Jesse Penner's killer to remain in jail

A memorial was set up in Port Coquitlam following the death of Jesse Penner, who was stabbed outside a house party in 2006.  - TRI-CITY NEWS FILE PHOTO
A memorial was set up in Port Coquitlam following the death of Jesse Penner, who was stabbed outside a house party in 2006.
— image credit: TRI-CITY NEWS FILE PHOTO

The young man who stabbed Jesse Penner to death outside a Port Coquitlam house party in 2006 won’t be getting out of jail early because he’s too dangerous.

But when he does get out at the end of his sentence — in less than a year — he’ll have no supervision.

Ryan Crossley has committed numerous acts of violence behind bars and will remain incarcerated for the remainder of his sentence, which ends next year, according to the Parole Board of Canada (PBC).

The board noted that in the five years the 21-year-old has been in prison, he has yet to complete any programming to address his propensity for violence or his substance abuse issues.

“You continue to endanger the safety of others, on occasion spontaneously but often with some level of pre-planning, and frequently involving the use of weapons,” the board said in its reasons for decision. “You do not display a genuine remorse for the victims and clearly hold a personal belief that accepts and endorses violence.”

Crossley was initially eligible for automatic release in October 2010 after serving two thirds of his six-year sentence.

But due to his behaviour behind bars, the parole board decided to use a legal provision that allows it to keep a prisoner incarcerated beyond his automatic release date. That decision was reviewed last week, and the board once again decided that Crossley is not ready to re-join society and should remain in prison until his full sentence is complete on June 18, 2012.

Danielle Charois, the regional communications officer with the Parole Board of Canada, told The Tri-City News in a letter that once Crossley hits his release date, there will be no transition period when he gets out of prison.

“Neither the PBC nor the Correctional Service of Canada will have any further authority over the case,” she said. “He will not be subject to any supervision or conditions.”

In February 2007, Crossley was sentenced to six years in prison, less a year for time served, after he pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

A year prior, he was at a house party when he pepper-sprayed 20-year-old Penner and then ran away. Penner chased after him and a fight ensued, during which Crossley stabbed Penner before fleeing again. Penner was taken to hospital but later died from his wounds.

During the judge’s sentencing in 2007, he noted Crossley, then 16, had 10 prior convictions, some for violent assaults. The judge also noted that at the time he killed Penner, Crossley was on a supervised release awaiting sentencing — with conditions that he not possess a weapon and that he obey a curfew — for another offence.

Gord Penner, Jesse’s father, said he is concerned with what will happen after Crossley is released. While he is angry with the man who took his son’s life, Penner said the entire system has failed in this case.

It was noted in the parole board’s review that Crossley had suffered two separate head injuries at an early age that may contribute to his violent outbursts. At 14, he was diagnosed by a psychiatrist as having a severe conduct disorder.

Penner said someone should have been able to intervene in Crossley’s case before his son was killed.

“I do understand the situation,” he said. “At one point, this was a child. A lot of people don’t have a chance right out of the womb and [Crossley] is one of those people. It is tragic but the damage is done.”

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