A Neguac man who murdered two teenagers and left another for dead in two small communities near Miramichi 34 years ago has been permitted to continue his day parole for another six months.
The decision by the Parole Board of Canada comes four months after Kenneth Esson, now 56, was denied full parole and had his day parole revoked after they said he had an "unrealistic belief" that he had no risk of reoffending.
Esson has been serving a life sentence for first and second degree murder, attempted murder and sexual assault since March 3,1987 and his parole eligibility was set at 25 years.
"In coming to a decision to continue your day parole, the Board remains ever mindful of the nature and gravity of your offences. You are responsible for the violent and brutal murder, sexual assault and attack on two young girls and your ex-partner," the two board members wrote in the September decision.
Esson pleaded guilty to murdering 13-year-old Tara Prokosh and 19-year Theresa McLaughlin and the attempted murder of 14-year-old Gina Guitard.
Prokosh and Guitard were attacked by Esson on Aug. 11, 1986 after he followed them as the two were out biking on a dirt road in Lower Newcastle, N.B.
He forced them to strip, raped the older girl and stabbed them repeatedly. Prokosh died but Guitard survived and was found the next morning by her family who had spent the night searching for the two girls.
While RCMP searched for the person responsible for the attack, they released a police sketch. Esson took pains to alter his looks by growing a mustache and getting a perm in his hair.
Victim known to him
Six weeks after the attack on the young teenagers, Esson, who was in the process of separating from his wife, called McLaughlin, who also lived in Neguac, and the two met, drank together and had consensual sex. The two then argued over the identity of the father of McLaughlin's infant son and Esson choked her until she was unconscious. He then drove to a gravel pit where she regained consciousness and continued to argue. Esson then pushed her out of his vehicle, she lost consciousness and he hit her in the head with two large rocks, killing her.
Esson fled the province but returned and was arrested after a witness said he had been with McLaughlin. He was then linked to the first attack through descriptions of his vehicle.
The parole board decision, released from the Pacific Region which covers British Columbia, says Esson was denied full parole in Jan. 2018 but granted day parole for three months.
The day parole was continued and reviewed without issues until it was revoked in May 2020 when Esson was seeking full parole again.
At that time the board said they felt Esson's "lack of insight" into several issues including the sexual component of his reoffending, his lack of transparency with his case management team regarding a relationship and discontinuing his sex drive reducing medication found his "risk in the community was undue."
Based on a psychiatric risk assessment requested by the parole board, it was noted by a psychiatrist that taking the medication was critical for Esson to manage his risk in the community.
Esson's day parole was reinstated a month later with a change in the conditions and he was given a written reprimand. The decision states Esson "gained further insight and appreciation for the need to be open and attentive to the details" of his risk management.
As part of his condition to be allowed out on day parole again, Esson has to take his sex drive reducing medication.
'Shock, horror, pain'
CBC News has learned Esson is living in a halfway house in Victoria, B.C., works full time and has weekend passes to stay in a basement suite he maintains.
In the decision the parole board tells Esson they "remain ever mindful of the nature and gravity of his offences."
"The extreme seriousness of your offences, and the significance of the harm you have caused can not be understated. The long standing harm and impact on the victim and surviving family members is always front of mind."
The parole board said the victim impact statements which describe the "shock, horror, pain, overwhelming grief and trauma your actions caused" show his violent actions still have a "profound effect on the surviving family members, and will likely continue to do so for the foreseeable future."