Escapee to serve time in maximum security prison

A federal prison inmate serving a life sentence for murder received a five-year prison sentence after pleading guilty on Friday to assaulting a corrections officer and stealing the van she was driving.

A federal prison inmate serving a life sentence for murder received a five-year prison sentence after pleading guilty on Friday to assaulting a corrections officer and stealing the van she was driving.

Donald Junior Fowler, 32, of Buck Lake, pleaded guilty to escaping lawful custody, assaulting a peace officer, kidnapping, choking, and theft over $5,000 in Red Deer provincial court.

In an agreed statement of facts, the court heard corrections officer Patricia Seiller was escorting Fowler back to Drumheller Institution on Oct. 18 when he faked illness while they were on Hwy 42 near Pine Lake.

Seiller was escorting him on day pass from the prison to visit family at Buck Lake. She had escorted him seven times previously.

He attacked her, pressing his hand and seatbelt against her throat.

“She remembers grasping for air and grasping for the seatbelt,” said Crown prosecutor Maurice Collard, who read the statement.

He tied her hands with her shirt and told her to lie on the floor in the back of the van.

He told Seiller he didn’t want to be in jail anymore.

After he drove onto Hwy 587, he stopped the van and let her out, providing her with her shirt, cellphone and purse, and told her to call the police.

A short distance down the road, he stopped the van near a residence and told the homeowner to call the police while he waited in the van.

Fowler was arrested without incident.

Seiller was left with bruises and injuries to her neck and back.

In her victim impact statement, Seiller said her body is healing, but it will take a long time for the emotional scars to heal.

Fowler has been in prison for over 17 years. In late 2010, he was moved to minimum security and was allowed to work at the Drumheller recycling facility in the community.

Defence lawyer Michael Scrase said Fowler escaped custody after his application for unescorted visits was denied and other inmates began threatening him and his family because he wouldn’t smuggle things into the prison for them.

“The stress led to basically panic. He never intended to harm Miss Seiller. He considered her a friend, ” Scrase said.

“He dropped her off so he wouldn’t scare her anymore.”

Fowler will initially serve about one year in a maximum security prison in Quebec for the most violent offenders who pose a danger to staff or inmates.

The Crown wanted a six-year sentence.

Judge Jim Mitchell said Fowler “forcefully and violently and criminally took control of the vehicle and custody of Miss Seiller.”

“I can’t imagine the terror, the horror, she must have sensed.”

Despite the enormous stress upon Fowler, “the fact remains it is a penitentiary. Stress is a part and parcel of life in custody,” Mitchell said.

“We have the system we have and I can’t begin to change it today.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A GoFundMe campaign to support a Stettler couple following a fire has raised more than $3,000. (Contributed photo)
Family pet dies in Stettler fire

GoFundMe page has raised more than $3K so far

Canada's Alexis Lafreniere celebrates after defeating Russia 4-3 in the gold medal game at the World Junior Hockey Championships, Sunday, January 5, 2020 in Ostrava, Czech Republic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
As Alberta’s COVID-19 cases rise, so does tension over world junior championship

Alberta’s spike in COVID-19 infections and the virus’s infiltration of Canada’s team… Continue reading

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, said growing COVID-19 case numbers continue to be a concern in the province. (Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Alberta announces 1,077 new COVID-19 cases Thursday

There are currently 14,052 active cases in the province

Carolina De La Torre, right, owner of Arepas Ranch in Calgary, poses for a photo with her husband in this undated handout photo. The Venezuelan woman who believes she was used as part of Jason Kenney's argument not to lockdown restaurants in the province remembers her encounter with the premier as a lot less dramatic than he suggested. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Carolina De La Torre *MANDATORY CREDIT*
‘No crying’: Venezuelan refugee Kenney cited says interaction was less dramatic

EDMONTON — The Venezuelan woman who believes she was used as part… Continue reading

In this photo released by the official website of the office of the Iranian Presidency, President Hassan Rouhani waves to the crowd in a public gathering at the city of Yazd, some 410 miles (680 kilometers) southeast of the capital Tehran, Iran, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019. Iran has discovered a new oil field in the country’s south with over 50 billion barrels of crude oil, Rouhani said Sunday, a find that could boost the country’s proven reserves by a third as it struggles to sell energy abroad over U.S. sanctions. (Office of the Iranian Presidency via AP)
Iran nuclear scientist assassinated

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — An Iranian scientist that… Continue reading

skip2
Rimbey Christian School students experience the joy of giving

Grades three and four students raised $2,000 for Somalian children

kkk
Opinion: We’re weary of the wait for COVID vaccine

It’s official: vaccines are the new toilet paper. Justin Trudeau appears to… Continue reading

Actor Johnny Flynn portrays David Bowie in the film "Stardust" in this undated handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Elevation Pictures *MANDATORY CREDIT*
‘Stardust’ is a Bowie pic without his music but that was always the plan: director

TORONTO — Gabriel Range’s controversial David Bowie drama “Stardust” has angered fans… Continue reading

Canadian figure skating champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir come to Penticton Oct. 6 with the Rock the Rink tour. This will be the pair’s last tour as they have announced they are retiring from the world of competitive figure skating. (Contributed)
Ice-dancers Moir and Virtue among 114 Order of Canada inductees

OTTAWA — Champion ice-dancers Scott Moir and Tessa Virtue are among 114… Continue reading

Mahomes vs. Brady spices up Thanksgiving holiday week

Mahomes vs. Brady spices up Thanksgiving holiday week

Cowboys miss chance for NFC East lead with another home loss

Cowboys miss chance for NFC East lead with another home loss

Arsenal, Leicester, Hoffenheim advance in Europa League

Arsenal, Leicester, Hoffenheim advance in Europa League

Keegan Messing performs during the Men's Short program at the 2020 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships in Mississauga, Ont., Friday, Jan. 17, 2020. If the world figure skating championships do go ahead in a bubble in March in Sweden, there is a good chance Canada won't be there. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Canada might not compete at world figure skating championships – if they happen

Canada might not compete at world figure skating championships - if they happen

Most Read