Liv­ing a ‘good life’

One of three men con­victed in 1992 McDon­ald’s mur­ders now liv­ing in B.C.


One of the three men con­victed in the most no­to­ri­ous mur­ders in Cape Bre­ton his­tory is now liv­ing in lower main­land Bri­tish Columbia with his part­ner, liv­ing a “sta­ble and fi­nan­cially se­cure” life.

The de­tails about the cur­rent liv­ing cir­cum­stances of Dar­ren Muise are con­tained in the most re­cent Pa­role Board of Canada de­ci­sion in­volv­ing him.

Now 43, Muise was one of three men con­victed in the 1992 mur­ders at the Syd­ney River McDon­ald’s restau­rant. Muise was granted full pa­role in Novem­ber 2012. He was 18 when he ad­mit­ted to killing Neil Bur­roughs Jr., a 29-year-old mar­ried fa­ther and main­te­nance worker. He pleaded guilty to sec­ond-de­gree mur­der and was sen­tenced to life in prison with no pos­si­bil­ity of pa­role for 20 years.

When he was first re­leased from prison, the de­ci­sion notes that he first lived in Que­bec but moved to Bri­tish Columbia in Novem­ber 2015 with his com­mon-law spouse to help care for her el­derly fa­ther. The doc­u­ment notes that no con­cerns have arisen while Muise has been on full pa­role.

Muise and his spouse live in her fa­ther’s home and visit him al­most daily at the care fa­cil­ity where he lives. The de­ci­sion notes that his spouse and her fa­ther are fi­nan­cially se­cure and Muise does not have to work, and he has said that his job is to sup­port his spouse.

The de­ci­sion does note the “ex­treme irony that you seem to be liv­ing a ‘good life’ while the vic­tims re­main for­ever ir­repara­bly dam­aged by your crimes.”

The de­ci­sion var­ied one of the con­di­tions of his pa­role, which pro­hib­ited con­tact with any per­son with a crim­i­nal record. The de­ci­sion notes that Muise has lim­ited com­mu­nity sup­port where he is cur­rently liv­ing other than his spouse, although he does have a friend, known as KB, who is also on pa­role and serv­ing a life sen­tence who he met while in prison in Que­bec. KB is de­scribed as hav­ing demon­strated sta­bil­ity in the com­mu­nity dur­ing his pa­role.

Muise asked for and re­ceived per­mis­sion to meet with KB twice be­fore his case man­age­ment team re­al­ized it was con­trary to his re­lease con­di­tions.

Muise’s case man­age­ment team in­di­cated it is nec­es­sary to mon­i­tor his as­so­ciates but the word­ing that he not as­so­ciate with any­one with a crim­i­nal record was too re­stric­tive. In­stead, it stated the con­di­tion should be worded as to not as­so­ciate with any per­son he knows or has rea­son to be­lieve is in­volved in crim­i­nal ac­tiv­ity.

Other con­di­tions of Muise’s pa­role in­clude avoid­ing con­tact with sur­viv­ing vic­tims or their fam­i­lies, avoid­ing con­sum­ing il­licit drugs and he is pro­hib­ited from go­ing to Syd­ney.

James Fa­gan, 27, and Donna War­ren, 22, were also killed dur­ing the botched rob­bery at­tempt on May 7, 1992. McDon­ald’s worker Ar­lene Mac­Neil was shot and left per­ma­nently dis­abled by a brain in­jury.

Free­man Mac­Neil and Derek Wood were charged with first­de­gree mur­der and sen­tenced to life with no pa­role for at least 25 years.

In 2015, Wood lost his ap­peal of the de­ci­sion to deny him day pa­role.


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