Author Topic: David Shearing aka David Ennis - Murderer - Wells Gray Park - Clearwater, BC  (Read 46833 times)

Chris

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In the summer of 1982, David Shearing of Clearwater, B.C., pleaded guilty to six counts of second-degree murder. He will be eligible for parole in October after serving 25 years of a life sentence.

Bob and Jackie Johnson, their daughters Janet, 13, and Karen, 11, and Jackie's parents, George and Edith Bentley, were found dead after they failed to return from a camping trip near Clearwater. They had been shot and then burned in the family car.

The Johnson girls were kidnapped and sexually assaulted for 2 week before being killed.

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/british-columbia/story/2008/06/23/bc-petition-against-shearing-parole.html
« Last Edit: October 20, 2008, 02:32:49 AM by Chris »

Chris

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This guy is up for parole this October, and I guess since he is at the max 25 years they have to let him out.

If you look at the timeline Des created of murders in the area before his arrest, it is possible this guy is a serial killer. He knows the backroads very well, he is some kind of outdoorsman and when arrested, he was living in Tumbler Ridge, about a 2 hour drive out of Dawson Creek.

I hope the police have tested every bit of DNA possible against his to make sure there is not another murder they can pin on him now.

Crime Stories put on a really stunning show about this crime. He stalked then shot all 4 adults so he could molest the girls for 3 weeks and then burned the vehicles, belongings and bodies in the backwoods and it took a year to find the truck finally.

Oh yeah, he was also busted for a fatal hit and run.

debbiec

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Chris I recently mentioned this case in the Cristine Calayaca thread simply because I was trying to point out how hard it would be to find one body in a large provincial park. As you know, in this case people searched for the truck and camper for sometime,while in fact,it and the car were in the park the entire time. Sitings came in from all across Canada and one in particular that caught the attention of authorities where someone said they had seen the truck and camper and knew that it was being driven by two french speaking individuals. That fact prompted one of the biggest manhunts in Canadian history (maybe even the biggest). They decked out a truck and camper to appear identical to the one they were looking for and drove it across Canada in hopes that it would jog people's memories. This guy's motivation for these horrendous murders were those two little girls. He told of how he watched the family around their campfire, I believe it was the night before and made his plan. The next night he stepped out of the shadows and was able to kill all the adults and take the two girls hostage. What surprised me was how sloppy the whole crime was, even to where he put the car,and yet it took so long to find it and solve the murders. He kept those two girls alive for his sexual pleasure and even moved around the park with them. The fact that he could have been a serial murderer has crossed my mind many times over the years. He actually lived with his family just outside the park and really knew the area well. The fatal hit and run also occured very close to his family home. He killed a young man that was on foot. In 1973 Gale Weys went missing while hitchiking. Could she have taken a ride from this guy? Not likely as he would not have been old enough to drive.He would only have been 13 or fourteen years old at the time. There is a book about this that I have read that was written by an investigator from Kamloops that was on this case. It is called "The Seventh Shadow" and it goes into pretty good detail about the whole thing including the manhunt for David Shearing and his arrest. I lived in Clearwater at the time so this has always stuck with me. I just read that David Shearing now goes by his new name which is David Ennis. Also found out that the residents of Kelowna's Westside, where the Johnsons lived have circulated a petition against his upcoming release from prison in Red Deer, AB.  They are doing the same in Clearwater and want the signatures to be considered in his parole. However, as far as I know he was never decared a dangerous offender. (Can't figure out why) so I don't think they can detain him after twenty five years. Does anyone know when they have to declare someone as a dangerous offender. Can it be done at any time or only at the original sentencing?
« Last Edit: August 16, 2008, 02:17:58 PM by debbiec »

Chris

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However, as far as I know he was never decared a dangerous offender. (Can't figure out why) so I don't think they can detain him after twenty five years. Does anyone know when they have to declare someone as a dangerous offender. Can it be done at any time or only at the original sentencing?

I think it can be done at any time, but not to people after that law was passed. It is such a shame Canada does not have a life in prison with no parole option at least. This guy is about the worst kind of killer there is. Those poor girls.

Crime Stories did show that 1 year wasted with tips about the french guys. But it was still a stroke of luck they got him. There was no evidence except that he had asked someone how to register a truck with a bullel hole in the door, and it turns out the burned truck did have a bullet hole.

The whole case would only be solved if the guy confessed and fortunetly, in 1983, before all those criminal rights people were so dominant, the police took the guy in and he confessed.

I wonder if it would have been possible to solve this otherwise. Circumstantial cases need more then one piece of evidence to prove guilt so it would have taken a lot of work.

debbiec

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I guess he really did get life in prison without the possibility of parole as life in Canada is twenty five years. I would like to see them change that to natural life, which to me is what life should be anyway. I actually found the crime story episode that you are referring to on You Tube so I will take the time to watch that some time. Also when I picked up my copy of "Until You Are Dead" I tried to pick up a copy of "The Seventh Shadow", as I had borrowed the one I read originally. It appears that it may not be in print anymore. Anyone wishing to read it may find it at their local library which is where I will check next.

Chris

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I would like to see them change that to natural life

Yes that is what i meant too. I don't have a problem with the dangerous offender status, but I would much prefer to see a jury give this sentence after conviction. Plus a natural life sentence could be used a leverage to get a confession from someone in exchange for life with parole after 25 years.

Just the chance of being free one day could change some of these peoples minds before rolling the dice with a jury.

debbiec

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I agree Chris. I wonder if this guy changed his name so he can go about living a normal existence hidden from the wrath of society when he gets out. It makes me wonder if he had to go through the normal procedure for a name change seeing as he was in prison. In BC when you change you're name you are required to run the application for name change in three different newspapers (don't know about AB where he is incarcerated). In the ad it will state what you're name is and what you are changing it to. I can't really see him being able to return to Clearwater if that is even still where his family is. It's a small town and everyone seems to know the family.

debbiec

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Even though life in Canada is life without the possibility of parole for twenty five years I was not thinking of the fact that he could still be denied, maybe he can. I was sure this had been discussed on another topic, maybe Clifford Olsen? The difference between David Shearing and Clifford Olsen is that I think Olsen was declared a dangerous offender, was he not? I was also wondering if he is considered to be a serial killer or a mass murderer. Maybe if he has only committed these murders all at once (which seems unlikely to me) he is classified as a mass murderer. Do you have to commit separate murders to be a serial killer? Anyone know?

SeeOtter

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This is my first post here, and I would first like to thank those who have posted, especially the regulars and those who have set up this website.  It is important to remember the tragedies of those murders, especially the missing, and those families who struggle everyday with not knowing what happened, where is their loved one.  To those who participated on this website with kind helpful words, blessings.

About those Wells Gray park murders, I remember those like yesterday.  I also read the book, and I have a question.  The book alludes to the possibility that David Shearing had accomplices.  For example, someone else from the community knew about the truck with a bullet hole in it.  Also, someone in Ontario knew so many accurate details about the truck in question, it could not have been made up.  Does anyone know about this?  Could it be that some gang or cult was involved?  The crime was so heinous, it defies imagination that only one man was involved, and one so young at that.

Hope the RCMP have thoroughly investigated those possibilities.

I don't readily have access to a computer, but will try to keep in touch.

See Otter

debbiec

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Hi SeeOtter, I was happy to see someone else here that knows about this case. Did you live in Clearwater at the time? I don't know if you have read all the info on this topic, but I lived in Clearwater at the time of these murders and I know it's something I will never forget. I think from everything I have seen or read on this case, the reason other people knew about the truck was because he talked too much. He had asked someone how you could go about registering a vehicle that had a bullet hole in it. He made a full confession. He told of how he had watched this family as they were around the campfire the night before and planned how he would execute the murders. I don't agree that it would have been hard for him to have acted alone as he used the element of surprise. As you know from reading the book he had a gun, so it is pretty easy to overpower people with that. He used the mother's love for her children to take her down, as he waited until she was coming down the path from the tent they were in to go after her. Her first instinct would have been to protect those two little girls and he shot her in the back as she turned to run back to the tent. I have absolutely no reason to believe that it was a cult or gang and that comes from his own confession. Clearwater was a tiny community at the time, and it isn't too much bigger today. The population is higher and yet there has really been no apparent growth such as new businesses.To this day I don't think there is any gang activity and I've been going back there every year since I left and have never heard of a cult either. The biggest problem they have there is grow ops. The other thing you bought up was the possibility of an accomplice and that is something people have speculated about over the years. The rumour around town is that the person who helped him, drown in Clearwater Lake some time ago. I don't know how much I would believe that though as he himself says he acted alone and describes the way he committed the entire crime. I really see no reason why he would have quietly taken the blame if someone else helped him. He has sat in jail at this time for longer than he was a free man because he was so young at the time.
« Last Edit: November 10, 2008, 12:05:29 AM by debbiec »

Chris

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I think the people in Ontario who had good knowledge of the truck, were people who were still under the assumption those 2 french guys were the ones police looking for.

I did wonder at first if the guy had any help only because I wondered how he would get home after burning those vehicles. But I guess walking home is not out of the question for this guy, I do not know the distance he would have travelled.

If he did have help, I would think it was after the fact and not part of the actual killing and molesting.

debbiec

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He could easily have walked home from the crime scene Chris. I'm even saying that based on how far it would be if he stayed on the main road, and because his family lived in the park I would bet that he probably knew about a shortcut through the bush that may have been even faster. It's all downhill from the campsite to the area where the family home was so that would make it even faster. I doubt he would have seen much (if any) traffic at night on that road so he may not have been seen even if he did stay on the road. If he did have any help it would probably have been someone that he cared enough about not to implicate, otherwise I don't think he would have been so quiet all these years as it was him talking that got him caught in the first place. Funny thing is Clearwater was and is a small town where people know each other and everyone that I've ever talked to about this that lived there was surprised to find out that the killer was this quiet man. Maybe still waters do run deep. If I'm not mistaken he returned to the scene (can't remember if it was the next day now) and lit the vehicles on fire. Like I said before, it seemed like the whole thing was very sloppy and I don't know how he wasn't caught a lot sooner.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2008, 05:34:12 PM by debbiec »

SeeOtter

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Sorry for the delay in responding.  No, I'm not from Clearwater.  We were just on a camping vacation about one hour's drive from Wells Gray when the news came out about the bodies found in the burned car in September 1982.  Most campers then packed up and went home.

I did not mean that there were gangs or cults in Clearwater itself, but perhaps in the surrounding area, Kamloops, etc.  Just read the book recently and it struck me that there are many things that don't add up in Shearing's confession.  Even the author/investigator mentions by the end of the book that Shearing has likely not told all the truth.  And for that, he should never get out of jail.

I did not get the sense from the book that Shearing was a bigmouth.  They only figured out about him once they found the camper truck stuck in an extremely remote backroad known only to locals.  That's when investigators figured it had to be a local man.  In the fall of 1983, investigators following a few tips and found Shearing in Tumbler Ridge living and participating with other thieves.  Not exactly a quiet lifestyle.

But there had been someone in Clearwater according to the book, who was not willing to talk about the truck with a bullet hole in it.

As for the burned car, which had been left a long distance away in a remote location, Shearing said in his initial confession that he walked the 20 km back to his home in pouring rain at night and went to work the next day as usual.  I just find too hard to believe, that he did not have someone else in another vehicle to drive him back.

As for the tip from Ontario about the camper truck, this was from someone with a criminal past who mentioned details about that truck that were known only to police or the owner/user of the truck.  This individual was indicating that the camper truck had been on its way to the United States.  Could not have been getting further away than its actual location in Wells Gray Park.  Sure hope the RCMP looked further into this "tipster".

I could imagine that cults or organized crime gangs (in the end they're the same thing) have connections that reach far and probably over the US border.  One way they entrap prospective new members is to initiate them by forcing the "choice" of either kill/torture a victim, or having the same thing done to them.  Once the crime is done, the new member feels hopelessly implicated.

Shearing's confession came only in progressive layers and he probably still has not told the whole truth yet.  I sure hope the RCMP are still investigating the whole set of circumstances, especially his thieving partners.

I'm thinking of the 200 victims of the "highway murders" in that part of the country, of which I just recently heard about.  It seems like way too many to be just random killers.   Just my thoughts.

Would like to know what you think if you get a chance to read the book.

debbiec

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Hi SeeOtter,  just read you're post and I am unclear on what you mean when you are talking about the truck and camper being on it's way to the states. As far as any gang connection to this crime, I really find it highly unlikely. Clearwater is a very small community and in a way it seems like it's a place that time has kind of forgotten. I really can't imagine anyone driving all the way from Kamloops to carry out there crime in Wells Gray Park and I'm not even sure that there was gang activity in Kamloops in 1982. It would be a good two hour drive into the park. I lived in Clearwater from the early seventies until the mid eighties and certainly never saw or heard anything about gangs. Honestly in some ways it reminded me back then more of the movie 'Deliverence'. If you ever get a chance to see the episode of 'Crime Story' that featured this crime I think it is probably pretty well done. In that show they talk about how he told people that he had a vehicle that had a bullet hole in it and they are the ones that told RCMP about that when they were questioned. I have read the book and do think it is a pretty accurate account based on anything I have ever heard about the case.

peterg

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   i too lived in clearwater at the time, and actually knew david.  everyone was shocked when he was charged and for years i just didnt believe it myself.  not until i read the book.  but i do agree, that the book left a lot to think about.  i know of no one in clearwater who ever thought david worked alone.  it was almost impossible.  even if he knew the backroads etc.  the time frame of doing the crime and cleaning up the scene walking all that way through the bush at night, etc...just doesnt add up.  i always wondered why they didnt look further.  knowing who david was...i do think he would cover up for his buddys.  i dont think they'd do the same for him.  but the common thought in clearwater is that he wasnt alone.