Relief for victim’s family in inmate’s death

The apparent suicide of an inmate at a New Brunswick prison earlier this week is cause for a bittersweet celebration, according to the mother of the young girl he killed.

CALGARY — The apparent suicide of an inmate at a New Brunswick prison earlier this week is cause for a bittersweet celebration, according to the mother of the young girl he killed.

The Correctional Service of Canada said Gleason Bennett Williams died Thursday in Dorchester Penitentiary where he was serving a life sentence for second-degree murder.

Williams, a native of Prince Edward Island, strangled and slit the throat of Shannon Dawn Morrissette, 5, in his basement suite in southeast Calgary in 1992.

The girl was hearing-impaired and couldn’t speak.

The circumstances of the inmate’s death are still being investigated.

“I know it sounds bad but I’ll celebrate with my family,” said the girl’s mother, Janet Morrissette, in an interview from her home in Regina.

“It’s lifted, it really, really has . . . the horror’s over.”

Two weeks ago, Morrissette faced Williams at the penitentiary during a hearing that ultimately denied the 54-year-old killer escorted day passes.

Morrissette said she’s grateful she had the chance to speak to the man who dumped her daughter’s lifeless body into a dumpster before he met his own end.

Even though Williams’s request for escorted day passes had been denied, Morrissette’s family dreaded future hearings and ultimate freedom for the man deemed this month by parole board officials a risk to reoffend.

Williams would have been eligible to apply for full parole in 2012.

The family’s annual pilgrimage to Shannon’s grave just outside Calgary in August will take on a different tone, added the mom.

“It’s going to be different, not so heavy,” Morrissette said.

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