WATCH: Questions are being raised after a convicted killer escaped from prison on the Lower Mainland and was arrested in Saanich Tuesday. April Lawrence reports.
Saanich Police arrested an escaped prisoner at an outbuilding on a rural Saanich property early Tuesday morning.
Forty-eight-year-old Michael Douglas Sheets was finishing up a 14-year sentence for manslaughter and arson at the minimum security Mission Institution when, on Saturday, Corrections Canada says he likely just walked away.
BC Ferries says it never received a “BOLO” (be on the lookout) bulletin for Sheets who made it to Vancouver Island unnoticed until Saanich police received a tip Monday night that pointed them to the hideout.
It was November 2004 when Sheets and an accomplice lobbed a Molotov cocktail into a Calgary townhouse complex, killing six-year-old Ali Al-mayahi and his four-year-old sister Saja.
Sheets, a crack addict at the time, told the courts he was paid $60 to set fire to the house as part of a revenge plot. He pleaded guilty.
In 2015, while serving his sentence at the minimum security William Head Institution in Metchosin, Sheets escaped while on an escorted visit to Victoria. He was caught the next day and later sentenced to an additional four months.
Sheets was set to complete his entire sentence by December 2019. Corrections Canada says he was released into the community under supervision earlier this year but that was suspended and he was returned to Mission Institution. His status was under review.
“They were still in the process of slowly trying to reintegrate the person back into society by reducing their security classification and that’s simply in recognition of the fact that come next year this person is just going to be released,” said Victoria criminal lawyer Michael Mulligan.
“Long experience tells us it’s undesirable to keep someone in a maximum security jail cell until the day of their release and then abruptly let them out, that is most certainly a recipe for disaster.”
Corrections Canada says Sheets will now be sent to a medium security facility and a new risk assessment will be complete. He could also face criminal charges and an additional sentence for the escape.