Family of murder victim speaks out as convicted killer applies for day parole
MONTREAL -- A man who killed a gas station attendant 14 years ago is asking for day parole, but his victim's family is speaking out in opposition.
Three men were arrested for the 2006 killing of Brigitte Serre during a botched robbery of a St-Leonard gas station.
Sebastien Simon was sentenced to life in prison, with a minimum requirement of 25 years, after being found guilty of stabbing Serre 72 times. Over the past two years, Serre's family has repeatedly pleaded with the parole board not to release Simon.
“It's really tough every day to think about her,” said father Bruno Serre. “When you heard him speak about that and it's always lies, it's always somebody else's fault, it's never him.”
During the most recent hearing, Serre's family was only permitted to speak to the accused and parole board by phone due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Serre's stepmother Darlene Ryan said the family wasn't even allowed to speak by video link.
“Because of COVID, it was gonna be by phone and they were obliged to respect the prisoner's right to an audience in a timely manner,” she said. “His rights were once again more important than ours.”
Despite his sentence, Simon is trying to get early release by invoking the faint hope clause, a former provision of Canada's Criminal Code that allows a person convicted of murder and serving 25 years to life to request permission to apply for parole after 15 years. While the provision was eliminated in 2011, people convicted before that date may still invoke it.
Canadian senator and anti-crime advocate Pierre Hughes Boisvenu, whose daughter was also murdered, was on the phone call during Simon's parole hearing.
“I would be afraid that the decision would be in favour of the accused because everything was so soft,” he said.
A decision on day parole is expected in several weeks.