The uncle of a woman shot to death 35 years ago near Cranbrook is warning the public that the killer of his niece and another girl will enjoy a taste of freedom in Abbotsford this month.
Terrence Burlingham brutally killed Denean Worms, 20, and Brenda Hughes, 16, within months of each other in 1984. While Burlingham’s original murder conviction for Worms’ death was vacated by the Supreme Court due to police misconduct, he was convicted of Hughes’ murder and has remained in prison since. (He pleaded guilty to manslaughter in Worms’ death.)
Jim Ramsay, the uncle of Worms, said he and his family were recently notified that Burlingham would be granted supervised release for three hours on four different September days. Burlingham is currently being held at Mission Institution. Ramsay said the decision to allow Burlingham out of prison is frightening, given his crimes and behaviour in prison. Ramsay said they had been told that Burlingham had attacked a case worker at one previous prison.
“It’s absolutely appalling that this two time murderer is going to be walking on the streets,” he said. “He has not been rehabilitated, which is why he has never been paroled.”
Burlingham sexually assaulted Worms and Hughes, and shot both twice with a shotgun. He was arrested soon
Ramsay said the family have been told that Burlingham will be permitted out of jail between the hours of 6:30 and 9:30 p.m. on Sept. 9, 12, 19 and 26.
Ramsay said Burlingham has attempted to apply for parole but been repeatedly turned down by the Parole Board. He said the family has been told that a decision to allow someone on limited supervised release was made by prison officials, not the parole board.
While Burlingham will be accompanied by guards, Ramsay said the family has only been told that those guards will be within “within eyesight” and “unarmed.” He said the family hasn’t been told more details about Burlingham’s escort or what he will be doing in Abbotsford.
Ramsay said he is concerned about the possibility that Burlingham could bolt and re-offend.
“Our concern is only about safety and keeping him in jail,” Ramsay said. “I think the people of Abbotsford have a right to know what’s going on.”
The News has placed a call to officials at Mission Institution but not heard back.
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