Day parole denied again for man who strangled wife, buried body in their Calgary home

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BOWDEN, ALBERTA — A man who strangled his wife and cemented her body in a basement wall has again been denied day parole eight months before his statutory release from prison.

Allan Shyback was convicted of manslaughter and causing an indignity to a body in the 2012 death of Lisa Mitchell in their Calgary home.

He was sentenced to seven years in prison, but the Alberta Court of Appeal later increased the term to 10 years.

Shyback had his previous day parole revoked in 2019 after he failed to inform authorities of any sexual or non-sexual relationship with a woman. He had sex with a massage parlour worker and was found to have various sex toys in his room at a halfway house.

His parole officer told the Parole Board of Canada on Thursday that Shyback had been well behaved and after failing to take his bipolar medication for a month is now doing so.

But Laura Power added that his lack of honesty continues to be a concern.

"His offending was very serious in nature leading to the death of the victim. Although he does take responsibility for his offending and can identify his contributing factors, he has not proven any long-term ability to manage his risk factors," Power said.

"Our current recommendation today is to deny day parole release."

The board's chairwoman noted that Shyback had pretended his relationship with Mitchell had been a happy one before he killed her. She said he has continued to mislead the board.

"How do we determine when you're lying and when you're not?" she asked.

"Even with the medication, I'm still prone to the occasional problem," Shyback admitted.

Shyback testified at his trial that he endured years of domestic abuse from his wife and killed her in self-defence when she attacked him with a knife.

He told court that he panicked, put her body inside a plastic bin and cemented it into the wall. He told Mitchell's family that she had left and sent them fake messages from her as he continued to live in the home with their two children.

Shyback was asked what has changed for him in the past seven months since his parole was last denied.

"I'm still trying to move forward. I'm still trying to progress. All I can do at this point is try. There hasn't been a groundbreaking, earth-shattering moment that's changed everything in the last seven months," he said.

"My statutory release is in eight months. My hope would be to get out into the community on day parole and achieve statutory release through that and have the support in the halfway house in those initial eight months."

The chairwoman said that although Shyback is aware of his mental health issues at an intellectual level, he still poses too much of a risk to be allowed back into the community.

"You're not a dummy by any means. But when we put that against your actual behaviours, there are some serious concerns for the board," she said.

"You've repeatedly demonstrated to the board that you're not able to put that knowledge into consistent practice. And for those reasons, the board feels that your risk is still unmanageable or undue at this point in time and we are therefore going to deny day parole."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 19, 2021.

Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press

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