A British Columbia woman who killed 14-year-old Reena Virk near a Victoria-area bridge two decades ago is asking a parole board to release her from prison.
Kelly Ellard, who was 15 at the time of the death, is serving a life sentence for second-degree murder and will appear before a board today to request her release on day parole.
If successful, she would move to a halfway house, where she would be monitored and be subject to conditions including reporting to a parole officer.
Ellard, who is now 35, first applied for day parole in 2016 and was denied, but in February she was granted temporary escorted absences to go to parenting programs and doctor’s appointments with her baby.
She became pregnant last year after having conjugal visits with her boyfriend, who has also served prison time, and the baby lives with Ellard at a women’s prison in Abbotsford, B.C.
A court heard that Ellard and several other teens swarmed and beat Virk, before Ellard and a teenage boy followed her across a bridge, smashed her head into a tree and held her underwater until she drowned.
Warren Glowatski was also convicted of second-degree murder and granted full parole in 2010.
Ellard has spent about 15 years in prison, having spent some periods out on bail. She was convicted of second-degree murder in 2005 after three trials.
She has recently assumed more responsibility for her part in the murder, saying she rolled Virk’s unconscious body into the Gorge waterway. She has continued to deny holding the girl’s head underwater.
A two-member panel of the parole board decided in February that Ellard should be granted temporary escorted absences to spend time with her baby. But panel member Alex Dantzer cautioned that she must take more responsibility for the crime.
“It would be hard to exaggerate the brutality of that index offence,” he said. “It’s also disturbing in the view of the board that you continue to minimize it.”
The Canadian Press