Family of woman killed by former Penticton cop shocked by freedoms granted | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Family of woman killed by former Penticton cop shocked by freedoms granted

Lynn Kalmring
Image Credit: Contributed/

Learning her sister’s killer was being granted escorted temporary absences just six years into his life sentence hit Donna Irwin like a ton of bricks.

“It’s just ridiculous,” Irwin said. “I am outraged. He’s a high-risk offender against women, and he gets out 40 hours a month to breathe fresh air?"

Keith Wiens fatally shot Irwin’s sister Lynn Kalmring in 2011 and falsely claimed self-defence. 

READ MORE: Full coverage of Keith Wien's murder trial

Now, according to parole documents released Oct. 24, he will be able to leave prison for up to 40 hours a month — eight hours at a time —  for community service.

The parole board said the time allotted would allow Wiens to volunteer in the community at a non-profit organization, and enable him to give back to the community.

In theory, he will be further rehabilitated by "reinforcing pro-social behaviours and attitudes" the parole board said, and will be able to work to earn trust and demonstrate credibility.

The retired Penticton Mountie serving a life sentence for the second-degree murder of Kalmring, who was his common-law spouse, was convicted in 2013 and has failed in an attempt to appeal. He then went on to engage her family in a civil lawsuit, to keep them from getting proceeds of properties he owned with Kalmring. In the end, he was awarded half the value. 

Between the murder, the trial, the civil suit, and the lost appeal, Wiens has never really been far from the family’s day to day life. He’s not just someone they can leave in the past because he keeps making his presence known.

“You get this scab and it just starts healing and he rips it up and it starts all over again,” said Irwin, explaining that each of Kalmring’s loved ones carries the burden in a different and damaging way.

“He destroyed our family and he gloats about it, I know he is. Every time he gets a parole meeting and we have to write letters, he gloats.”

She thinks the system is currently stacked in his favour. In addition to 40 hours of escorted absences, Wiens was also transferred to a minimum-security prison, from maximum security, just three years into a life sentence. When he wanted to leave the facility he was in to be in another closer to his family, the prison system made that happen.

When he wants to leave for a specialized medical problem, she said, he gets it, while her family is expected to pick up the pieces on their own dime, having long since run out of the Victims Services support allotted to them.

“It’s ridiculous,” she said. “We need to do something about our legal system because it’s not just us — there are thousands of us in Canada who are dealing with this kind of thing.”

She’s not going to wallow, and said Wiens messed with the wrong family.

“I will be there in front of the parole board when this animal wants to get out,” she said. “I am never going to give up for my sister.”

And she hopes others will join their family’s effort and write letters to the parole board to make sure that the impact he made is made clear to the powers that be.

“We need to raise more awareness,” she said.

Irwin said to call the Parole Board and the federal ombudsman for victims of crime at the department of justice to voice any concerns about Wiens.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Kathy Michaels or call 250-718-0428 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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