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War vet accused of murder dies

By Michele Young 

A decorated war veteran accused of killing his residential-care roommate died earlier this week in Kamloops.

John “Jack” Furman died on Tuesday at age 95.

The Vernon man suffered from dementia and was charged last year after his 85-year-old roommate, William May, died following an assault in August.

In November, Crown counsel stayed charges against Furman, saying prosecuting the senior wasn’t in the interest of the public.

Furman’s case hit home in Kamloops where, a month before May’s death, Jack Shippobotham died from injuries he received in an attack at a residential-care facility.

Shippobotham suffered from dementia and wandered into the room of another resident — a man with a brain injury — at Overlander Extended Care. He never recovered from his broken nose and fractured pelvis and hip. His attacker later died at Hillside Psychiatric Centre.

His family has pushed for safety and security improvements for people in residential care and Interior Health has just completed its investigation and issued recommendations for changes. Those recommendations include providing individual rooms for residents whenever possible.

May and Furman were living at Polson Extended Care beside Vernon Jubilee Hospital. Furman’s wife had predeceased him and they had no children.

Furman fought with The Devil’s Brigade, formally known as the First Special Service Force, in the Second World War and was shot twice. The bigade was an elite joint U.S.-Canada force. Furman was trained in parachuting, weapons, demolition, hand-to-hand combat, skiing and rock climbing

He was a regular at the Vernon Museum and sometimes lent his medals for displays. He received the Bronze Star from the U.S. army.

Furman lived in Vernon since 1971.

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