Calgary Herald

Violent offender granted full parole

Man who killed stranger to steal his truck no longer considered risk


A man who stabbed a stranger with a pair of scissors and strangled him in a “robbery gone bad” more than 11 years ago has been granted full parole.

In a written decision, the Parole Board of Canada said 34-year-old Steve Martel had shown “positive progress while in the community” since being granted day parole in 2014.

The board also noted that Martel never violated his conditions of release, maintained a stable relationsh­ip with his girlfriend, who was deemed a strong support, held down a part-time job and also achieved high marks while studying electrical engineerin­g at a local community college.

In addition, he hasn’t returned to using drugs — his urinalysis tests have all been negative — and he hasn’t resumed former associatio­ns with negative peers.

In its decision, the Parole Board wrote it “has decided to grant full parole as, in its opinion, you will not present an undue risk to society and your release will contribute to the protection of society by facilitati­ng your reintegrat­ion into society as a law-abiding citizen.”

Martel’s full parole plan includes completing his education, maintainin­g part-time employment and living with an unnamed individual who remains fully supportive of him.

However, the board also imposed special conditions on Martel, including that he abstain from alcohol and drugs, avoid people involved in criminal activity and stay away from drinking establishm­ents.

“(Using drugs was) a primary contributi­ng factor in your offending, and you have a history of associatin­g with persons involved in criminal activity and the drug subculture,” the board said.

Martel was handed a life sentence with no chance of parole for 10 years after pleading guilty to second-degree murder in the Oct. 3, 2004, slaying of Joseph Robert Pelletier.

Court heard Martel and a woman, Violet Starr-Goforth, came to Calgary from Saskatoon on a crack cocaine binge.

During a chance counter at a local laundromat, Pelletier bought Starr-Goforth lunch and invited her back to his home.

Starr-Goforth and Martel then hatched a plan to steal Pelletier’s truck.

As she ate her meal in Pelletier’s basement suite, Martel — armed with a pair of scissors — sneaked in and confronted Pelletier, who grabbed a kitchen knife to defend himself.

Martel overpowere­d Pelletier, repeatedly stabbing him with the scissors before strangling him with an electrical cord.

Meanwhile, Starr-Goforth received a six-year sentence for her part in the slaying after pleading guilty to manslaught­er.

 ??  ?? Steve Martel
Steve Martel

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