VANCOUVER – Patrick Kelly, a former RCMP officer convicted of throwing his wife to her death from the 17th floor balcony of their Toronto highrise, has been given full parole.
National Parole Board spokeswoman Debra Kihara confirmed a board had granted Kelly the added freedom Wednesday.
“The board believes the risk is manageable if he lives in the community on full-parole release,” Kihara said.
The board members were told of Kelly’s release plan, and that was one of the factors in approving his parole, Kihara said.
But she refused to say where Kelly would be living, or even if he would remain in British Columbia. His parole hearing took place in the minimum-security Ferndale Institution in the Fraser Valley.
Kelly was found guilty of the premeditated murder of his wife Jeanette in 1983. She plunged to her death after going over the railing of the couple’s luxury condominium on the Toronto waterfront.
Crown prosecutors contended that Kelly, who went to Hawaii with one of his mistresses shortly after his wife’s funeral, was trying to cash in on his wife’s large life insurance policy.
Kelly has always claimed his wife’s death was an accident.
His case became even more notorious after a key witness at his trial recanted her testimony.
Dawn Taber originally testified she saw Kelly drop his unconscious wife off their balcony in March 1981. But she changed her story several times in the years after the trial and finally recanted in 1995.
She said she had created a false memory from her dreams as a result of police pressure and an unstable emotional state.
In 1999, the Ontario Court of Appeal rejected Kelly’s retrial bid, saying Taber’s recantation was not believable and that she was afraid of Kelly, who was a former lover.
During his time in prison, Kelly earned two university degrees and a certificate and fashioned and donated wood furniture to charities.
At Kelly’s faint-hope hearing in 2001, his effort to obtain early parole from his life sentence, a psychiatrist said Kelly was a cunning, lying manipulator.
Kelly was not given early parole.
Kelly was given day parole in 2003, but it was revoked two years later after the National Parole Board heard allegations that he had defrauded a female business partner and cheated on his longtime common-law wife.
In their written decision to revoke parole in 2005, two parole board members said it appeared Kelly needed to bolster his self-esteem through extra-marital affairs and a lavish lifestyle.
He was granted day parole again in 2008, which was renewed every six months until Wednesday’s hearing granted him full parole.
But Kelly continues to serve a life sentence for first-degree murder and Kihara said his freedom can be revoked if he breaches parole conditions or if officials believe his presence in the community becomes unmanageable.
Kihara could not provide his parole conditions Wednesday.