Former Hells Angels hitman freed on parole after 20 years in prison for murder
After serving 20 years for murder, a Hells Angels hitman was granted day parole for six months with conditions, but the Parole Board of Canada notes “there is still work to be done “.
The parole board released its decision on Friday in the case of Dean Daniel Kelsie, 47.
Kelsie will be sent to live in a community residential facility, or halfway house, in an undisclosed location as soon as a space becomes available.
Kelsie shot Sean Simmons in the lobby of a building north of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia on October 3, 2000. Kelsie was one of four men involved in the murder.
“The Commission has not lost sight of your infringement, which had tragic and irreversible consequences – not only for the victim who was killed – but also for the family members left behind,” said the Commission.
“Their grief and anger remains evident and they will continue to suffer because of your actions.”
The original conviction quashed
Simmons’ family opposed any form of release. They said in their comments to the board that they didn’t think Kelsie was ready.
Kelsie has been serving a life sentence for murder since March 2003. He has been in prison since his arrest in 2001.
Two other men, Neil William Smith and Wayne Alexander James, are serving life sentences for their role in the murder of Simmons. A fourth man, Steven Gareau, was released in 2018 after a judge terminated the charges against him.
Simmons was killed by order of a Hells Angel because he allegedly had an affair with a gang member’s wife.
Originally convicted of conspiracy to commit murder and first degree murder, Kelsie’s sentence was increased in 2008 and again in 2015 for assaulting other inmates, and was ultimately overturned on appeal.
Crown attorneys took the case to the Supreme Court of Canada in an attempt to restore that conviction. The Supreme Court refused and, with the consent of the lawyers, substituted a conviction for second degree murder.
As a result, Kelsie’s day and full parole eligibility dates have been revised, making him eligible for full parole.
parole since July 2019.
He was first denied parole last February.
Board says “significant progress” has been made
The board noted that Kelsie had apologized for her actions and that while remorse is not necessarily related to risk, “it demonstrates a shift in your attitude and an understanding of the consequences your actions have caused.” .
In a progress report on mental health in January, the psychologist said that despite the ups and downs of Kelsie’s grief, he still maintained a desire to behave and work on himself.
“You have made significant personal progress. Despite small setbacks, you have never lost sight of your goals and your desire to take back control of your life,” the board said.
As Keslie is released from a medium security facility after two decades of incarceration, the council said he would need time to adjust. During the first three months of her parole, Kelsie must return to her halfway house every evening.
Moderate risk of recurrence in the short term
Kelsie is also subject to special conditions designed to ensure her safety and that of the community, as they are directly related to her personal risk factors.
These include not consuming drugs or alcohol, pursuing psychological counseling because “there is still work to be done”, not associating with a person involved in criminal activity and ” have no contact with any member of the victim’s family.
Overall, Kelsie is at moderate / high risk for medium- to long-term violent recidivism, but her psychologist has stated that he is actually more at moderate risk in the short-term when on probation, such as the semi-liberty.
Kelsie’s level of responsibility and motivation is rated high, while her reintegration potential is moderate.
His time in prison was marked by conflict and violence. He has 20 disciplinary offenses, including fights, threats and drug tests. But he has not been involved in any violent incidents since August 2019.
On other occasions, he has engaged in misconduct such as substance use and disrespect. The most recent incident occurred in May when Kelsie acted inappropriately and used “foul language” towards correctional officers following a search.
In order to make its decision, the board said it looked at Kelsie’s case, her risk factors, her Indigenous Social History (ISH), and written submissions from Kelsie and Simmons’ family.
Kelsie’s “grandmother is Métis” and her maternal grandfather is Mi’kmaq, the board said, but Kelsie was largely “not exposed to her Métis culture,” her spirituality and her tongue. He never participated in any ceremony, except during his incarceration.
No one in his family went to boarding school, but they are suffering from drug addiction,
gambling and some of them died of drug addiction. There was also sexual abuse in the family, the board said.
He participated in the Pathways in Prison initiative, which encourages a traditional Indigenous way of life through counseling, ceremonies and skills like drumming.