Canada’s Robert Latimer Denied Parole, No Remorse for Killing Disabled Daughter

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 6, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Canada’s Robert Latimer Denied Parole, No Remorse for Killing Disabled Daughter Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
December 6,

Ottawa, Canada ( — Robert Latimer has been denied a chance to receive day parole because he has shown no remorse for killing his disabled 13-year-old daughter. Latimer was a Saskatchewan resident who sparked a national debate on assisted suicide and euthanasia after killing Tracy in a so-called mercy killing earned him a life sentence.

As his wife and other children attended church, Latimer put Tracy into the cab of his pickup and allowed exhaust fumes to enter.

A jury found him guilty of second-degree murder in 1994 and the Canada Supreme court eventually nullified the conviction. A second guilty verdict was later upheld.

Latimer has served seven years of that sentence and he appeared with an attorney before the board of the William Head Institution, a minimum security prison on Vancouver Island where he is imprisoned.

According to a Toronto Globe and Mail news report, the three-member panel determined that Latimer has not shown enough contrition over his actions to be released from prison.

They did not come away from the meeting with the belief he would not commit another act of mercy killing.

"We were left with a feeling that you have not developed the kind of sufficient insight and understanding of your actions," Kelly-Ann Speck, who chaired the three-member panel, told Latimer.

A CTV report indicated Latimer replied with a vague "I don’t think so," when asked if he would kill another family member in a similar condition as his daughter, who could not walk or talk and was severely mentally disabled.

The board recommended to Latimer that he receive counseling and reapply for parole in two years.

According to the newspaper, Latimer continued to insist that taking his daughter’s life was the right thing to do because she faced more surgeries for her disability and a dislocated hip and would have had to endure it with minimal pain medication.

He told the board the decision to kill Tracy was not made on the spur of the movement and said he and his wife had discussed calling Jack Kevorkian, the American assisted suicide crusader, to assist them.

Laurie Beachell, of the Council of Canadians with Disabilities, told CTV that Canadians should remember that Tracy was the one killed in the incident and that Latimer could have acted differently.

"The most troubling aspect was somehow Robert Latimer seemed to be portrayed as the victim in this case and we were concerned that the real victim, Tracy, was being forgotten in this whole story," he said.

Beachell added: "If a father had murdered a non-disabled child there would have been a public outcry but because the child had a significant disability the public seemed to think that Robert Latimer was justified in what he did — we would say that’s not the case."