De Patie killer out of prison

Darnell Pratt, convicted of dragging a Maple Ridge gas station attendant to death, has been paroled to a half-way house in Victoria

Darnell Pratt

Darnell Pratt

The young man who dragged a Maple Ridge gas station attendant to his death six years ago is back out of prison, little more than year after he violated conditions of his first release.

Darnell Darcy Pratt has been given a second chance at parole and was released from a federal penitentiary on Nov. 3.

He will be paroled to a half-way house in Victoria, said Doug De Patie, whose 24-year-old son Grant was killed by Pratt in 2005.

The last time Pratt was granted statutory release, in June 2010, he violated curfew and was back in prison within 48 hours.

“He’s worse than he was when he went in,”said De Patie.

“The primary goal of sentencing is rehabilitation and where was that? The adult system has been terrible for him.”

A parole board decision released in September revealed that Pratt, now 22, will have a difficult time staying away from a life of crime.

He has racked up institutional charges while in prison for a slew of incidents, including using drugs, drinking alcohol, verbally abusing corrections staff, and assaulting another inmate.

“Your institutional behaviour has been very poor,” the board said in a decision that imposed several special conditions on Pratt’s statutory release.

“You have used drugs, incurred several institutional charges and are described as periodically uncooperative with your Case Management Team.”

Pratt was first granted statutory release in June 2010 and ordered to live in a Kamloops halfway house.

He reported to the residence and met his 8 p.m. curfew, but failed to return the next day.

A Canada-wide warrant was issued for his arrest and Kamloops RCMP found Pratt 48 hours later, walking along a Kamloops street.

The parole board heard that Pratt went to a pub twice while on the lam and was found with a powdery substance, believed to be heroin, when he was arrested.

Since his return to prison, Pratt has not participated in any correctional programs and gotten into fights that required his transfer to another medium security facility.

Following the transfer, the violence continued.

The De Patie family isn’t optimistic Pratt will follow the strict conditions imposed on him this time, either.

“I feel sorry for the community he is released in. Wherever Mr.Pratt is, trouble will follow close behind,” said De Patie. “It is just a matter of time before something terrible happens.Now it’s up to the parole board and police to actually catch him at his crimes because he has no other way to fit in or support himself. Things that he talked about before – being a counsellor, taking welding – none of those things have come to fruition.

“He is his own worst enemy.”

Pratt has been assessed as a “moderate” risk to re-offend.

He was just 16 in March 2005 when he struck Grant De Patie in a stolen car while fleeing an Esso station on Dewdney Trunk Road in Maple Ridge without paying for gas.

Pratt dragged the 24-year-old under the car for 7.5 kilometres.

While on parole, Pratt will be bound by several special conditions that include having to live in a half-way house or community correctional centre; abstaining from intoxicants; not associating with criminals and having no contact with the De Patie family.

He will also have no overnight leave privileges until he has shown stability in the community.

His sentence officially ends on 12 July 2012.

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