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Webster killer up for early release

Ryan Cran could get out of prison in February

MARK IT ON THE CALENDAR. Ryan Cran, the only adult convicted in Aaron Webster's fatal gaybashing, is eligible to get out of jail Feb 7, 2009. Any suggestions for his release restrictions must be sent to the National Parole Board by Dec 1. Credit: Dean Buscher photo

The only person convicted in adult court for the Nov 17, 2001 beating death of Aaron Webster will likely get out of jail this February.

Ryan Cran was convicted of manslaughter in BC Supreme Court and sentenced to six years in jail for his role in killing Webster in February 2005.

He has been in prison ever since.

Now he is eligible for statutory release on Feb 7, 2009, though he will still have to report to a parole officer until his sentence expires on Feb 7, 2011.

Webster’s cousin, Denise Norman, thinks the community should have a say in what restrictions should be placed on Cran if he is released early.

She wants him banned from Vancouver’s West End.

She’s encouraging people to write to the National Parole Board so the community’s voice is heard when it comes to what restrictions — if any — are placed on Cran.

“I was told previously that anyone can write the parole board over any concerns they have about any case,” she says.

But, Norman stresses, the submissions must be received by the parole board by Dec 1.

Little Sister’s co-owner Jim Deva plans to get his submission in on time, and is encouraging others to write as well.

“I think it would be a great idea if it was driven home what the effect of that outrageous murder was on our community,” Deva says. “I think he needs to hear from our community.”

He too thinks Cran should be barred from the West End.

“The last thing we want to see is Cran on Davie during that time,” he says.

It’s not known where Cran is currently incarcerated, but in 2006 he was moved from the minimum security Ferndale Institution in Mission to the medium security Matsqui Institution in Abbotsford after a jailhouse incident in which he was involved.

He was one of three people convicted in Webster’s killing. Two youths also pleaded guilty in the case and were sentenced to two years in jail and one year of house arrest.

A fourth accused, Danny Rao, was acquitted by Humphries.

The attackers used a golf club, pool cues and baseball bats at Second Beach in Stanley Park to kill Webster.

At Cran’s trial, witnesses — including his two youth accomplices — told BC Supreme Court Justice Mary Humphries the group had gone to the park to beat up “peeping toms and voyeurs” and came across Webster naked except for his shoes.

They pursued him through the park to his car where he fell to the ground and the beating continued, the court was told at trial.

“What is so chilling about this case is that this group seems to have done this for some reprehensible and almost inconceivable concept of entertainment,” Humphries said as she sentenced Cran.

She called the attack random, cowardly and terrifying.

“He must pay for this crime,” she said of Cran.

Norman says she also wants Cran to meet with Webster’s family so he can understand the pain his actions have caused.

It would also be important for him to meet at least one member of the gay community, she suggests.

She says a similar request was made when the two youths convicted in the case were released.

Norman says the first youth refused to meet a member of the queer community while the second met with lesbian lawyer barbara findlay.

Ironically, it was the first youth who had a web page at the time of the incident using the nickname Joe Buck, the name of the male hustler from the Jon Voigt-Dustin Hoffman film, Midnight Cowboy.

Any submissions regarding Cran’s release conditions should be sent to:

Sara Robertson
Regional Communications Officer
National Parole Board
Pacific Regional Office
1925 McCallum Road, 2nd Floor
Abbotsford, BC V2S 3N2