The 17-year-old who led the brutal rape and murder of Kimberly Proctor will spend eight more months in a youth facility before he’s transferred to federal prison.
B.C. Supreme Court Justice Robert Johnston ruled Wednesday that until Kruse Wellwood’s 18th birthday on Jan. 23, 2012, it’s in the teen’s best interest to remain at the youth facility where he’s enrolled in academic courses to complete Grade 11.
However, his accomplice Cameron Moffat, who turned 19 this month and has shown no interest in the youth programs offered to him, will be sent immediately to a federal prison.
The young men’s identities were released in April after they were handed adult sentences of life in prison with no chance of parole for 10 years, for the premeditated rape and murder of their 18-year-old schoolmate.
They appeared in person to their placement hearing, which despite being scheduled to last three days, concluded after an hour because the crown and defense were largely in agreement.
Legally, a prisoners may serve their sentence in a youth facility until age 20, unless otherwise ruled by a judge.
According to reports from probation officers analyzing the teens in the facility, Moffat had himself said he would prefer to go straight to adult prison, where there are more treatment options available.
The reports also stressed that because Moffat is considerably older and larger than many of the other youth in the facility, there is concern for their safety around him.
Reports also noted Wellwood had initial problems in youth custody, such as bragging about his crime amid inmates as young as 12 and assaulting another inmate in an altercation over a chair. He was also at one point in caught in possession of some ground-up medication, which he said he was trying to sell.
But more recently Wellwood has been a model inmate, socializing with others and attending classes regularly. He is rebuilding his relationship with his family, including his grandmother and his mother, who visits him weekly. He also makes twice monthly phone calls to his father, Robert Dezwaan, who is in prison serving a life sentence for rape and murder of a 16-year-old girl.
Justice Johnson said because of the contact with family, there would be an effort made to keep Wellwood in the Victoria youth detention until his transfer to federal prison, but it’s not guaranteed.
The judge dismissed a claim from the director of the Victoria youth detention centre and echoed by the executive director of all three B.C. youth facilities that because of their high-profile offense, the facilities aren’t a suitable place for them.
“The court isn’t much concerned with the convenience of those managing the youth custodial facility,” Johnston said. “They need to be ready and prepared to handle whatever comes to them.”
Johnston agreed that youth programs aren’t intended to serve inmates staying longer than three months, nor do they offer the recommended treatment options for Wellwood, who doctors called a sexual sadist with psychopathy.
The only known treatment for such disorders is a chemical castration combined with a penile plethysmograph to measure the rehabilitative effects, neither of which can be administered in youth custody.
But because of the length of the sentence, the judge suggested there is plenty of time for Wellwood to access the treatment after his transfer.
“He’s awfully young to be sent to an adult penitentiary,” the judge said, adding the additional months would “give him further time to mature and adjust to a life of incarceration.”
Some court experts said, if left untreated, both Wellwood and Moffat would likely remain at risk to reoffend well into their 40s.
Proctor family reaction
The victim’s father Fred Proctor watched the hearing solemnly, along with his sister and mother. After he said he believed the judge had made a fair decision with the options available to him, though he would have preferred a death sentence be available.
“Why waste our resources and time holding them in prison? They’re not treatable,” Proctor said. “In my mind, people like them should be culled.”
He said he was relieved to be done with court dates for a while, but when they come up for parole in 10 years he intends to be back in the courtroom fighting to keep them behind bars.
“We’ll never have complete closure,” he said. “We want people to know what they did, to be horrified knowing monsters like this exist, and we need to keep them locked up.”