The top law enforcement officer in the Canadian province where William Shrubsall committed his most violent sexual crimes blasted Shrubsall's recent release from a Canadian prison and will raise his concerns with that country's public safety minister.
The comments from Nova Scotia Justice Minister Mark Furey are the latest criticism of the Parole Board of Canada's decision to grant parole on condition the Niagara Falls killer serve a pending prison sentence in the U.S.
In recent weeks, prosecutors on both sides of the border, police and victims have expressed outrage over the prospect that Shrubsall one day will walk out of a New York prison a free man.
"He's dangerous. Canada thinks he's dangerous," said Niagara County Sheriff James Voutour, whose deputies transported Shrubsall to this country. "I think he's a huge risk to reoffend."
Shrubsall, for now, remains in Wende Correctional Facility in Alden as he awaits a permanent prison assignment and a trial on a bail-jumping charge from 1996.
Shrubsall already was infamous for fatally beating his mother with a baseball bat as a teenager in 1988. He was charged with sexual abuse in a 1995 incident and was nearing the end of that trial one year later when he left a suicide note and disappeared.
Shrubsall was discovered in 1998 in Halifax, where he had lived under a false identity. He was charged with three brutal attacks on women and, in 2001, imprisoned indefinitely as a dangerous offender.
The Parole Board of Canada denied parole several times before shifting course in November. The board said it was skeptical of Shrubsall's claim of remorse and would not have released Shrubsall except further prison time awaits him in this country.
Shrubsall's deportation and transfer to Niagara County took place on Jan. 21, when Niagara County sheriff's deputies crossed the Rainbow Bridge to Niagara Falls, Ont., to take custody of Shrubsall and bring him to the Niagara County Jail, Voutour said. Shrubsall, now 47, was arraigned in State Supreme Court on the bail-jumping charge.
Shrubsall, who legally changed his name in prison to Ethan MacLeod, will start serving his sentence of 2 1/3 years to seven years in prison on the sex-abuse conviction. He faces another 2 1/3 to seven years in prison if convicted of bail jumping. His next court hearing is in March and the trial is set to start in June.
Sheriff's deputies took Shrubsall to Wende last week after an uneventful, eight-day stay in the County Jail, the sheriff said. He wasn't placed in the general jail population because his stay was expected to be brief, Voutour said.
The sheriff also questioned the Parole Board's decision.
Niagara County District Attorney Caroline A. Wojtaszek said she wants the State Attorney General's Office to consider pursuing civil confinement for Shrubsall after he finishes his prison time. The Attorney General's Office declined to comment.
Furey, the Nova Scotia justice minister, said last week that he would send a letter to federal Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale about his objections to Shrubsall's release.
"Let's recognize that the crimes that were committed were horrendous," Furey told reporters in Halifax. "This individual was determined to be a dangerous offender and dangerous offenders typically aren't released from custody."
T.C., who spoke on condition she be identified by her initials, dated Shrubsall during his time in Halifax and said she was stalked by him after she ended their relationship. She said she's disturbed that Shrubsall will have a chance to hurt other women after he finishes his prison time here.
Asked her reaction to seeing Shrubsall escorted into court as he wore shackles and an orange jail jumpsuit, T.C. said, "He looks like he's one step closer to freedom, and that's just wrong."