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

Adrienne Rogers (LPN) and Tracy McConnell (RN) on the Victoria Hospice Unit. (Photo courtesy of Victoria Hospice)
Victoria Hospice bereavement counsellors dealing with a tsunami of grief

Last year, Victoria Hospice provided end-of-life care to more than 1,000 people

Paddles sit stacked and ready at a rowing regatta on Elk Lake in 2018. (Black Press Media file photo)
Greater Victoria junior girls rowing team nabs first in national Row to Tokyo challenge

Young Victoria City Rowing Club members row more than 2,250 km

Habitat Acquisition Trust has received provincial funding to help restore Garry oak ecosystems on southern Vancouver Island. (Photo by Jeremy da Silva)
Funding boosts restoration efforts for Vancouver Island’s Garry oak ecosystems

Habitat Acquisition Trust will take on several Garry oak ecosystem restoration projects

A Nexii roof panel is lifted during construction of a Starbucks in Abbotsford. Alexzi Building Solutions will be building a manufacturing plant in Langford or North Cowichan to produce the sustainable construction panels. (Photo courtesy of Alexzi Building Solutions)
Langford eyed for facility to make green building alternative to concrete

Langford, North Cowichan possible sites for plant to create sustainable construction panels

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman’s body found in Kootenay National Park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

People pass the red hearts on the COVID-19 Memorial Wall mourning those who have died, opposite the Houses of Parliament on the Embankment in London, Wednesday, April 7, 2021. On May 3, the British government announced that only one person had died of COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kirsty Wigglesworth
For a view of a COVID-19 future, Canadians should look across the pond

Britain, like Canada, is one of the only countries in the world to delay second doses for several months

Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his 100th point this season with Leon Draisaitl (29) against the Vancouver Canucks during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 8, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton superstar McDavid hits 100-point mark as Oilers edge Canucks 4-3

NHL scoring leader needs just 53 games to reach century mark

Nuns of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, carry some of her relics during a vigil of prayer in preparation for the canonization of Mother Teresa in the St. John in Latheran Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, Sept. 2, 2016. In which city did she do much of her charitable work? (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
QUIZ: How much do you know about these motherhood issues?

In honour of Mother’s Day, take this 10-question quiz

A map showing where the most number of cases were recorded from April 23 to 29. This map, revealing a breakdown of infections by neighborhood, was pulled from a data package leaked to the Vancouver Sun last week (and independently verified).
36 Abbotsford schools flagged for COVID-19 exposures in the last 2 weeks, shattering record

Clearbrook Elementary recorded an ‘exposure’ on all 11 school days

Island Health has confirmed COVID-19 exposures at Ecole des Deux Mondes in Campbell River on May 4 and 5, and at Mill Bay Nature School in Mill Bay on April 28, 29, 30 and May 3. (Metro Creative photo)
Two new COVID-19 school exposures confirmed by Island Health

Health authority contacting anyone exposed at Ecole des Deux Mondes, Mill Bay Nature School

Most Read