N.S. man convicted of killing cab driver in 2005 granted day parole
A Nova Scotia man who has spent his entire adult life in prison has been granted day parole.
Garmin Davison Smith was convicted of second-degree murder for stabbing taxi driver Kenneth Purcell to death on Christmas Day in 2005.
Smith was only 17 when he killed Purcell in Dartmouth, N.S., but the judge sentenced him as an adult because he didn't think a youth sentence would provide enough time for rehabilitation.
In its decision earlier this month to grant day parole, the Parole Board of Canada said that Smith has come a long way from his early, dangerous behaviour.
Smith has past convictions for aggravated assault, assault with a weapon, common assault, weapons offences and uttering threats.
All those offences stem from when Smith was a youth.
History of violence
Smith was out on bail when he attacked Purcell and had only been in the community for about three weeks. One of Smith's prior convictions was for stabbing another cab driver, but that man survived.
The board found that Smith had a strict religious upbringing and he resented restrictions his parents placed on him.
Smith became increasingly angry and aggressive toward his mother and stepfather. Smith's parents had pulled him from public school to protect him from what they considered to be negative influences.
The board said in its report that Smith threatened to stab his stepfather at one point if he was not allowed to live with a close family member.
Smith was allowed to move, but it only lasted two months before he was placed in foster care because of his ongoing drug use.
Smith began using drugs at age 12 and was trafficking by age 14. Previous requests for day and full parole have been denied, but he has successfully completed escorted and unescorted passes from prison.
Purcell's partner had objected to Smith's prior bids for freedom, but she submitted a letter to the parole board that commended Smith on the positive changes in his life. She withdrew her objections to his parole.
Smith's day parole comes with restrictions, including that he abstain from drugs and alcohol, stay away from known criminals and have no contact with Purcell's family.
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