Bus killer's conditional release revoked, but sentence almost done

Bus killer back behind bars

The man who fatally stabbed a random person on a Kelowna city bus six years ago is back behind bars, after his statutory release was revoked on two separate occasions in the past year. But in two months, he'll have completed his jail sentence.

On the evening of Oct. 30, 2014, while riding on the No. 8 Kelowna bus near the Dilworth Shopping Centre, 24-year-old Tyler Jack Newton approached 55-year Caesar Rosales from behind and stabbed him in the neck. Rosales died at the scene.

The killing was completely unprovoked and Newton and Rosales had never met prior to the killing.

While Newton was charged with second-degree murder, he took a plea deal with the Crown and pleaded guilty to the lesser of charge of manslaughter in June 2016. He was sentenced to seven years in prison, with 903 days of enhanced credit for time served.

Following sentencing, Rosales' brother Darwin, who travelled from the Philippines for the hearing, said the Canadian justice system let down his entire family. Member of Parliament Dan Albas called the sentence “a slap in the face.”

While his prior criminal history was described as "appalling," and his previous community supervision history “abysmal,” Newton was granted statutory release in June 2019, and moved to a rooming house that was operated by his ex-girlfriend and her mother, presumably in the Okanagan. 

Statutory release is a type of conditional release where offenders are supervised in the community, and it's generally granted to offenders who've completed two-thirds of their sentence. 

Newton tested positive for methamphetamine just two days after he was released from custody and his release was revoked.

He has been using hard drugs since he was 15, and he was in a state of drug-induced psychosis on the night of Rosales' killing, after a long period of heavy drug use. The Parole Board says he has been “connected to the drug subculture" while incarcerated and he's recently told his parole officer he's “not interested in treatment” for his drug use.

This past June, he was once again granted statutory release, and within the first two weeks, he had been put on house arrest three times for not following the sign in/out procedures at the halfway-house. Then, on July 15, he tested positive for methamphetamine once more, and he was sent back to jail.

Last month, the Parole Board officially revoked Newton's statutory release and imposed a series of conditions on his next release, including mandatory residence at a residential facility like a halfway house. Offenders whose statutory release is revoked will be eligible for another release after serving two-thirds of their remaining time. But with Newton's sentence set to expire in two months, he'll be out of custody, with no conditions, by early January 2021. 

The Parole Board has found Newton to be “unwilling and unmotivated to ... engage in interventions to reduce and/or manage [his] risk to reoffend." During his incarceration, the Parole Board says he was found with a homemade weapon, threatened staff and got in a fight with another inmate.

“You are currently assessed as having low accountability, motivation, and reintegration potential, and are not engaged in your correctional plan,” the Parole Board said in its most recent decision, adding that he “presents an undue risk to society.”

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