Violent sex offender released in Edmonton after murder charges stayed by Crown

EDMONTON — A violent sex offender who was once dubbed Edmonton’s “Mill Woods Rapist” has been released from custody after a murder charge against him was stayed.

Dana Michael Fash was charged in December 2016 with second-degree murder in the death of Jeanette Marie Cardinal.

The 40-year-old mother of five from Beaver Lake Cree Nation in northeastern Alberta was found dead in an Edmonton home in 2011.

Alberta Justice says the Crown stayed the charge Wednesday because there was no reasonable likelihood of conviction.

They say they understand the decision will be difficult for Cardinal’s family and extended their sympathies.

Edmonton Police have put out a warning about Fash’s release in the interest of public safety.

“Dana Michael Fash is a convicted violent and sexually violent offender and the Edmonton Police Service has reasonable grounds to believe he will commit another violent offence against someone while in the community,” said a statement from police late Wednesday.

“Fash is believed to be of significant risk to the community and as such the Edmonton Police Service has a duty to warn the public.”

Police say he has a history of breaking and entering residences and sexually assaulting women. They say the risk for violence increases with the consumption of drugs and alcohol.

Police say Fash currently has shoulder length hair and a full beard.

Fash was called the “Mill Woods Rapist” following two attacks in the south Edmonton neighbourhood in 1994.

In November of that year, he sexually assaulted a 65-year-old woman at her home at knife point. The next month, he sexually assaulted a 44-year-old woman while she was working as a custodian in an elementary school. He had armed himself with scissors.

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