The man who was convicted of organizing the murder of Mission’s Lisa Dudley and Guthrie McKay is out on day parole after serving less than three years of a 10-year sentence.
It’s shocking news to the parents of the victims.
Dorothy McKay said the fact that one of her son’s killers was out on parole has brought up some powerful emotions.
“I’m deeply sickened that the parole is happening so soon,” she said.
Thomas Robert Holden, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder in connection with the deaths of Lisa Dudley, 37, and Guthrie McKay, 33, who were shot in a home on Greenwood Drive in rural Mission on Sept. 18, 2008. A neighbour found them four days later.
McKay was pronounced dead at the scene after suffering from three gunshots, while Dudley, who had been shot once in the head and once in the neck, was still alive. She was airlifted to hospital where she later died.
Four men were eventually charged: Jack Woodruff, Justin MacKinnon, Bruce Main and Holden.
Holden was sentenced in February 2017, in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster, after admitting his involvement in both deaths. He became eligible for day release on Oct. 3.
Dorothy McKay said the fact that Holden has been granted day parole after such a short time “trivializes two people’s lives.”
“I can’t express the deep profound loss this has been for our lives, of losing our son. We’ve been kind of quiet all through this. It’s been very painful and we needed to do some healing. This resurfacing again just opens it all up. It’s very hard on the family,” she said adding her son was a “lover of life.”
Lisa Dudley’s step-father Mark Surakka expressed similar feelings of despair and anger.
“When Rosemarie (Dudley’s mother) got the call that he was asking for it (day parole) and then a week or so later she got a call that he had received it, that was a pretty hard slap in the face for her.”
He said the decision devalues human life.
“How is it possible for someone who orchestrates a double murder, directs it and then gets off. What kind of message does that send to society? Is that a deterrent?
“It’s a year and four months per murder,” said Surakka.
While the decision was devastating, Surakka said he was not surprised or shocked.
“People keep blaming it on the system, but it isn’t. It’s the individuals in the system, the judge, the parole board, they are the people responsible for the decisions.”
What makes it even worse, according to Surakka is that Holden will be eligible for full parole in March 2020.