An Edmonton man convicted of killing his pregnant wife and dumping her body more than 15 years ago was granted day parole for six months on Monday, with officials stressing the need to monitor his current romantic relationship.
Michael White must abide by a number of restrictions, including that he not be alone with his girlfriend, while living in a halfway house, the Parole Board of Canada said in approving his release.
Other conditions include a requirement that he undergo counselling, continue programming to address issues related to domestic abuse, and report any new relationships or friendships with women.
The panel said Mr. White, who has only left prison under supervision, needs a “slow, gradual reintegration” into the community and his interpersonal relationships.
Mr. White, meanwhile, vowed to abide by any restrictions imposed if it means he can spend time with his family, the couple’s now-adult daughter, and his girlfriend.
“These are the people in my life that matter most, who I would love to be back with,” he said during the hearing, which was conducted by video conference.
“It’s family with me … to be a dad to my daughter, physically be there, for graduation, for the good times and bad times, instead of just on the phone,” he said.
Mr. White has maintained his innocence in the death of Liana White, including in Monday’s appearance before the board.
Ms. White’s mother, Maureen Kelly, told the hearing Mr. White has “never taken responsibility” for the death of her daughter or the harm it caused.
“He does not have remorse for what he has done,” Ms. Kelly said in a victim impact statement. “I lost everything in my life … what has happened has been heartbreaking.”
Ms. White was four months pregnant with the couple’s second child when she was stabbed to death in July, 2005.
A few days later, her body was discovered in a ditch by a search party that included her husband.
Mr. White was convicted in 2006 of second-degree murder and offering an indignity to a dead body.
He was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 17 years. Alberta’s highest court later rejected his appeal of the convictions.
On Monday, Mr. White repeated that while he never physically harmed his wife, he lashed out verbally or displayed aggressive behaviours at times because he lacked the skills to cope with stress.
He also said the couple didn’t communicate properly but maintained neither ever suggested ending the marriage.
Mr. White said some of the coping mechanisms he learned in prison have come into play in his new relationship, particularly as his girlfriend navigates the public scrutiny related to his case.
The 44-year-old was previously granted four unescorted temporary absences from the Beaver Creek Institution in Gravenhurst, Ont., to be carried out over nine months.
But the panel heard Monday the absences never took place because of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, the day parole proposed will be more restrictive at the offset, the hearing heard.
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