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Conrad Brossard had a habit of killing people or trying to kill them whenever he wasn't locked up behind bars.

He murdered a man after escaping from a halfway house in 1970. He shot a man and stabbed him 13 times after escaping during a prison outing in 1980.

Eight years later, out on parole, he tried to murder someone else.

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And this week, only three months after once again being freed on parole, Mr. Brossard was charged with armed sexual assault and murder.

In a case that has outraged the victim's family and put the National Parole Board in the spotlight, Mr. Brossard is back behind bars after an arraignment Monday in the savage killing of 55-year-old Cécile Clément in Trois-Rivières.

Ms. Clément accepted a ride home from Mr. Brossard after visiting her mother at an nursing home. The two were vaguely acquainted because Mr. Brossard had been allowed to volunteer at the home, although Ms. Clément did not know about his criminal past.

The case has prompted Ms. Clément's devastated daughter, Chantal Vincent, to demand greater say for the victims of crime when prisoners come up for parole.

Ms. Clément's sister says Mr. Brossard should never have been let out of jail.

"The guilty party here is the judicial system," Thérèse Clément, the sister, told a Trois-Rivières newspaper. "It's inconceivable that this happened because people didn't evaluate how dangerous this person was.

"It's not hard to behave well in prison. In society, it's harder," she said.

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She said the family will consider suing Corrections Canada. The family would join a series of lawsuits across the country by the families of victims of parolees.

"Out of respect for our sister, when the dust settles, we'll definitely take measures so that justice is done," Ms. Clément said.

Under opposition fire in the House yesterday, Justice Minister Martin Cauchon said he was aware of Mr. Brossard's file and promised that Corrections Canada and the National Parole Board will conduct an "in-depth and serious investigation."

Contradictory information surfaced about Mr. Brossard's criminal record yesterday. Court records say he had been convicted in two murders and one attempted murder. His National Parole Board file says he was guilty of one murder and two attempted murders.

Either way, Mr. Brossard's violent crime spree, and his turns through the revolving door of Canada's penitentiaries, stretches for decades.

In 1970, he escaped from a Montreal-area detention centre where he was serving seven years for assault, attempted rape and armed robbery. A day after his escape, he killed a motorist who picked him up while he was hitchhiking. Andre Lahaise was 32.

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Mr. Brossard was sent to jail for life. A decade later, however, he was on an escorted outing in Montreal and managed to escape. He kidnapped a motorist at gunpoint, stabbed him 13 times and shot him in the liver. Marc Lapierre, then 22, survived by playing dead. He says he has never been able to work again.

"I can't understand how . . . Conrad Brossard can be constantly let out on parole."

Mr. Brossard, returned to jail for a 23-year sentence, was out again on parole in 1987, and was arrested at that point for attempted murder and armed robbery, according to the parole board.

He returned to jail again for a life sentence. Then, in February, he faced the parole board again. The board was told that Mr. Brossard had been diagnosed by a psychiatrist in 1999 as having a troubled, antisocial personality.

In December, 2001, a psychologist evaluated Mr. Brossard and rated his degree of dangerousness as "weak to moderate."

The board noted that in the mid-90s, authorities cancelled Mr. Brossard's escorted outings because they discovered a knife on him.

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Still, on Feb. 1, Mr. Brossard was granted restricted parole to work in community projects while living at a halfway house. Board members ruled that "the risk [he presents]is not unacceptable."

Madeleine Bonner Lesage, director of the nursing home where Mr. Brossard had worked, described his behaviour at the centre as "exceptional." The director of his halfway house in Trois-Rivières where he lived also said Mr. Brossard had shown "exemplary" behaviour.

Marie Beemans, a board member with the Quebec Association of Social Rehabilitation Agencies, said only a tiny fraction of parolees reoffend, and that Mr. Brossard's case would hurt other inmates seeking to return to society.

She said she knew Mr. Brossard and he had shown no signs of violence.

"Everybody is shocked," she said. "There were no warning signs. We feel terrible about this and it's going to hurt all the guys applying for parole."

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