The self-proclaimed “Beast of British Columbia” has reared his ugly head once again.
Clifford Robert Olson Jr., one of the most notorious serial killer in Canadian history, was back in the spotlight last week at yet another parole hearing, seeking supervised release on his life-sentence conviction for murdering 11 boys and girls as young as nine years old.
And once again, the victim’s families at the hearing relived the horrors that have been haunting them since 1982 when Olson confessed to the sadistic, torture-sex killings.
It’s time to put an end to this madness and change the laws allowing Olson and others like him to have parole hearings every two years. Parole hearings are mandatory after a felon has served 25 years of a life sentence.
Gary Rosenfeldt, whose 16-year-old stepson Daryn Johnsrude, was Olson’s third victim, said after an earlier parole hearing that “What’s really horrendous about this (law) is this is only the beginning. We’re going to have to do this every two years as long as Olson lives. And this is a very painful experience for myself, my family.”
This 70-year-old child-killer is tweaking his nose at the system and relishing every moment in the spotlight. He appears to have no remorse; takes delight in taunting the victims’ families; prides himself as a clever person; and loves the attention.
After being denied parole yet again last week, Olson said he will never again seek parole. “This is the final time,” he said within earshot of victim’s relatives. “Never again. And I’m out.”
But few people believe this revelation, with good reason.
At the hearing, Olson’s ramblings were difficult to follow. The brazen killer said if freed, he would return to work in construction, preferably in Montreal. He said he has been taking university-level courses in psychology and French.
Olson also says he had advance notice of the 9-ll attacks, claims to have murdered between 80 to 100 people, and at the hearing last week made convoluted references to U.S. President Barack Obama.
One relative of the victims compared Olson to the fictional killer Hannibal Lecter from of Silence of the Lambs.
Another relative of a victim, Raymond King, whose son Jay Jr. was murdered, said he doubts Olson will stop his bid for parole hearings — the next due in 2012.
Canada’s parole laws are in place for good reason, affording offenders another chance after serving their terms. They must show genuine remorse and convince the parole board they can be trusted outside the prison walls.
But in hopeless cases like Olson’s, mandatory parole hearings must stop. It’s an exercise in futility that continually punishes victims’ families, a waste of time and taxpayers’ money and, in Olson’s case, the hearings feed the ego of a monster who has no hope of rehabilitation or release.
On Christmas Day, 1980, 12-year-old Christine Weller of Surrey, B.C., was found raped, strangled and stabbed numerous times. She was the first of Olson’s 11 known victims — eight girls and three boys aged from nine to 18. He lured them with promises of work, fed them alcohol and drugs, tortured them, sexually assaulted them, killed them, then dumped their bodies.
In 1982, Olson struck a notorious cash-for-bodies deal with police and agreed to co-operate on the condition his wife and son got a trust fund of $100,000.
Since then, he’s been grandstanding with a smirk on his face, relishing the headlines as he dabbles with his rights under the law. It’s time to pull the plug on his spotlight.
Rick Zemanek is an Advocate editor