After 19 years in jail for a crime he claims he did not commit, Landon Karas has been granted a chance at early release.
On Thursday, jurors hearing Karas’s “faint hope” application unanimously agreed the convicted killer should not have to wait until 2027 to become eligible to apply for parole. Karas, 40, has been in custody since October 2002, when he was arrested for the first-degree murder of Bonnyville businesswoman Doreen Bradley.
Karas was convicted largely on circumstantial DNA evidence and maintains he is not the killer.
Ashton Karas, one of Landon’s three younger brothers, said the family is thrilled at the news.
“We want this nightmare to be over, but there’s so much joy in being able to know there was people who believed in him,” he said.
The jury reached its decision around 1 p.m. Thursday after less than four hours of deliberation. They have since returned to the jury room to mull how long Karas should stay in prison before being allowed to apply.
Before the hearing, Karas became eligible for day parole in 2024 and full parole in 2025. First-degree murder convictions carry a mandatory life sentence with no chance of parole for 25 years.
Whether Karas is released is up to the Parole Board of Canada. There is no guarantee a person serving a life sentence will ever be freed from prison.
More to come.