A petition is circulating to keep convicted murder David Ennis from getting parole. Ennis murdered the Johnson and Bentley families in Wells Gray Park in 1982. (Tammy Arishenkoff/change.org)

A petition is circulating to keep convicted murder David Ennis from getting parole. Ennis murdered the Johnson and Bentley families in Wells Gray Park in 1982. (Tammy Arishenkoff/change.org)

88k people sign petition to keep Wells Gray murderer behind bars

David Ennis, now Shering, killed the family while they were camping in Wells Gray Park

Four thousand double-side pages filled with signatures have been sent off to the Parole Board of Canada with the goal of keeping a convicted killer behind bars.

David Shearing, who now goes by David Ennis, will be eligible for full parole this July. He was convicted of murdering three generations of a family: grandparents George and Edith Bentley, their daughter Jackie Johnson and her husband Bob, and her daughters Janet, 13, and Karen, 11.

Ennis murdered the West Kelowna family while they were camping in Wells Gray Park, back in 1982. He killed the four adults first, then held the two girls captive for a week.

He sexually assaulted and tortured the girls before killing them.

Tammy Arishenkoff, who was childhood friends with Janet Johnson, organized the petition urging the parole board to keep Ennis behind bars, launching it in February.

Since that time, it has garnered 88,469 signatures, equivalent to 4,000 pages. She sent off the signatures in a box, weighing 25 pounds earlier this week.

“A box of 4,000 pages is impactful. The hope is when he sees 4,000 pages plunked in his file of signatures from people that don’t have any interest in seeing him get freedom, that he’ll throw in the towel and waive his rights to this hearing and save us all the trouble,” she said.

She said that the amount of support she and members of the Johnson-Bentley family have received is humbling.

“What that support says too is that the memory of this kind is not fading anytime soon and that the public outrage is only growing when it comes to offenders like this being given these opportunities for parole when they committed the crimes they’ve done,” she said.

“People have had enough of these kinds of stories and they don’t want people like (Ennis) to have the opportunity to live amongst them in their community.”

She said the journey has been long and exhausting, but she, along with members of the Johnson-Bentley family, will keep fighting. In fact, Arishenkoff said she’s looking forward to the hearing, which she said will most likely be sometime in the summer.

“I’m personally looking forward to this hearing because I feel we’re on the cusp of something transformative,” she said.

She also said she wanted to thank everyone who has supported them along the way.

In 2008, 2012 and 2014, Ennis’ parole applications were rejected. In 2016, Ennis opted to revoke his parole application just prior to his hearing. He can reapply for parole before the Parole Board of Canada every five years.

Today, Ennis is incarcerated in a medium security prison. He has since changed his name, gotten married and has two kids.

Arishenkoff said those interested in supporting can still sign the petition.

READ MORE: Petition circulates to keep convicted killer in Johnson-Bentley murders behind bars


@twilamam
twila.amato@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Accused drug trafficker to plead to federal, provincial charges in June

Matthew Straume said he’d missed his last court date because he was ill

Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Grand Forks sex crimes trial adjourned until summer

The trial was set to begin at the city courthouse Wednesday, May 5

Photo: Kathleen Saylors
Grand Forks city council votes down motion to support Penticton in paramountcy battle

Coun. Neil Krog insisted Penticton’s issue with Victoria is about city bylaws, not homelessness

The burnt-out remains of a fifth-wheel trailer stand at Highway 3, near the Kettleside RV Park Wednesday, May 5. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Grand Forks fire department investigating fifth-wheel blaze

Two people in the trailer escaped without injury, according to Dep. Fire Chief Stephane Dionne

Bob Keating was CBC’s Kootenays correspondent for 21 years. He retired last month to start a podcasting company. Photo: Tyler Harper
The voice of the Kootenays: CBC correspondent Bob Keating retires

Keating had reported out of Nelson since 2000

Thursday, Feb. 4: RDKB Chief Engineer Darryl Funk hoists a banner commemorating last year’s championship season by the Bantam House Bruins. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Bantam Bruins honoured at hair-raising banner ceremony at Grand Forks’ Jack Goddard Arena

Asst. coach Mike Tollis said he reluctantly gave in to the team’s victory wish that he cut his pony tale

B.C.’s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Dip in COVID-19 cases with 572 newly announced in B.C.

No new deaths have been reported but hospitalized patients are up to 481, with 161 being treated in intensive care

Solar panels on a parking garage at the University of B.C. will be used to separate water into oxygen and hydrogen, the latter captured to supply a vehicle filling station. (UBC video)
UBC parkade project to use solar energy for hydrogen vehicles

Demonstration project gets $5.6M in low-carbon fuel credits

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

FILE – A student arrives at school as teachers dressed in red participate in a solidarity march to raise awareness about cases of COVID-19 at Ecole Woodward Hill Elementary School, in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. ‘should be able to’ offer 1st dose of COVID vaccine to kids 12+ by end of June: Henry

Health Canada authorized the vaccine for younger teens this morning

A woman in the Harrison Mills area was attacked by a cougar on Tuesday, May 4. B.C. Conservation Officers killed two male cougars in the area; the attack was determined to be predatory in nature. (File photo)
2 cougars killed following attack on woman in Agassiz area

Attack victim remains in hospital in stable condition

A woman wears a face mask and shield to curb the spread of COVID-19 while walking in North Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday, January 6, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. CDC updates info, acknowledging small respiratory droplets can spread COVID-19

Large droplets, not aerosols had been fixture of public health messaging for many months

A picture of Shirley Ann Soosay was rendered from a postmortem photographer and circulated on social media. (DDP graphic)
B.C. genealogist key to naming murder victim in decades-old California cold case

In July 1980, Shirley Ann Soosay was raped and stabbed to death

Most Read