Relief. It is the one word the family of the woman who was killed by her common-law husband breathed out when learning that he was denied an escorted day-pass from jail.
“This is the best news I could hear,” said Donna Irwin, sister to Lynn Kalmring who was killed in her Penticton home in 2011. “It has been weighing on all of us. Every night I would go to bed saying, ‘please don’t let him out.’”
Keith Wiens was convicted of the second-degree murder his common-law wife Kalmring in 2013. He was found guilty by a jury of shooting her in the face with a handgun at close range. Wiens received an automatic life sentence and will have to serve at least 13 years in prison before he can apply for parole.
Kalmring’s family found out earlier this month from Correctional Service Canada that Wiens was applying to the Parole Board of Canada to be considered for an escorted temporary absence for compassionate purposes. Inmates can apply for an escorted temporary absence at any time during their sentence. The family of Kalmring said Wiens was applying to get out of jail to visit one of his family members in Penticton who was sick.
“I was told that the warden basically said what kind of message would it be to the public if we allowed him back into the community. Not only that it would revictimize the family,” Irwin told the Western News shortly after finding out the wardens decision.
Kalmring’s family has been fighting to get more rights for victims of violent crimes and their families since Wiens was arrested and subsequently released on bail prior to his conviction.
“This is another win for the victims, another win for us,” said Irwin of the outcome. “We can’t stop, we can’t let the pressure up. The public has to be aware and everyone needs to be involved and have a voice so victims’ and their families have better rights.”
Wiens has applied to appeal the second-degree murder charge. That matter is expected back in court early in the new year.