VOTE: Kelly Ellard was granted parole: Do you support the decision?

Convicted killer Kelly Ellard appears outside a courthouse in Vancouver, B.C., in March 2000. Photo from The Canadian Press.

Twenty years after Reena Virk was brutally murdered in Saanich, B.C., her killer is seeking an escape from a life behind bars.

Kelly Ellard, who is now 35, was granted day parole Thursday by a two-member panel. The conditional six-month day parole period is expected to begin once Ellard completes a residential treatment program for substance abuse.

After being sentenced to life in prison for second-degree murder for her actions as a 15-year-old girl, the B.C. woman sought a different answer from the panel than the one she received in 2016 when her request was rejected.

Being granted parole signifies a step closer to freedom for Ellard, who is now a mother. If allowed, she would move into a halfway house where she would be monitored and forced to follow rules set by a parole officer.

In 1997, Ellard and other teenagers were accused of beating Virk, who was only 14 at the time. Ellard and Warren Glowatski are believed to be responsible for Virk’s death after a court heard they slammed her head against a tree before drowning her in shallow water. Ellard has now served approximately 15 years in prison.

Glowatski, who was also convicted of second-degree murder, has already been released on parole.

Earlier this month, members of the Virk family attended a memorial service in Saanich, where Reena’s father, Manjit, reflected on the “horrible act.” Heartfelt tributes have been made in memory of the girl’s death.

From left, Kelly Ellard and Reena Virk. Photos from The Canadian Press.

Virk’s story gained international attention at the time of the incident and has since served as a reminder of the dangers of bullying behaviour. The deceased teenager’s father says anti-bullying campaigns that exist today are comforting, but he still has a difficult time dealing with the hardship.

Do you support the panel’s decision to grant Ellard conditional day parole? Have your say by voting in the poll.

With files from The Canadian Press