Man who stabbed cab driver to death on Christmas morning denied day parole

A former Dartmouth, N.S., man who as teenager stabbed a taxi driver to death on Christmas morning 14 years ago has been denied day parole.

Garmen Davison Smith was just shy of his 18th birthday when he killed Kenneth James Purcell, 62, on a Dartmouth street during a dispute over his fare.

Despite his young age, he was sentenced as an adult, which meant his name could be made public. He received a life sentence with the requirement he serve at least seven years before he could apply for parole.

Smith has spent his entire adult life in prison with the exception of brief, unescorted passes.

While he has shown some progress, in a decision released Wednesday the Parole Board of Canada found Smith remains an unacceptably high risk to reoffend violently and ordered he spend more time behind bars.

Smith has a history of violent crime, including aggravated assault, assault with a weapon and uttering death threats. In 2010, he was briefly placed in segregation in prison because his behaviour had deteriorated.

In 2017, the board found, Smith was transferred to a higher security prison because he was threatening other inmates. As is usual in parole board decisions, information that would reveal where Smith has been held is redacted.

"Given your violent history and the significant time you have spent incarcerated, the Board believes that your re-integration to the community must be very gradual, incremental and closely supervised," the board wrote in its decision.

A member of Purcell's family spoke at Smith's parole hearing last Tuesday. That family member said they still suffer from Purcell's death and do not believe Smith's claims that he is a changed man.

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