Family killer granted parole after two decades in prison
Gavin Mandin shot, killed mother, stepfather, two sisters in 1991
By: By Megan Sarrazin
| Posted: Wednesday, Jan 09, 2013 06:00 am
When he was just 15 years old, St. Albert resident Gavin Joseph Mandin pulled the trigger on his mother, stepfather and two adolescent sisters at the family’s farm in northern Alberta.
More than two decades after he was sentenced to life in prison on four counts of second-degree murder, Mandin, who now goes by the name Gavin Ian Maclean, will have a small taste of freedom.
He was granted day parole Oct. 31 by the Parole Board of Canada at the age of 36, after serving 21 years behind bars.
Mandin’s aunt Colette Mandin said the news of her nephew’s release is unsettling to her and the majority of her family.
“It’s unsettling that given the gravity of his crimes and the assessments done by the people who have been supervising him that he still gets granted release,” she said.
It is not yet known where Mandin will reside, but Colette said she believes it will be in the Toronto area.
Mandin shot and killed four members of his family on Aug. 6, 1991 as they pulled up to the farm near Valleyview, following a shopping trip in a nearby community.
His first two shots were fired from a 0.22-calibre rifle as he stood inside the family home peering through a window.
As his stepfather Maurice, 46, exited the family vehicle, Mandin fired a bullet at his head before turning the gun on his 41-year-old mother, Susan.
His younger sisters, 12-year-old Islay and 10-year-old Janelle, remained in the vehicle.
Mandin approached the vehicle, where he again shot at his mother and stepfather, before shooting and killing his younger sisters. Even after the gun was emptied of bullets, Mandin continued to pull the trigger.
He grabbed a knife and cut open his mother’s clothing as her dead body sat in the vehicle before dragging his stepfather’s body, bound with rope, to a meadow roughly one mile away.
He left the bodies of his mother and sisters in the family vehicle and drove the car to a nearby tree line where he abandoned it.
Mandin remained at the home for a day and a half then departed in the family’s van.
He was pulled over by police on Highway 43 but fled when officers wanted to examine the vehicle. A high-speed chase ensued, which saw Mandin reaching speeds up to 170 kilometres per hour before he was stopped with a spike belt.
Mandin was tried as an adult when he pleaded guilty to the murders in November 1993. He was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for at least 10 years. He was unable to explain the motivation behind the killings, but expressed upset with having to perform household chores.
His application for parole was denied at the 10-year mark in 2001, largely resulting from a lack of remorse for the slayings.
“It is of great concern … that you display to those who deal with you little remorse for your crimes or empathy for your sisters, mother and stepfather,” said documents from his 2001 parole review.
In 2009, and again in 2011, Mandin was granted unescorted temporary absences from the minimum-security prison in Ontario where he was serving his sentence.
The board of his 2009 review stated that he still lacked remorse for his crimes.
“You persisted in maintaining your victim stance and continued to heap blame upon your mother,” it said. “You exhibited little regret for your actions and your callous attitude toward your crimes was disturbing.”
Mandin’s risk for violent re-offending was found in 2010 to be in the low-moderate range. Conditions of his parole require him to report any relationships with women, take counseling and have no contact with family members of the deceased, with the exception of one unnamed family member.
He will be monitored in the community during his parole and could be sent back behind bars if his parole officer suspects problems.