A man convicted of second-degree murder in the shooting death of his brother near Prince George 15 1/2 years ago has been granted day parole.
Leland Vincent Switzer, 52, sentenced in December 2005 to life in prison without eligibility for parole for 10 years for the June 2002 incident, has made progress while in prison according to a Parole Board of Canada panel decision.
From initially claiming he committed the act in self defence, Switzer now accepts full responsibility for the death and is now considered a low-to-moderate risk to re-offend.
Irvine Luke Switzer's body was found in the driveway of his parent's Melonie Road home with a trail of blood leading to a nearby workshop.
The two had a history of fighting and threatening each other, the panel noted in reviewing the crime, and although the primary suspect, police were unable to gather enough evidence to charge Switzer.
But in September 2004, Switzer went on a intoxicated tear, firing a shot inside his parents' home and then firing off several more rounds outside. He also threatened police, saying he wanted to shoot two officers in particular. When police arrived, he fled, ramming an RCMP vehicle several times and nearly running over an officer.
Following the arrest, police learned Switzer told his parents local drug dealers had ordered him to kill his brother because he had ripped them off and that his sister was the next person to be shot.
And when speaking to police, Switzer said his brother had provoked him into killing him and described the act as a "mercy killing," claiming police had infected his brother with a life-threatening disease.
In a 2006 intake assessment, a psychologist described Switzer in part as volatile, impulsive, callous and manipulative and as having a high risk to re-offend. By 2011, he was no longer showing signs of a mental disorder.
By 2014, he had completed Grade 12, was serving his time in a minimum security institution and was taken escorted temporary absences to attend religious services and Narcotics Anonymous meetings.
"You have replaced drugs with your spiritual journey and instead of turning to drugs, you now turn to the teachings of the Bible," the panel said.
Switzer has been a suspect in one of the Highway of Tears cases, the disappearance of Nicole Hoar in June 2002 - the same month his brother was murdered.
The 25-year-old treeplanter from Red Deer, Alberta was hitchhiking to Smithers to visit her sister when she was last seen near a service station on Highway 16 west of Prince George.
According to a 2014 parole board report, Switzer claimed he passed a polygraph test in relation to the case.
Switzer will live in a halfway house for at least the next six months. Conditions of his day parole include abstaining from drugs and alcohol, staying away from people involved in criminal activity and having no contact with his family without a parole supervisor's written approval.