I'm sorry but I really must apologize. I'm so nervous being here, but I'm so thankful to be here and to be heard. Thank you very much.
I've prepared something. I'm really being drawn to tell you the story. The actual story is very hard to put on paper. This is why I'm here to tell you why you should pass Bill C-54.
As most of you know, the Allan Schoenborn case happened in Merritt about four years ago. Allan Schoenborn followed my cousin to Merritt.
My cousin Darcie Clarke and her three children—10-year-old Kaitlynne, 8-year-old Max, and 5-year-old Cordon—went to Merritt happily. They had a good school to go to and a wonderful home. Darcie provided for them. She called me for a reference so she could actually start work and get her feet underneath her and get her life back and move on and move forward for her children, to make sure they had a healthy environment to grow up in.
She was there. About two months went by. As I said, she phoned me and asked me for a reference so she could get a job because they were doing great in school. We thought the worst was over. Allan was leaving her alone.
I can't remember if it was the Thursday or the Friday he showed up in town. My cousin Darcie was scared. She wouldn't let him in the house, but the kids wanted to see their father. So as a good parent would, she took them to the park and let them see their father. He kept saying he wanted to stay, he wanted to stay. My cousin Darcie was scared and she said, “No, you can't stay.”
The kids wanted to see their father, so being a good parent, she wasn't going to begrudge her children the right to see their father. This is what's sticking with her. She didn't want her kids to resent her, and she let them see their father. She never in her wildest dreams thought he would do this to his own children. These were his children. She thought he was going to kill her. He'd always focused on her.
Anyway, I remember my mom calling me and telling me that Allan was back in town and that my cousin Darcie left him alone with the children. She went to stay at her mother's house for the night so he could spend time with his kids.
I can't remember if he phoned or she phoned, but he kept telling her to come home. She kept saying, “No, this is your time with the kids. Enjoy yourself with the children. All we do is argue and fight, and we don't want to keep arguing and fighting in front of the children.” He wouldn't let her get off the phone. He kept begging her to come home. It was maybe about two hours, she said, and she wanted to say goodnight to the kids and he wouldn't let her. He said, “No, they're sleeping already. They're fine. Don't worry. They're sleeping.” She said, “Okay.”
She had to deal with this. This is what separated people do. She phoned in the morning, and there was no answer. She said, “Okay, phone again.” No answer. As soon as that happened, she just ran out the door, ran home, which was a long way. When she got there, it was every human being's nightmare.
What happened was while 10-year-old Kaitlynne, who was the spitting image of her mother—blonde hair, blue eyes, just beautiful—was sleeping, he took a machete and slashed her face open. I was there when the testimony was read. Allan even said that Kaitlynne started saying, “Daddy, I'm sorry. I'm sorry. What did I do?” He just kept hitting her with a machete.
Then, of course, with this going on, Max, who was eight years old, and Cordon, who was five years old, walked in to witness their father murdering their sister and they were not able to help. Of course, they were next. They had to watch each other brutally die at the hands of their own father.
Eight-year-old Max was next. Allan Schoenborn grabbed a pillow and suffocated him, because the machete was too bloody. It didn't work fast enough and Kaitlynne could scream. For Max, he put a pillow over his head and suffocated him, and five-year-old Cordon had to watch. Then it was Cordon's turn.
Max didn't die easily. He couldn't be suffocated quickly enough. It was too messy. So while five-year-old Cordon waited, he found a plastic bag to put over his head to suffocate him.
Darcie wouldn't go home. He wanted her there because he wanted to kill her, too. She has always known that. He thought that if he killed everybody, they'd all be together in heaven.
So what does he do? He leaves Kaitlynne in the bed, grabs Max and Cordon, props them on the couch to make it look like they're sleeping so that Darcie would have to get really close before she realized they were dead. He wrote “forever young”, which we thought was in blood but it was in soy sauce, above the kids' bodies. “Forever young” was Disney movies and stuff like that.
Darcie explained to me how she felt when she walked in. “Oh, my gosh, the kids are there, but wait a minute. They're not moving.” She got close. She saw their little faces. Then she ran into the bedroom to see Kaitlynne, her face slashed open by a machete.
Where did he get the machete? He brought it with him. She was up there for two months. He drove for hours. He had waited for days. He wanted to get her in the house. He premeditated it. He thought about it. It's unbelievably terrifying. If he gets out, I know she'll be dead. I'm helping Darcie. He's not going to let me go. He wanted to kill her children in front of her so she would suffer.
After the court hearing, we thought for sure that it would be seen as being premeditated. That was going to happen, we thought, but there was a past history in his family of mental illness, and he was deemed to be not criminally responsible.
My cousin Darcie can't live in Merritt any more. My heart goes out to her. I said, “Come live with me.” I wanted her to move in with me a long time ago. I wanted her to come and stay with me, but my mom was scared for my safety and told me I wasn't allowed. She went to Merritt to stay with her mother, and rightly so. But it was my turn to finally help her, to finally help my cousin. We grew up together. We were so close.
She came to live with me. Just looking at her, I see what she is going through, not wanting to come out of her room. She's just a wisp of a person. It was a lot of hard work on my part to get her to the point where she would eat, where she would come out of her room, where she would leave the house, and then she has to do the yearly review.
She comes home from going out. She got a pool pass. This is what kills me. He knows her so well. She got a pool pass. I was so proud of her, especially her wanting to be around children. How could she want to be around children so soon after hers have gone? She loves kids. She loves to be around children. I am feeling so proud of her, proud of her progress. She comes home with a newspaper article with Allan's face on it, saying that he is up early and wants to go to the pool, that he wants to go to Starbucks for coffee.
He's in my area. Colony Farm is right down the street. What if he were to get out on a pass? I could walk into him. My cousin could walk into him, could see him. I shouldn't have to live like that, and neither should she.
I thought I had called whoever I could call. I e-mailed whoever I could e-mail. The response was, “This is the way the law is laid out. There's nothing we can do. You'd have to change the law.” I said, “How do I do that? Help me. All I want is help.”
Barry Penner, who was our attorney general at the time, said, “Stacy, what do you really want? Think reasonably. You're dealing with somebody who's mentally ill and needs care. You're dealing with a victim who has to go through a yearly review and can never heal. What would you like to see happen here?”
My cousin and I talked. We knew that no matter what we did, even if we did change the law, it would never pertain to Allan. It would never pertain to me. It wasn't going to help us, but it would help someone else. It would help another family. It would help another mother or father not to have to go through the pain. We thought that was good enough. If we could help somebody else, it would be worth it.
I've fought long and hard. I've been on TV and radio shows talking about this. It's mind-boggling how my being here right now, speaking in front of you, has happened.
Obviously the good people at the right time and in the right place and in the right situation are the reasons I am here. I'm really thankful for that because I get to speak and have my say, and not only that, but maybe pave the way for someone else to find some peace.
My cousin Darcie cannot go to the yearly reviews. She can't stand up for herself. I'm the one who has to go. I'm the one who has to sit there and look into the eyes of the devil knowing what he did. I want him to get care and I need him to get care, but I also need my cousin to have time to heal.
If Allan is in there for the next 30 years, I'll have to go to a review board hearing 30 times. How am I supposed to heal? Every time my cousin seems to get a little better, a yearly review comes up. She has three birthdays to deal with, Christmas, Easter, Mother's Day, Father's Day. Not only that, the review is held the same month the murders occurred. The pain....
I'm sorry, I'm talking too much.
The worst part about it, though, is that Allan was controlling and he still has control. He can stay a review. He doesn't have to show up for a review. He can ask for a transfer. My cousin doesn't want him moved. She wants to know where he is so I can take care of things for her, be there to speak for her.
You may say that she doesn't have to speak, that it's common sense, and she doesn't have to write out this victim impact statement every year, that it's not necessary. But when you're a victim, it is necessary, it is very necessary.
Thank you very much.