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.