Nearly 20 years later, Surrey double-murderer still a risk, parole board says

Richard Moisan, in hospital in 1993, shows how he was shot. - Evan Seal / The Leader
Richard Moisan, in hospital in 1993, shows how he was shot.
— image credit: Evan Seal / The Leader

A man serving jail time for murdering two Surrey teenagers in 1993 has been denied unescorted day trips.

John Joseph Arneil was 18 when he shot 16-year-old Chris Lussier and 15-year-old Paul McDaniel to death on Sept. 11, 1993. He also tried to kill then-17-year-old Richard Moisan, who was shot in the face but survived, a bullet forever lodged in the back of his neck.

Arneil is serving a life sentence with no chance of parole for 20 years for two convictions of second-degree murder and one of attempted murder.

A Feb. 15 decision from the Parole Board of Canada says that months before the murders, Arneil decided to kill one of the people he believed raped his girlfriend.

The day the teens were killed, Arneil confronted the group on a Surrey street, told them to stay put, drove his girlfriend home and returned with a gun.

Pattullo Bridge shooting sceneMoisan told The Leader in 1993 that Arneil drove him, Lussier and McDaniel to an area beneath the Pattullo Bridge (above). Arneil ordered Lussier out of the car, said “adios” and executed him. He then turned the gun on Moisan and McDaniel. Moisan pretended he was dead and later called 911 and identified Arneil as the shooter.

Eight years after the incident, Arneil’s girlfriend admitted she lied about the rape.

Now 37, Arneil recently requested unescorted temporary absences from jail “for personal development and family contact.”

The parole board, however, has deemed the unsupervised day trips too risky.

The decision referred to the “ongoing harm” and “long lasting negative impact” Arneil’s crime caused the victims’ families and Moisan.

The document also describes how Arneil was violent and disruptive when he was initially incarcerated, but that his behaviour improved and he was transferred to a minimum security prison in 2007.

In July 2010 the parole board allowed a 60-day unescorted absence for Arneil to attend an aboriginal substance abuse treatment program. In November of the same year, the board allowed a second visit to the same program, in spite of the fact he breached his release conditions and went to another city a month earlier. It was revealed upon his return he had also used a cellphone to contact people outside the institution, a pornographic DVD was found in his room, and he was part of a group that threatened and intimidated other inmates.

Arneil was transferred back to medium security in January 2011. He continues to deny the accusations of threats and intimidation, but was transferred back to minimum security in November 2011.

Last July, the board also denied a bid for day parole, noting, among other things, Arneil’s “inability to explain the extreme and callous level of violence” in the 1993 murders.

In the most recent denial of day trips, the parole board acknowledges Arneil has taken responsibility for his offences and has “made good progress in addressing” his risk, but that a longer period of compliance and stability is necessary.

“Change has been relatively recent,” reads the Feb. 15 parole decision, “and has been punctuated by incidents that suggest you are not managing your risk factors consistently.”

It’s noted Arneil hasn’t been accepted into a treatment program, his family contact plan doesn’t include “sufficient structure,” and a recent psychological opinion suggests he’d need “intensive supervision.”



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