This article was originally published in Maclean's Magazine on January 16, 1995
Denis Lortie, the former army corporal who murdered three people and injured 13 others after storming the Quebec National Assembly in May, 1984, was released on day parole to a halfway house in Hull, Quebec. Lortie, 36, had been undergoing psychiatric treatment in a minimum security prison north of Montreal, where he was serving a life sentence with no eligibility for parole for 10 years. According to National Parole Board officials, Lortie no longer poses a threat to society and will be eligible for full parole in six months.
For his part, in an interview on the CBC's new French-language all-news network, Lortie said he was "disconnected from reality" at the time of the killings, but that the counselling he has received in prison has helped prepare him for release. "I have the tools," Lortie claims, "that I didn't have before."
Under the release terms, Lortie must spend every night at the halfway house between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. He must also let supervisors know where he is at all times and is restricted to a 40-km radius from the house. But the relatives of some of Lortie's victims say he is getting off too easily. Indeed, Steve Boyer, whose father was killed by Lortie, says that he should have been executed. And Hélène LeFrancois, whose husband was also murdered in the legislature, adds: "I have tried to forget, but in the last 10 years nothing has eased the grief I felt at the loss of my husband."
Maclean's January 16, 1995