A petition is circulating to keep convicted murder David Ennis from getting parole. Ennis murdered the Johnson and Bentley families in Wells Gray Park in 1982. (Tammy Arishenkoff/change.org)

A petition is circulating to keep convicted murder David Ennis from getting parole. Ennis murdered the Johnson and Bentley families in Wells Gray Park in 1982. (Tammy Arishenkoff/change.org)

88k people sign petition to keep Wells Gray murderer behind bars

David Ennis, now Shering, killed the family while they were camping in Wells Gray Park

Four thousand double-side pages filled with signatures have been sent off to the Parole Board of Canada with the goal of keeping a convicted killer behind bars.

David Shearing, who now goes by David Ennis, will be eligible for full parole this July. He was convicted of murdering three generations of a family: grandparents George and Edith Bentley, their daughter Jackie Johnson and her husband Bob, and her daughters Janet, 13, and Karen, 11.

Ennis murdered the West Kelowna family while they were camping in Wells Gray Park, back in 1982. He killed the four adults first, then held the two girls captive for a week.

He sexually assaulted and tortured the girls before killing them.

Tammy Arishenkoff, who was childhood friends with Janet Johnson, organized the petition urging the parole board to keep Ennis behind bars, launching it in February.

Since that time, it has garnered 88,469 signatures, equivalent to 4,000 pages. She sent off the signatures in a box, weighing 25 pounds earlier this week.

“A box of 4,000 pages is impactful. The hope is when he sees 4,000 pages plunked in his file of signatures from people that don’t have any interest in seeing him get freedom, that he’ll throw in the towel and waive his rights to this hearing and save us all the trouble,” she said.

She said that the amount of support she and members of the Johnson-Bentley family have received is humbling.

“What that support says too is that the memory of this kind is not fading anytime soon and that the public outrage is only growing when it comes to offenders like this being given these opportunities for parole when they committed the crimes they’ve done,” she said.

“People have had enough of these kinds of stories and they don’t want people like (Ennis) to have the opportunity to live amongst them in their community.”

She said the journey has been long and exhausting, but she, along with members of the Johnson-Bentley family, will keep fighting. In fact, Arishenkoff said she’s looking forward to the hearing, which she said will most likely be sometime in the summer.

“I’m personally looking forward to this hearing because I feel we’re on the cusp of something transformative,” she said.

She also said she wanted to thank everyone who has supported them along the way.

In 2008, 2012 and 2014, Ennis’ parole applications were rejected. In 2016, Ennis opted to revoke his parole application just prior to his hearing. He can reapply for parole before the Parole Board of Canada every five years.

Today, Ennis is incarcerated in a medium security prison. He has since changed his name, gotten married and has two kids.

Arishenkoff said those interested in supporting can still sign the petition.

READ MORE: Petition circulates to keep convicted killer in Johnson-Bentley murders behind bars


@twilamam
twila.amato@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Greater Victoria is ranked fourth out of 27 Canadian cities for the best places for youth to work in, according to a RBC report. (Black Press Media file photo)
Greater Victoria among best Canadian cities for youth to work in, says RBC report

Region ranked fourth out of 27, behind Vancouver, Hamilton and Edmonton

Donna Brower (left) and her daughter Carol Anne Penner, members of the Silver Swans – a quilting group of 12 ladies who meet at the Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary – with a mountain of masks they sewed. (Photo submitted by Julia Dawson)
Saanich quilting group nabs first prize in Volunteer BC photo contest

Silver Swans sewing club raised more than $12,000 for Swan Lake nature sanctuary

Happy green tomato seedlings wait to be purchased at 3378 Wishart Rd. in Colwood. They’ve been grown especially for the Colwood Garden Society’s fundraiser to build a shed at the community garden. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
Colwood Garden Society hopes to raise shed with plant sale

Herbs, vegetable starts, flowers and more for $1, $2 and $3 until May 15

Divyesh Nagarajan, third from the left, has founded the Be My Friend project to bring support and companionship to vulnerable youth and address North Saanich’s food security challenges. (Courtesy of Divyesh Nagarajan)
Greater Victoria teen looks to connect vulnerable youth with a buddy, bolster food security

Be My Friend project was founded by St. Michaels University School student Divyesh Nagarajan

The City of Victoria is proposing a northern contraction from Haultain Street to Bay Street with a western contraction from Cook Street to Chambers Street for Fernwood. (Illustration/Google Maps)
Community association calls for input on Victoria boundary changes

City of Victoria proposes changes to neighbourhood borders

B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains in the B.C. legislature, May 13, 2019. (Hansard TV)
VIDEO: B.C. to provide 3 days of sick pay for COVID-19 absences

Province will support employers on cost, labour minister says

A nurse asks screening questions at an immunization appointment in Nanaimo earlier this year. (Shawn Wagar/Island Health photo)
Island Health appreciates nurses answering the call in challenging times

Health authority draws attention to National Nursing Week

BC Housing minister David Eby. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)
Eby jabs back against Penticton mayor’s ad urging BC Premier to intervene in shelter dispute

Eby writes that Penticton’s ‘serious’ social issues won’t improve under leadership of the mayor

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 rate creeps up again, 600 new cases Wednesday

One more death, 423 people in hospital with virus

B.C. Agriculture Minister Lana Popham takes questions in the B.C. legislature in 2017. (Hansard TV)
UPDATE: B.C. will fund another year of fresh fruit, vegetables, milk in schools

John Horgan government working on school meal program

Vancouver mayor-elect Kennedy Stewart addresses supporters in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver mayor says there’s no time to redo details of drug decriminalization plan

Kennedy Stewart says a federal election could see the small window of opportunity close on the city’s bid for an exemption from criminal provisions on simple possession of small amounts of drugs

Premier Mike Horgan received his first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. (Facebook/John Horgan)
More than 50% of people eligible in B.C. have received 1st vaccine dose

‘We’ve made extraordinary progress together over the past few weeks,’ says Premier Horgan

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the shooting of a Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation woman in the Ucluelet First Nation community of Hitacu on May 8. (Black Press Media file photo)
Indigenous woman shot by police was holding a replica gun, says Ucluelet First Nation

Woman has been identified as a member of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation

Most Read