Melissa Kentner, the sister of Barbara Kentner who was hit by a trailer hitch thrown from a passing car, says she was shocked to learn that the man who threw it was out of prison on day parole.
“Eight years isn’t anything these days I guess,” she told APTN News, “he gets to walk the streets like nothing happened.” Melissa Kentner was walking with her sister on the night she was hit.
Bushby was two years into an eight-year sentence for throwing the hitch at Kentner and causing her death.
In an Aug. 10 ruling, the Parole Board of Canada, a federal agency tasked with reviewing whether people who have received a prison sentence should be released into the community, outlined the case.
On Jan. 29, 2017, at 1 a.m., Bushby was in the front seat of a car in Thunder Bay, Ont. According to the report, he had been drinking heavily. The report said that he hoisted himself up into an open window of the car, hung himself outside and “threw the hitch at the victim and her sister who were walking along the side of the road.”
The hitch hit Kentner in the stomach “causing her to drop to her knees in pain,” the report outlined. It ruptured Kentner’s small bowel. She spent months in hospital and died on July 4, 2017.
Bushby was charged with first-degree murder. The charge was later changed to manslaughter.
Bushby had originally applied for day parole but was denied by the board. He can reapply after six months.
According to the board report, he abandoned an appeal on his sentence.
“In summary, having considered both the aggravating and mitigating factors related to your risk of reoffending, it’s the Board’s opinion that your release on day parole to [withheld] would not present an undue risk to society and that this release will contribute to the protection of society by facilitating your reintegration as a law-abiding citizen,” said the 10-page report.
The board, made up of two members, placed a number of restrictions on Bushby including that he must report to police on a daily basis, spend evenings at a “community residential facility,” refrain from consuming alcohol and not have any contact with the family.
“The family and the community will continue to mourn and struggle with the senseless nature of the offence. However, the lack of prior criminal history coupled with your four years under pretrial release leads the Board to conclude that your criminal and conditional release history mitigates your risk of reoffending,” said the board.
Melissa Kentner sees it differently.
“Today it felt like I got slapped in the face,” she said.
This is the only conviction on Bushby’s record.