Vigil for victims as Robert Pickton becomes eligible for day parole

The families and friends of women murdered by B.C. serial killer Robert Pickton are set to come together Wednesday at the Port Coquitlam property where many of the victims’ remains were found.

The families and friends of women murdered by a B.C. serial killer are set to come together Wednesday at the Port Coquitlam property where many of the victims’ remains were found.

The candlelight vigil comes one day before convicted murderer Robert Pickton becomes eligible for day parole.

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Lorelei Williams’ tells CityNews her cousin Tanya Holyk’s DNA was found at Pickton’s former pig farm.

“It’s been very difficult,” said Williams. “It’s sickening. I can’t believe it’s already coming up. I can’t believe so much time has passed. I still can’t believe that no one else has gone to jail for this, as well.”

Holding back tears and frustration, Williams admits the idea that he could potentially be released on day parole stuns her.

“I already don’t trust the justice system, and this just makes me not trust it even more because the fact that a person like this could be let out of jail, or who would apply. … I really don’t believe that he’ll be given day parole, but the fact he can apply, it’s disgusting,” she said.

“Our system isn’t a justice system at all.”

Williams thinks changes need to be made so other murderers, or those convicted of atrocious crimes, are never eligible for parole and possibly let out.

Pickton was found guilty of six counts of second-degree murder in December 2007. When the Supreme Court of Canada upheld his sentence, first-degree murder charges involving 20 other women, including Holyk, were stayed because Pickton was already serving the maximum sentence.

“That’s not justice for my family. I want justice for my family. Why can he not be charged with my cousin’s murder? Her DNA was found on that farm. There are definitely a lot of flaws, a lot of gaps in this western, white, racist, system,” said Williams. “Our Indigenous women and girls are being targeted because murderers can get away with murdering, killing our Indigenous women and girls.”

Pickton is eligible for day parole beginning Feb. 22, with eligibility for full parole beginning in 2027 – 25 years after his original arrest date on Feb. 22, 2002.

Williams says the day parole aspect of this case is leaving her and so many others feeling traumatized all over again.

“You have all these children without mothers. You have all these holidays without them. I just think about Tanya and how old she would have been today and what life would be like if she were here and if she were around.”

She says she continues to find strength to keep her cousin’s name alive.

“It’s exhausting, but for some reason, I’m able to handle these things. I’m definitely grateful for my trauma training, but what keeps me going is the fact that what I’m going through right now is nothing compared to what my cousin went through,” Williams said.

“That’s what keeps me going. I will keep doing this for Tanya. I will keep fighting for her because I can.”

Wednesday’s vigil begins at 5:30 p.m. at 953 Dominion Ave. — Pickton’s former pig farm. Williams says attendees plan to hang photos of loved ones on the fence.

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