Guy Turcotte’s release four years after killing his children is difficult to justify

The name Guy Turcotte is known across Canada, but it is notorious in Montreal, where the man was found guilty of stabbing his two young children 46 times as they lay in their beds.

Less than four years later, Turcotte has been granted release from a psychiatric institute and, save for an annual checkup and a few conditions, declared a free man.

Set aside for a moment the gruesome details behind the deaths of three-year-old Anne-Sophie and five-year-old and Olivier in 2009.

The CBC reports that Turcotte admitted to stabbing his children, but was found not criminally responsible because of a mental disorder — he claimed he didn't remember doing it. The Crown is appealing that decision.

"He still poses a risk but that risk can be controlled if he's supervised," said panel commissioner Danielle Allard when approving his release, according to the Montreal Gazette. "It's essential that his team be on hand if his state deteriorates."

That doesn't sound like the ruling of a person convinced that Turcotte poses no threat to public safety.

Do you know where a team is on hand to watch if his state deteriorates? In prison, or in a psychiatric institution. Not the streets of Montreal.

However, the panel's hands were tied in this situation. Based on Turcotte's track record of good behaviour while out on day passes and the sentence he received, he was due for parole and he was granted it.

The real question is why someone convicted of murdering two young children can be out of prison in less than four years.

His ex-wife Isabelle Gaston, who separated from Turcotte before the fatal attack on their children, is justifiably concerned.

She believes Turcotte, a former cardiologist, said and did anything he had to in order to be granted parole. A psychiatrist testified at trial that Turcotte suffered adaptation disorder and, suffering from the break-up, didn't know what he was doing.

She said nothing can stop him if he comes after her and her new husband.

Gaston told the Gazette:

I've lost faith in the justice system. The message (this decision sends) is you can kill your wife because you're sad or your kids because you're upset and get away with it by saying you weren't all there.

In granting early parole, did the justice system release Turcotte from his cage only to place Gaston in one of her own?

The question still remains whether Turcotte has been reformed and poses no threat to Gaston or the public. Only a lifetime of passivity can satisfy that concern. Until then, Gaston will always see the need to look over her shoulder.

And the public will see the price of two young lives set at four years separated from society.

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