Warning: This story contains graphic details of crime which may be disturbing to some readers.
The man who raped and murdered Maple Ridge mother Colleen Findlay 20 years ago has been granted day parole.
Dr. Jim Findlay said he and his family oppose the release of Jeremy Wade Vojkovic, noting the Parole Board of Canada has called him at least a medium risk to re-offend.
“The feeling is that he’s absolved of his crime, and that is repugnant to us,” said Findlay.
The family members live locally, and Findlay said the saving grace is that Vojkovic, now 35, will not be allowed to visit the Lower Mainland. However, Findlay said he worries that other families could be victims.
Vojkovic was sentenced to life in prison in March of 2004 for first degree murder. He was 15 in November of 2002 when he entered a barn on the property owned by the victim and her husband, who is a Maple Ridge dentist.
Vojkovic was startled by the woman, and choked her unconscious. He used duct tape to restrain her, sexually assaulted her, then took her to the house. He cut the woman’s throat with a knife, poured gas over her and around the house, then lit a fire. The cause of Colleen Findlay’s death was smoke inhalation.
Vojkovic drove away in the victim’s car, then spent the afternoon driving and meeting friends. They smoked stolen cigars and marijuana, and Vojkovic bought beer for his friends. Police located the murdered woman’s vehicle, and arrested him.
He was a young offender, but was tried in adult court. The sentencing judge noted he had not demonstrated significant remorse, that the offence was deliberate with extreme violence, and suggested a likelihood of sadistic sexual arousal. Vojkovic was on bail when he committed the murder.
The report notes Vojkovic had an unstable upbringing, was in the foster care system, and witnessed and experienced abuse.
“The board has considered your unique circumstances as an Indigenous man. You are Metis through the maternal line,” said the report. “You have family who attended residential school where they suffered abuse, the board is aware of the inter-generational impact of residential school on survivors and their children. The board acknowledges the linkage between your developmental years and your engagement in substance abuse and the criminal justice system.”
Psychological risk assessments over the years have rated his risk of re-offending as extremely high in 2003, high in 2004 and moderate in 2014 and 2019.
While in prison there have been incidents of violence, drinking hand sanitizer, leaving minimum security institutions without authorization, questionable associations, and allegations of moving contraband around the institution, notes the Parole Board report.
“You have been part of the subculture, and likely developed some entrenched criminal views, exemplified by the con-code you adhered to for many years. It will be a challenge to recreate new community-based values given the length of time you spent in jail and your level of institutionalization,” said the report.
Jim Findlay read a statement to the parole board in June. It was critical of Corrections Canada for not supporting victims.
“My wife Colleen was a kind and fine woman, wife and mother, daughter and beloved friend of many when she was murdered one month after her 39th birthday,” said Findlay. “Jeremy Vojkovic is 35. He looks forward to his whole rest of his life at age 35. The person he killed was not much older than he is now. The life he casually tortured and murdered was his age. The life he looks forward to was exactly the forward outlook of Colleen. Is he still considered to be young? Or youngish? Was the life he ended youngish?
“Parole Board members, never lose sight of the nauseating and horrific hurt he put on my wife before he left her do die in terrifying misery. When Jeremy Vojkovic has lived the length of life ahead that my wife should have deserved, then he will have yet to pay a sufficient price.”
Vojkovic has had escorted absences, including one in September of 2021 to visit his mother’s grave, to his father’s home, and to a spirit bath with an elder.
His goal, upon his release, is to work in the construction industry.
The report said of Vojkovic “You are focused on the future, and that future includes continuing with your Indigenous practices and ceremonies.”
It noted he will be sensitive to the concerns of the victim’s family, and not settle near them.
It also noted he has completed programming, has done well, and has not had a violent incident since 2012.
The terms and conditions of the day parole include:
• A term of six months.
• No overnight leave.
• No association with people involved in criminal activity or substance abuse.
• No illicit drugs or alcohol use.
• Immediately report all intimate, sexual or not, relationships with females to a parole supervisor.
• Follow treatment plan to address areas of sexual deviancy, violence, coping skills, substance abuse and poor problem solving skills.
• No contact with the victim’s family.
• Not to go to the Lower Mainland without written approval.
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