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Man serving life sentence in 'unspeakably evil' murder granted temporary leave to attend Island program

Jeremy Wade Vojkovic, now 37, is serving a life sentence for first-degree murder in the 2002 death of Colleen Findlay that the sentencing judge called “unspeakably evil,” according to a recent Parole Board of Canada decision.
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Jeremy Wade Vojkovic, now 37, is serving a life sentence for first-degree murder in the 2002 death of Colleen Findlay.

A man who sexually assaulted and murdered a Maple Ridge woman as a teenager has been granted a 60-day unescorted absence to attend a day program on Vancouver Island.

Jeremy Wade Vojkovic, now 37, is serving a life sentence for first-degree murder in the 2002 death of Colleen Findlay that the sentencing judge called “unspeakably evil,” according to a Parole Board of Canada decision.

Vojkovic came upon Findlay while trespassing on her property, then beat and bound her before sexually assaulting her. To cover up the crime, he poured gasoline on her and in the home before setting it on fire and driving away in her car. Findlay died of suffocation and smoke inhalation.

The sentencing judge noted Vojkovic’s “methodical and deliberate actions” and the “terror and agony” Findlay suffered, while recognizing he spared her family a trial by pleading guilty, the parole board wrote in its decision to grant a temporary unescorted absence.

Vojkovic applied to participate in a substance abuse treatment program at a residential facility on the Island, about four hours from his current institution, to address his substance issues and help reintegrate back into the community under supervision.

Despite a psychiatric assessment that expressed “grave concern” about the level of risk Vojkovic poses to the public and whether his risk would ever be manageable in the community, the parole board determined that participation in the program will allow Vojkovic limited access to the community and that he has developed the skills he needs to work with parole officers to manage his risk in the community.

Vojkovic must return to the facility nightly.

The board said he acknowledged mistakes he made that led to the revocation of his short-lived day parole in January 2023 and has created strategies to ensure he doesn’t fall into familiar unhealthy patterns.

In June 2022, Vojkovic was granted day parole, which was suspended five months later and revoked in January 2023 because he breached his conditions by drinking alcohol and spending time with people who were using substances.

The parole board expressed concern that Vojkovic quickly entered a romantic relationship with a woman after being released on day parole, withheld his real name from her, and went to her home while her children were there against his parole officer’s direction and without required permission from the Ministry of Children and Family Development.

Vojkovic is not allowed to consume or possess alcohol or drugs, associate with anyone he believes is involved in criminal activity or substance use, have contact with any member of Findlay’s family, or be in the Lower Mainland without approval from a parole supervisor. He must report all intimate relationships with women.

Vojkovic started having regular escorted absences in 2022 to visit his father’s home and join in cultural activities with an elder.

He has Indigenous heritage but was not in touch with his culture until he was incarcerated, the decision notes.

Older generations in his family attended residential school and those experiences likely contributed to the abuse and substance abuse he was exposed to as a child, the parole board wrote.

Vojkovic had an unstable childhood that included physical, sexual and emotional abuse, and that normalized violence and substance abuse, the decision says. Vojkovic said he saw women as objects to be used by men through witnessing the sexual assault of female family members, being sexually assaulted himself and spending the bulk of his time with men whose views of women were toxic.

He was eventually placed in foster care, and started drinking at age six and smoking marijuana at seven.

regan-elliott@timescolonist.com