Derik Lord protests in­no­cence, de­nied pa­role

He was one of three teenagers con­victed in 1990 mur­ders of mother, grand­mother

Times Colonist - - The Capital and Vancouver Island - KATIE DeROSA kderosa@times­colonist.com

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.

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