Online petition

Online petition calls on the parole board to deny parole to Johnson-Bentley killer David Ennis.

An online petition has been started to try to keep a notorious B.C. killer, who murdered six members of a Westbank family, behind bars.

As of Tuesday afternoon, about 21,000 people had signed the petition asking that David Shearing, who now goes by the name David Ennis, be denied parole this summer.

He murdered Bob and Jackie Johnson, their daughters Janet, 13, and Karen, 11, as well as George and Edith Bentley in Wells Gray Park in August 1982.

“We the undersigned feel that the release of David Ennis, formerly David Shearing, into the community would jeopardize the safety of all citizens, but more importantly our children,” reads part of the petition, started by Tammy Arishenko, who was a friend of the Johnson family.

An author hopes his book, Murder Times Six, will generate public outrage and help keep Ennis behind bars.

Alan R. Warren’s book tells the story of the horrifying murders. Ennis was convicted of second-degree murder and later admitted to sexually assaulting the young girls before killing them.

Murder Times Six looks at the murder as told by police, the victims’ family and the killer.

Warren also looks at how the justice system works and what goes on in parole hearings.

“I don’t want to scare people, but I want them to be aware,” said Warren.

Although he has written a number of true crime books, Warren admitted Murder Times Six was one of the hardest books he has written.

The case doesn’t feel like it’s over, he said, because Ennis can still get out of prison.

As a result, the family and friends left behind have been unable to move past the murders.

“A lot of time when you talk to the family, they’re crying when they’re going through it as if it happened yesterday,” he said.

Despite his horrific crime, Warren said Ennis has been approved for unsupervised day passes; however, because of COVID-19 that has been shut down for now.

“I think this is tragic because now you’ve got the family on the edge of their seats knowing this man can walk out of the prison and spend days unsupervised,” said Warren.

According to Warren, Ennis has been a good prisoner, changed his name, gotten married and had other crimes including manslaughter expunged from his record.

Warren, who met Ennis as part of the research for his book, described him as passive, quiet, reserved and polite.

What alarmed Warren was Ennis seemed to have no feeling when he was talking about his victims, it was all matter of fact.

“Would you want him as a neighbour?” asked Warren.

“Would you want your kids living next door to this man?”

Ennis has served his minimum 25 years and has been applying for parole so far unsuccessfully.

He was denied parole in 2008 and again in 2012. He declined parole hearings in 2014 and 2016.