A man with a history of violent attacks on women in Halifax has been granted a series of temporary escorted releases from prison to help him prepare for the possibility he will eventually be paroled.
Antonio Edward Lavoie is serving a life sentence for second-degree murder. Lavoie bludgeoned Sharon Ann Hatch to death in 2004. Her body was found in woods west of Halifax nearly two weeks after she disappeared. He pleaded guilty in 2008.
Lavoie's criminal history dates back to 1978 and includes convictions for robbery, theft and aggravated assault.
In 1990, he attacked Nancy Brace on a Halifax street. He dragged her into a driveway, punched her in the face and slammed her head into a wall. Her screams alerted passersby who came to her rescue. She has been tracking his efforts to get out of prison ever since.
"He's a monster," Brace said in 2019 when Lavoie made a bid for early parole.
This week, Brace said she was "pissed off" to learn the Parole Board of Canada has granted Lavoie a series of escorted temporary absences (ETAs) from prison.
In a decision last week, the board approved 76 such absences for Lavoie, most lasting a few hours. They're for things like attending meetings of Narcotics Anonymous, attending church, opening a bank account, meeting with family members and going to the gravesite of a dead relative.
The board said the ETAs are for administrative reasons, personal development for rehabilitation and family contact.
The board noted that while Lavoie's conduct in custody was problematic early in his prison term, his behaviour has improved considerably in recent years.
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