A Saanich man who conspired to kill his mother and grandmother more than 30 years ago is on the path to full release with the latest extension of his day parole.
Darren Gowen — formerly known as Darren Huenemann — was one of three men convicted in the gruesome double murder in 1990.
Gowen, then 18, arranged for Mount Doug secondary classmates Derik Lord and David Muir to kill his mother and grandmother in her Tsawwassen home. Sharon Huenemann was 47 and her mother, Doris Leatherbarrow, was 69 when the two teens beat and stabbed them to death as they prepared dinner.
Gowen planned the murders to get an inheritance. In June 1991, he was sentenced to life for two counts of first-degree murder. In 1996 he was convicted of assault and escaping custody the year before.
Now 50, Gowen was first granted six months of “closed community access” day parole in August 2022, when he integrated into a community residential facility. That was extended in February with increased access to the community, according to the latest decision dated Aug. 2 by the Parole Board of Canada.
The most recent six-month extension noted Gowen completed two months of volunteer work and worked for a company where supervisors indicated he was a hard-working employee.
The decision also noted Gowen and his case management team (CMT) agreed to the recommendation of continuing day parole for six months at the community residential facility.
“You claim to understand and accept the rationale behind this recommendation. In fact, you are well aware of the gradual steps to follow until reaching full parole and show a desire to trust the process,” the decision read.
The decision also suggested Gowen is not in the province.
“The board does not find it reasonable and necessary to impose a geographical restriction on your day parole as requested by the victims in their 2022 victim declarations. Your release plan is centred on reintegration in (redacted) and you would need official authorization from your CMT to leave the province. There is no indication that you have voiced or expressed a future interest in travelling to British Columbia during your day parole period,” the decision to continue day parole concluded.
He remains under special conditions to have no contact with any family members of the victims, and not to associate with criminals.