Derik Lord protests innocence, denied parole
He was one of three teenagers convicted in 1990 murders of mother, grandmother
Derik Lord continues to insist he did not kill a friend’s mother and grandmother for a slice of inheritance money, and for that reason, he’s been denied day parole for the 11th time.
As much as his denials frustrate the family of victims Doris Leatherbarrow and her daughter Sharon Huenemann, they are happy he will remain behind bars. Leatherbarrow was 69 when she died. Huenemann was 47.
“He did not want to admit his guilt. He knows he’s guilty, he’s a liar,” said Kim Hill, who attended Lord’s parole hearing at Mission Minimum Institution on Wednesday. Hill’s 89-year-old father, John Kriss, is Leatherbarrow’s brother.
“We just don’t want to see this guy out on the street,” said Leatherbarrow’s brother-in-law Ed Beketa, who also attended the hearing.
“It’s 27 years since it’s happened, but it’s something that we never forget.”
Lisa Saether, a spokeswoman for the Parole Board of Canada, confirmed that Lord’s parole was denied.
One of the parole board members asked Lord whether he thinks what he did was so horrific, he has blanked it from his mind, Hill recounted. Lord told them that’s not the case and that he’s determined to prove his innocence.
Lord, then 17 and, David Muir, 16, were students at Saanich’s Mount Douglas Secondary School in 1990 when schoolmate Darren Huenemann, 18, asked them to join in a plot to kill Huenemann’s mother and grandmother. Lord and Muir were promised part of a $4-million inheritance.
Lord and Muir took a ferry to Leatherbarrow’s Tsawwassen home. When they knocked on the door, they were invited in for dinner. They used crowbars and kitchen knives to murder Leatherbarrow and Huenemann.
All three teens were convicted of first-degree murder in 1992 and sentenced to life in prison.
Muir is the only one who has admitted his role in the killings. He has been on full parole since 2003.
Parole board members typically place importance on an offender accepting responsibility for their crime, one of many factors they consider when deciding whether someone is at risk to reoffend.
Beketa said despite the overwhelming evidence against Lord, he thinks Lord has been maintaining his innocence for so long, he’s backed himself into a corner. At the hearing, Lord had a shaved head and appeared more muscular than in the past, Beketa said.
Beketa described him as wellspoken, while Hill said he was arrogant and verbose.
Hill, who lives on the Lower Mainland, said she and her family are upset Lord is being held in a minimum-security facility and has been granted escorted temporary absences.
Lord married and fathered a child while in prison. His wife and child attended the parole hearing, Hill said.
“Why does he have a right to have a wife and child? My aunt and cousin do not have a second chance at life, why does he?” Hill asked. “This was a complete slaughter of two innocent women for money.”
Hill read out a victim impact statement at the hearing, detailing the agony the family has gone through in the 27 years since the murders. Her father and aunt cried as she spoke.
She said her father, who owned a business with Leatherbarrow, is still filled with anger and grief.
“He’s never gotten over it, he’s full of anger and hate,” Hill said of her father. “For him it has been solid pain since the day it happened. I’ve grown up watching that pain.”
Because of the way the hearing room is set up, with the family seated behind Lord and him facing the parole board members, Hill said she could not look Lord in the eye.
“You cannot make an impact unless you can look someone in the eye,” she said.
Lord says he is part Métis, so an elder was present at the parole hearing for support.
The elder spoke during the hearing and told Lord that while it’s important to be strong and protect family members, a stronger skill is humility.
“He said: ‘Derik, you need to learn humility,’ ” Hill recalled.
Lord is eligible to apply for parole again in one year.
Hill and Beketa said while the family plans to continue attending the parole hearings, it’s emotionally exhausting re-living the brutal crimes.
“It’s very frustrating and upsetting. We’re angry. We have to worry about our security forever,” Hill said.
Lord’s parents, David and Eloise, who have spent tens of thousands of dollars trying to prove their son’s innocence, have applied to have his case heard by Innocence Canada. The advocacy agency has not confirmed whether they will take on his case.
In August, Huenemann, who is now using his biological father’s surname, Gowan, was denied an escorted temporary absence from his Quebec correctional facility.
Derik Lord took part in a plot as a teenager to kill a friend’s mother and grandmother after he was promised part of a $4-million inheritance.