Convicted Killer Kenneth MacKay Back Behind Bars Amid Controversy

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Over two decades ago, a brutal murder shocked the city of Saskatoon. Now, the convicted killer finds himself once again confined within the stark prison walls. Kenneth David MacKay, who was found guilty of first-degree murder in 2000 for the horrifying death of 21-year-old Crystal Paskemin, is incarcerated again in Victoria, following the suspension of his parole.

MacKay, now 49 years old, had been provisionally released on day parole. However, local police apprehended him in Victoria and he is now back in police custody. The move comes against the backdrop of Paskemin’s family’s objections and concerns raised by Correctional Service Canada about his release in February.

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The terms of his parole directed MacKay to reside nightly at a residential facility on Vancouver Island, to abstain from alcohol consumption, and to report all his relationships, be they sexual or non-sexual with women. It also included prohibitions on travel to Saskatchewan and contact with Paskemin’s family. However, MacKay’s imminent risk of violent reoffending and potential issues with women meant his case management team in prison was unsupportive of his day parole.

MacKay initially encountered Paskemin in a country bar in Saskatoon. Rather than offering her a ride home as promised, he took her to a deserted road on the city’s outskirts where a grim sequence of events transpired. Parole documents testify to Paskemin’s sexual assault in MacKay’s truck, followed by physical assault that resulted in a broken jaw and a knocked-out tooth. In a gruesome finale, MacKay ran his truck over her head, dragged her lifeless remains into a ditch with a chain, and set her body ablaze. Less than a week later, MacKay was arrested when a driver reported seeing blood on the road.

Despite the violent nature of his crimes, MacKay maintained that Paskemin’s death was accidental and denied any sexual element in his trial. He only recently accepted responsibility for her death, and even this admission was somewhat detached and devoid of any discernible emotion according to parole board observations. His time in prison was also marked with charges for possession of unauthorized items and causing delays in prisoner accounts.

In light of these circumstances, the release and subsequent re-arrest of MacKay have sparked outrage. The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations, a body representing 74 First Nations in Saskatchewan, issued a call for the resignation of the Parole Board of Canada and expressed their condemnation of MacKay’s actions.

Paskemin, a member of the Sweetgrass First Nation, left behind a legacy of a contagious smile and magnetic character. To honor her, her family established Crystal’s Gift, a non-profit organization that provides gently used furniture to single mothers escaping violence. Their grief at their loss resonates through their heartfelt statement: “We pray that no family must go through the hell-on-earth that we have had to navigate, through the darkest depths of evil, at the hands of this murderer.”