Allan Schoenborn, the B.C. man who murdered his three children in a Merritt trailer home, said he won’t try to escape if he gets permission to go on escorted day trips away from the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital in Port Coquitlam, B.C.
Flanked by his lawyer and his anger management therapist, Allan Schoenborn testified at length about his ability to control his anger, what programs in which he’s participated at the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital and the chances of him escaping if he is granted leave.
In response to questions from Crown counsel Wendy Dawson, Schoenborn acknowledged that he was a violent person and that he has used aggression to deal with stress and while drinking. Schoenborn confirmed he had assaulted his ex-wife, Darcie Clarke, as well as his brother, but many of the violent incidents that have occurred at the hospital he attributed to somebody else provoking him.
He was also asked to explain an incident that took place shortly before the murders in April 2008, when he apparently threatened a 10-year-old girl in a school yard.
“She was making my daughter in tears,” Schoenborn. “I didn’t make threats, I berated her. I said, ‘Stay away from my little girl or I’m coming after you.'”
Much of Dawson’s questions focused on the 49 aggressive and violent incidents Schoenborn has been engaged in over the past five years while in custody and how he handled them, as well as his perceived lack of commitment to participating in his recovery through various programs and writing in his journal.
But she was repeatedly interrupted by Schoenborn’s lawyer, Scott Hicks, who objected to the questions as “vague” and “irrelevant” in exchanges that grew increasingly tense.
“I’m trying to get Mr. Schoenborn to give us his interpretation of the events,” said an exasperated Dawson at one point, adding later that her questions were indeed relevant because they spoke to whether Schoenborn is committed to his rehabilitation or simply biding his time until he can be released — and what kind of danger he might pose to the community if he is.
Dawson concluded after several more objections to questions regarding Schoenborn’s history of escapes from custody and whether the board could trust his promises to comply with any rules of his temporary absences.
Schoenborn later promised that he had no intention of escaping because he didn’t want to live on the streets. He also said that if recognized in the community or provoked by somebody calling him a “child killer” or accosting him, Schoenborn stated, “I would turn and ask the staff, ‘Let’s get out of here.’
“I don’t think I would fight,” he added. “I know I wouldn’t. It hasn’t been put to the test but it’s been drilled into me.”
Outside the hospital, Stacy Galt, Clarke’s cousin, said she doesn’t believe Schoenborn is ready to leave and questioned why he needs his anger management therapist beside him while testifying.
“They want to make him better but they don’t understand how scared we are of him,” Galt said. “It’s awful to hear him speak when the children don’t have a voice. Kaitlynne, Max, Cordon, they’ve been silenced and now the child killer gets a voice.”
The Review Board could render its decision as early as Friday. It will be up to B.C.’s Criminal Justice Branch to pursue the high-risk offender designation, part of the federal Conservatives’ new tough-on-crime legislation, which would make Schoenborn eligible to apply for passes from the hospital every three years instead of annually.