A little more than three years since he was sentenced to 10 years in prison for manslaughter in the death of a St. Albert man, Jesse Jacob Leslie Roshuk was released on day parole last month.
Roshuk pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the death of Ryan Bruce Dragich in January 2008.
Dragich, a St. Albert native, had moved to Peace River just five months prior to his death. He and Roshuk were roommates at the time.
At a parole board hearing held Feb. 17, the board decided to grant Roshuk day parole, allowing him to move out of an institution and into a halfway house. They turned down a request for full parole.
The parole board said Roshuk had made significant progress dealing with the issues that led up to the crime, including alcoholism and anger management. He had also accepted his guilt.
“You have accepted full responsibility for the offence and your version is consistent with the official account.”
They said full parole would be premature without knowing how he would do on day parole.
“Your release on day parole will contribute to the protection of society by facilitating your re-integration into the community.”
The official account was detailed in an agreed statement of facts submitted as part of the sentencing process.
On Feb. 10, 2007 Roshuk and Dragich returned home after an evening of heavy drinking and an argument ensued.
Noise from the dispute prompted neighbours living above to call police who arrived to find three intoxicated men inside the home.
After telling them to keep the noise level down, the officers left. Another 911 call was placed less than a half-hour later.
Exactly what happened is unclear because of Roshuk’s high level of intoxication, but he went into his room, grabbed and then loaded a high-powered rifle and shot Dragich in the head.
The forensic evidence indicated it was likely Roshuk shot Dragich in the back of the head while he was sleeping.
According to the report, Roshuk told the parole board he had been “choked out” by Dragich and when he awoke he grabbed the gun to scare him.
The agreed statement of facts notes there was little if anything to serve as motive.
“The accused armed himself with a firearm while highly intoxicated by alcohol, loaded the firearm and inexplicably shot the decedent at close range.”
According to the parole board, Roshuk apologized to the Dragich family for his regrettable actions.
“You said you wish you could change the past, but you can’t.”
Dragich’s mother Stephanie said she was disappointed though not surprised by the parole hearing, which she and her husband attended.
“It is very, very disappointing. The whole system is very disappointing. It is just like a dog and pony show pretty much.”
She said her family has been forever changed and she doesn’t feel she had a voice in the process.
“There is really nowhere to go for me. He was my only son and the fact that they give such little respect to the victims …” she said. “Everybody is just so in to the rights of the offender and giving them chances.”
Roshuk will have to continue psychological counselling and abstain completely from alcohol. He will be eligible to apply for full parole in six months.