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Convicted killer of Saskatoon woman arrested while on parole in Victoria

WARNING: This story contains graphic details of a murder.

A convicted killer who brutally murdered a 21-year-old woman in Saskatoon more than two decades ago is behind bars in Victoria after his parole was suspended.

Victoria police confirm that 49-year-old Kenneth David MacKay, who had been released on day parole, was arrested Friday evening in the 500-block of Machester Road and remains in police custody.

MacKay was found guilty of first-degree murder for the killing of Crystal Paskemin in 2000.

He received a life sentence and was released on parole in February against the wishes of Paskemin's family and the advice of Correctional Service Canada.

The Parole Board of Canada decision from January said MacKay was granted day parole for six months at a community residential facility on Vancouver Island. His parole was extended by another six months in July.

According to the terms of his release, he was required to return to the facility every night, abstain from alcohol and report all sexual and non-sexual relationships with women.

He was also ordered not to go to Saskatchewan without permission and not to contact Paskemin's family.

The board's decision noted MacKay's case management team in prison was not supportive of day parole because he was a high risk for violent reoffending and required a more gradual release plan.

"There continue to be concerns regarding power and control issues and possible issues with women," the document said.

According to the law, an offender's parole may be suspended if they breach a condition of their release or if a member of the parole board believes it is necessary to prevent a breach or to protect society.

Victoria police spokesperson Const. Terri Healy told CTV News the department was asked by correctional officials to arrest MacKay.

Lisa Saether, a regional manager with the parole board, said she could not discuss the specifics of the case. She said Correctional Service Canada is responsible for the supervision and custody of offenders in the institution and on parole.

"If an offender on parole fails to abide by conditions imposed, their release may be suspended by CSC and they will be returned to prison," Saether said in an email to CTV News.

MURDER OF PASKEMIN

During his murder trial, the court heard that MacKay met Paskemin at a country bar in Saskatoon. He offered the young Indigenous woman a ride home, but instead brought her to an isolated road on the outskirts of the city.

Parole documents said he sexually assaulted Paskemin violently in his truck. When she managed to escape, he hit her with such force that he broke her jaw and knocked out a tooth.

MacKay drove his truck over Paskemin's head before using a chain to drag her naked remains into a ditch. Her body was also set on fire.

MacKay was arrested less than a week later after a driver reported seeing blood on the road. Paskemin's DNA was found throughout MacKay's vehicle, on his belt buckle and on the chain.

It took weeks for her body to be discovered by motorists driving by the area.

MacKay said at trial that the killing was an accident and denied any sexual component to the slaying. Parole documents showed that MacKay had only recently admitted culpability in her death.

The board said MacKay had a "flat affect" throughout the hearing and "appeared to show no emotion" while talking about the killing and harms he caused.

"There remain concerns that you have minimized your actions against the victim," the parole board's decision said.

The board noted he has received three institutional charges while incarcerated, twice for possession of unauthorized items and once for delaying a prisoner count.

It also noted that MacKay sent a letter to a staff member that appeared to cross boundaries. He also asked a family member to contact that staff member so he could keep in touch.

However, the parole board ultimately found MacKay "will not present an undue risk to society if released on day parole" and the move would help him reintegrate into society.

GROUP CALLS FOR RESIGNATION OF PAROLE BOARD

In a statement Wednesday, the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations called for the resignation of the Parole Board of Canada over MacKay's release and subsequent arrest.

"Killers who inflict such devastating harm on First Nations women are unfit to be part of society," reads the statement. "Killer Kenneth MacKay has violated the basic principles of human dignity and justice, and he has forfeited his right to belong to a civilized community."

The federation, which represents 74 First Nations in Saskatchewan, accused the parole board of failing to protect the public and uphold justice and reconciliation with MacKay's release.

Paskemin was from the Sweetgrass First Nation and her family said in February that she had a contagious smile and magnetic character. They started Crystal's Gift, a non-profit that rehomes gently used furniture to single mothers fleeing violence, in her name.

She had four younger sisters, all under 19 when she was killed.

"We pray that no family must go through the hell-on-earth that we have had to navigate, through the darkest depths of evil, at the hands of this murderer," the family said in a prepared statement.

With files from The Canadian Press

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