The Johnson-Bentley family was killed while camping near Wells Gray Provincial Park in 1982. (Tammy Arishenkoff/

The Johnson-Bentley family was killed while camping near Wells Gray Provincial Park in 1982. (Tammy Arishenkoff/

Friend of slain family grateful Wells Gray murderer denied parole

More than 100,000 people signed Tammy Arishenkoff’s petition to keep David Ennis behind bars

After a long and emotional day that reopened wounds, a Peachland resident said she’s grateful a murderer was denied release.

Tammy Arishenkoff was a classmate and friend of Janet Johnson, who was killed along with her sister, parents and grandparents in 1982 by David Shearing, now known as David Ennis.

The family was camping near Wells Gray Provincial Park when Ennis came upon them, stalking them before shooting the adults, then sexually assaulting sisters Janet and Karen before killing them.

Ennis put the bodies in the family car and set it on fire.

Now 62, he applied for conditional release but was denied during his hearing on Wednesday (Sept. 15). The Parole Board of Canada said that even though he had made some progress, they deemed that he was still at risk of re-offending should he be granted parole.

Despite the relived mental trauma, Arishenkoff said she and the Johnson-Bentley family’s friends and relatives felt great after the parole board’s decision.

“We’re extremely relieved and happy. It was an emotional day for everybody and we got both day and full parole denied.

“This battle is done, but the war goes on. The war keeps going on until he surrenders or dies in prison, that’s when it will be over.”

Arishenkoff launched a petition asking the parole board to deny Ennis’ application earlier this year, sending 101,463 signatures to the parole board.

She said going through the grisly details of the case and Ennis’ history will always be difficult, but she won’t give up the fight to keep him imprisoned, not just for Janet but because she said she doesn’t want anyone else to be hurt by him.

“He thinks he deserves to get out? Well, Janet and Karen are never getting out. Bob and Jackie are never getting out. George and Edith are never getting out,” she said.

“Don’t tell me he deserves to get out, because he doesn’t. It’s been 39 years, and he still hasn’t done the work … I will never be OK with him getting out. He needs to stay where he is. He needs to rot in jail.”

READ MORE: Parole denied for B.C. man who killed family of 6 camping in Wells Gray Provincial Park


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