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Killer's appeal of decision to revoke day parole rejected

Garrett Steven George serving an 11-year sentence for the death of Destiny Rae Tom
Destiny Rae Tom
Destiny Rae Tom

A man serving a sentence for the manslaughter death of his common-law spouse has failed to convince the Parole Board of Canada to overturn a decision to revoke his day parole after he got into a conflict with a roommate at a halfway house.

Garrett Steven George, 34, is serving an 11-year term for the March 2013 death of Destiny Rae Tom. 

In July 2022, a parole board member revoked George's day parole after finding he turned on the roommate when they touched shoulders. With a kick, George sent the adversary down a set of stairs and followed up with a punches and kicks, including a kick that appeared to have been aimed at the victim's head.

George claimed that he was acting in self-defence but a video of the incident showed no indication of a weapon.

"To describe yourself as the 'victim' in such a set of circumstances indicates that you do no accept responsibility," the member said in the original decision.

George appealed the outcome, claiming that the member did not review the video first-hand and instead relied on hearsay from a parole officer.

However, in a decision issued Feb. 6, a two-person parole board appeals division panel disagreed, finding that their review of the video showed that what occurred was consistent with the original written reasons.

The appeals division panel found the original decision to revoke George's day parole was reasonable, particularly given his history of failed releases.

In April 2021, his day parole was suspended when his halfway house withdrew support over concern about a "threatening presentation" to a female staff member and staff's discomfort about dealing with him when he disagreed with a "rule or or felt entitled to an exception."

In November 2021, George was brought back into custody after he reported to his parole officer that he got into a disagreement with his girlfriend that had turned physical when he grabbed her phone from her. The girlfriend decided not to pursue charges.

George's case management team recommended his day parole be revoked, saying the incident "demonstrated highly reactive and aggressive behaviour," on his part.

However, the two-member panel decided in January 2022 to allow George to be released once more on day parole.

In November 2016, George was sentenced to 11 years for Tom's death on the Nadleh reserve, about 140 kilometres west of Prince George. Less time served prior to sentencing, he had a further eight years and four months remaining in the term at the time.