Day parole extended for man who killed three people in 1991
CHATHAM Triple murderer Jason Shawn Cofell is coping with the death of his father while becoming more integrated into society, specifically with a martial arts group.
These details are included in a written decision by the Parole Board of Canada (PBC) to grant the former Chatham resident another six-month extension to his day parole.
The PBC report indicated the decision to extend day parole for Cofell, originally granted in May 2016, was made at the end of October.
Cofell, 44, received a life sentence for three counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Jasen Pangburn, then 18, and the teen’s grandparents, Alfred and Virginia Critchley, who were all slain on Oct. 6, 1991.
Family members of the victims previously expressed anger regarding the decision to grant Cofell parole, with one stating he should never be released and remains a threat to society.
“We are at a complete loss as to how one man can murder three people and still have an opportunity to live as a free man,” another family member had stated.
The name of the institution where Cofell is staying has been redacted from the latest PBC decision. When he was first granted day parole in May 2016, he was incarcerated at the Beaver Creek Institution in Gravenhurst, but was later released to a halfway house in Peterborough.
During Cofell’s most recent sixmonth day parole stint, the PBC report states an assessment for decision completed in September indicates there have been no issues or concerns. “You continue to present as compliant with release conditions and maintain a positive attitude toward supervision, described as pleasant and cooperative with members of your case management team,” the report states.
Cofell faced the sudden death of his father in September with his parole officer reporting he was still processing his grief and feeling shocked and saddened by the loss, according to the report. He had previously been taking regular weekend passes to spend time with his father.
Cofell’s parole officer reports he has been developing more independence on release, and while spending time with his father, developed other community supports, including with the martial arts community.
The report indicates Cofell spends time at a martial arts centre and is involved in tournaments and programs through the unnamed facility.
Since Cofell’s last review, it was noted he has obtained his driver’s licence and plans to buy a car when financially able.
He also continues to participate in psychological counselling. A psychological activity report, dated July 17, assessed that he was “a low range of risk for reoffending ” or violating the conditions his release.
In the report, Cofell is described as “being more openly and genuinely engaged in the counselling process, acknowledging issues as they arise and being receptive to feedback.”
However, there are conditions that remain imposed on his day parole, including he not have any contact with any member of the victims’ family, continue psychological counselling, not associate with anyone known or have reason to believe is involved in criminal activity.
Cofell, who is a former member of the army reserve force, is also not to associate with anyone who is a member of the Canadian Forces, except with written authorization of his parole officer.
“It is the board’s opinion that you will not present an undue risk to society at this time and that your day parole continued will contribute to the protection of society by facilitating your reintegration into society” the report states.
You continue to present as compliant with release conditions and maintain a positive attitude toward supervision.
Jason Shawn Cofell, right, is escorted from court in Goderich in 1992.