized as involving a rare level of brutality and indifference towards the victims."
Muise, now 39, was 18 when he and two other young men robbed the McDonald's in Sydney River in May 1992.
He later pleaded guilty to robbery and second-degree murder, and was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 20 years.
During his trial in 1993, court heard he was armed with two knives when he entered the fast-food outlet with Freeman MacNeil and Derek Wood on the night of May 7, 1992.
Four restaurant employees were shot in the head during the robbery.
Court heard Burroughs, 29, had been shot twice, stabbed and beaten with a shovel, but the married father of one was still alive when Muise cut his throat.
Muise told police the attack was an act of mercy, court heard.
Jimmy Fagan, 27, another night maintenance worker, was shot dead along with 22-year-old shift-manager Donna Warren.
Cash clerk Arleen MacNeil was also shot, but survived and was left permanently disabled.
MacNeil and Wood are serving life sentences with no eligibility for parole for 25 years.
After the killings, the document says, Muise spent the rest of the night playing video games at a local convenience store.
When he was sent to prison, Muise was a jobless high school dropout suffering from low self esteem, unstable emotions and a narcissistic attitude, the board says.
"Your self-esteem was extremely low while your rage was building," the pre-release decision says.
The board also noted that Muise's father was an alcoholic and that he was subjected to physical abuse when he was young.
However, the board concluded that Muise has worked hard to rehabilitate himself. The report says his antisocial personality disorder and narcissistic traits have softened over the years.
He was granted escorted absences from prison in February 2007, followed by unescorted passes in February 2009 and day parole in March 2011.
A psychological assessment in September 2012 indicated that his "risk factors are under control."
Muise now has a full-time job and is living with his girlfriend, though the report does not say where that is.
"You are highly motivated and make the efforts to succeed in your social reintegration," the board's decision says.
However, the report also says two parole officers offered dissenting opinions about Muise's request for full parole, though few details are offered.
The board said the officers recommended a slower social reintegration for Muise, but their advice was rejected.