Man convicted of killing woman in Saskatchewan arrested in Victoria, parole suspended

Victoria police headquarters in Victoria. is shown on Wednesday, June 10, 2020. Police say a man who brutally murdered a young Indigenous woman in Saskatoon had his parole suspended and is back in custody.

A man who brutally murdered an Indigenous woman in Saskatoon is back in custody and his parole has been suspended.

Victoria police say Kenneth MacKay, who is 49, was arrested Friday but did not provide further details.

MacKay was found guilty of first-degree murder for the killing of 21-year-old Crystal Paskemin in 2000.

He received an automatic life sentence with no chance of parole for 25 years.

The Parole Board of Canada approved MacKay for day parole in January and it was extended in July by another six months.

The board’s decision notes the parole was granted against the advice of the Correctional Service of Canada.

It says MacKay’s case-management team considered him a high risk for violent reoffending and wanted a more gradual release. “There continue to be concerns regarding power and control issues and possible issues with women,” says the decision.

MacKay’s release conditions included returning to a residential facility on Vancouver Island every night and reporting all of his sexual and non-sexual relationships with women.

He was also not allowed to contact Paskemin’s family or go to Saskatchewan without permission.

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

“If an offender on parole fails to abide by conditions imposed, their release may be suspended by the (Correctional Service Canada) and they will be returned to prison,” Saether said in an email.

Paskemin was from Sweetgrass First Nation and her family said she had a contagious smile and magnetic character. They spoke out at the time of MacKay’s release, saying they feared he posed a risk to other women.

“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 in February.

During his trial, court heard that MacKay met Paskemin at a country bar in Saskatoon.

After watching her from a distance, he approached her and offered her a ride home. Instead, he took her to an isolated road on the outskirts of the city.

Paskemin was sexually and physically assaulted before she was run over by a truck. Her naked body was then set on fire.

The parole board said MacKay had only recently admitted culpability and “appeared to show no emotion” while talking about the killing and harms he caused.

The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations, which represents 74 First Nations in Saskatchewan, called on Wednesday for laws around parole to be changed in response to MacKay’s arrest.

The federation said in a statement that the parole board is facing concerns over its credibility and must change to restore trust with First Nations people.

“Killers who inflict such devastating harm on First Nations women are unfit to be part of society,” the federation said.

“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.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 6, 2023.

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