NEW GLASGOW – A Heathbell man who brutally murdered a Pictou cab driver in 1998 has been granted a term of day parole.
Christopher Alexander Falconer was 15 when he and Fraser Wilson Kennedy of Meadowville, then 18, beat and strangled 53-year-old Robert Gerald LeBlanc to death on Jan. 2, 1998, for about $65 and a pack of cigarettes. LeBlanc's body was found in the trunk of his abandoned cab at the Pleasant Valley Road.
Falconer was convicted of second-degree murder, which carries a life sentence with no chance of parole for six and a half years.
The decision rendered last week by the National Parole Board will allow Falconer, now 28, another six-month period of day parole. He is currently serving the 12th year of his sentence.
In its decision, the board states that a previous period of day parole, granted last fall, was suspended in December 2009 following an incident of Falconer sitting on a staff member. After discussing the situation, the suspension was cancelled because it was believed that he was developing conflict resolution skills and there was no increase in his risk to re-offend.
“Despite this incident, staff at the Community-Residential Centre (CRC) reports you as being compliant and co-operative with no further issues arising,” the board’s decision states. “You were referred to the Community Maintenance Program for extra sessions and encouraged to continue participating in one-on-one psychological counselling as this represents a good source of support for you and allows you to discuss ongoing issues as they surface.”
Falconer has remained employed and has completed all of his correctional programming in the community. He also accesses leave passes to his father’s home with no concerns being reported.
The board’s decision stated that Falconer’s case management team recommended his day parole be continued to allow for further adjustment to living in the community.
“Your having been in the institution at such a young age makes adjustment more difficult and gradual reintegration assists the process,” the decision stated, adding that Falconer doesn’t possess many of the life skills a normal person growing up would have acquired.
“It is essential that you continue to improve your emotional management skills and self-management skills related to your risk factors. Dealing with difficult situations and challenges are a fact of life and how you solve the problems as they arise will determine how successful your risk can be on release.”
The parole board expressed some concern with Falconer’s lack of interest in pursuing trade skills, which it believes would improve his chances of gainful employment and facilitate an eventual full reintegration into the community.
Despite those concerns, the board was satisfied that Falconer’s current day parole can be continued for six more months without placing the public at an undue risk, stating that his progress was not great enough to consider full parole at this time.
He is required to stay away from people with a criminal background while on day parole.
The parole board warned him that they take any transgressions seriously.
“You are serving time for a serious offence and are reminded that the bar is set very high in the case of all lifers when you return to the community,” the board stated. “Your suspension is an example of the high expectations placed on you and should serve as a warning of how fragile your case can be if you do not remain focused on meeting all of the expectations of a person on conditional release.”