Const. Joe MacDonald was shot to death in 1993 during a traffic stop. Two drug dealers were convicted.
A Sault Ste. Marie man convicted in the 1993 shooting death of Sudbury police constable Joe MacDonald will remain behind bars.
Clinton Suzack, convicted of first-degree murder, has been denied day parole, the Parole Board of Canada decision states.
The board is of the opinion that Suzack could reoffend and present an undue risk to society.
Late November, Suzack was granted a hearing to study the potential for a day parole release.
Written submissions from the victims, who explained how family members have suffered and continue to suffer following MacDonald’s death, were also accepted into evidence.
The victim submissions also requested that in the event of Suzack’s release, that special conditions be imposed in relation to geographical limitations.
Suzack, now 54, and co-convicted Peter Pennett, shot and killed the Sudbury police officer after MacDonald pulled them over for a traffic stop. Suzack was intoxicated and on a conditional release for other convictions. The shooting occurred after Suzack and Pennett were driving home after trying to collect money related to drug trafficking.
Suzack was also shot during the event.
MacDonald’s wife, Nancy (Fragomeni) was also from Sault Ste. Marie.
The Parole Board of Canada eight-page decision said that Suzack does hold himself responsible for MacDonald’s death as a result of the lifestyle he was living at the time of the events. That lifestyle included excessive drinking and being involved in criminality and carrying a weapon.
The board notes that Suzack had been involved in crime since 1981 and conviction records include eight assaults, five assault causing bodily harms, aggravated assault, unlawful confinement, forcible entry, other property offences and breaches.
“Your case management team is of the opinion that your criminal record goes beyond that of just an immature young man who does stupid things when he has had too much to drink,” the decision obtained by The Sault Star reads. “It associates the potential for violence with weapons, certainly, but also with a method of conflict resolution such as fights in bars and the fight with the police officer – the victim – before the murder.”
The decision says the case management team is “of the opinion that there is the presence not only of impulsive violence but also of instrumental violence … The main contributing factors related to your criminality are identified as the spheres of personal and emotional life, attitude, substance abuse and associates.”
The Parole Board decision also reviews Suzack’s assorted family life, including living in the bush to contribute to family life, growing up in a First Nation community, how his family fell apart after the divorce of his parents and the involvement with the Children’s Aid Society.
Life obstacles have been listed as the 1960s scoop residential school system, group home placement, loss of cultural identity, substance abuse, discrimination, community fragmentation and racism.
Suzack’s file also contains a history of failing to comply with orders.
A 2015 psychiatric assessment indicates an alcohol abuse problem and antisocial behaviour since adolescence.
More recently, a 2018 psychologist assessment concludes Suzack’s appears to have a personality disorder with antisocial and narcissistic traits. An alcohol use disorder is in remission in a controlled environment. It suggests a propensity for short-term risk of recidivism, the decision reads.
The decision also notes that Suzack has participated in a number of inmate programming and educational programs but has also been involved in two disciplinary reports – a major one in 1997 and a minor one in 2017 and other unsubstantiated reports resulted in the expulsion for two facilities.
The board does note that Suzack’s proposed release plan contains positive elements, along with letters of support but the actual implementation of the supports has not been established.
Suzack has completed several escorted temporary absences for medical leave and all have gone well.