‘It’s all I have left’

Cory
Cory Hurley
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Samantha’s mother fighting to keep murderer from full parole

FLEUR DE LYS — Millie Walsh had 13 years with her daughter Sammie, and she’s now also spent 13 years without her.

The Fleur-de-Lys teacher, municipal representative, community leader and volunteer is continuing the fight to keep her daughter’s killer from becoming a free man.

Michael John Victor Lewis’ freedom has been a sore point for Walsh as his release progresses over the past year or more. She and her husband George attended every parole hearing, pleading Lewis be kept behind bars.

Originally, after serving the first seven years, Lewis didn’t seek parole.

He also didn’t admit his role in the murder of the 13-year-old girl on Feb. 6, 2000 and his poor behaviour in prison was highlighted by the board in their early decisions.

In recent years, he has admitted to strangling Samantha Bertha Walsh, and also acknowledged the sexual aspects of the murder. He has undergone counselling, and has been educated in jail in hopes of preparing himself for a life outside prison walls.

Serving a life sentence for second degree murder, Lewis — now in his late 20s — was first released on day parole for six months in December 2011. That was extended for another six months in June of last year. It was again extended, this time for three months, just last month. His release also included a work term.

Knowing Lewis has been living a life outside jail has been particularly difficult for Walsh. She attributed much of her strength over the years to knowing he has remained imprisoned for his crime. A hearing to determine whether he gets full parole is to be held Jan. 23, and it could make things worse for her.

“In reflection on all that I have endured with respect to writing statements and having to revisit my tragedy, I question if all my time and pleading will be in vain?” Walsh said in a victim impact statement she wrote for the upcoming hearing.

“I regretfully feel that the justice system is disconnected with victims such as me.”

It has been a particularly difficult year for Walsh. Her husband George died Jan. 17. She describes George as her husband, friend, and her final bond and physical connection with Sammie. She said his death has made her fight to keep Lewis in jail more difficult, but she is not considering giving up.

“Parole board members and others may question as to why I return and give my statement,” she said. “It’s simple. It’s all I have left.”

In recent years, the Walsh family has been preparing themselves for the likelihood Lewis would one day be released. They recognized the progression that was unfolding, despite their plights and prayers.

“With using the system to his advantage after a short time of incarceration for a heinous crime, Michael Lewis begins his future … to metamorphose into something new,” she wrote. “I will always be a homicide survivor and never experience closure.”

Walsh fears time has softened the minds of many, including those who decide on such applications. She said her nightmares about that night 13 years ago, the 17 days of searching that followed, and the 13 years since of wondering who Sammie would have become, have not softened.

She remains adamant Lewis should not be released and says it is still too soon. She doesn’t have to think when considering what the impact of Lewis being granted full parole would be.

“It would devastate me,” she said.

She believes Lewis will regress and fears what the consequence could be for others —  another mother, another family, another community.

 

 

 

 

Geographic location: FLEUR DE LYS

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Recent comments

  • violet
    January 25, 2013 - 14:00

    mike lewis was old enough to do the crime he should serve the time sammy never had a chance at life he took it aw ay from her why should he get one

  • Judy
    January 24, 2013 - 08:13

    I remember all too well that terrible 17 days in 2000 when Samantha Walsh went missing and feeling so much sadness for her Mom and Dad. May GOD continue to strengthen you Millie Walsh in your fight for justice. Don't give up!!

  • Kinger
    January 24, 2013 - 08:12

    this piece of crap should be lock up for life..he took this young girls life and he should never be able to live his as a free man....a eye for a eye and a tooth for a tooth...

  • Mary
    January 23, 2013 - 21:52

    Keep up the good work Millie. Strength is in numbers and we are all there for you. When Michael Lewis took the life of Sammie, in my opinion he gave up his rights to freedom and a life. He does not deserve a second chance. Let him die in jail. We can only pray that the justice system agrees with us.

  • Christina Gardiner
    January 23, 2013 - 20:35

    I don't think Micheal Lewis should get out of jail; he robbed this young lady of a life & that's what he should get. Samantha never got a chance at life nor should he.Our justice system sure needs an overhaul.Keep up the fight Millie.

  • rara
    January 23, 2013 - 19:34

    he had 13 years in jail .. now in days people only get 5 or 6 . everyone should get a second chance no matter what they did in life .. but im really sorry to hear about sam

    • I hear ya
      January 23, 2013 - 19:54

      He served his time and is trying to make a new life. It's sad what happen but at least he's try to do right. More then some people would do

    • Ryan
      June 23, 2013 - 19:31

      So if someone murdered one of your family members, would you say " they deserve a second chance", yeah probably not

  • Brittany
    January 23, 2013 - 18:59

    Frightens me to know how our justice system works sometimes. If you take an innocent life, yours should be taken too - Locked up with no privileges of any sort, only to suffer and pay for what you have done to this girl & her family.

  • Bev
    January 23, 2013 - 17:52

    Keep this criminal in jail why should he start over when Sam cannot have a life because of this murderer.

  • Tracey
    January 23, 2013 - 15:03

    I am completely baffled with the justice system in this country.....if you kill someone don;t worry about it because you will get out of jail on parole, good behaviour, etc. Along with that the criminal also gets education and many luxuries that people working are unable to afford these days. Then you have many young people that are struggling to pay back student loans they had to get in order to get their educations.....but hey why not just kill someone and you will be given a free education and be out in just over ten years. What about the victims,,,,the families left behind to fight for justice and the innocent victims that lose their lives. They don;t get to be dead for ten years and then come back to live a fulfilling life.............I think serious changes need to be made. There is no excuse or reason to take someones life and therefore there should be no excuse or reason why the criminal should be let out of prison....bring forth the death penalty...or better yet release them to te families of the peoples llives they have taken with no consequences for their actions....sickening

  • merika
    January 23, 2013 - 13:31

    Micheal Lewis should die in jail!! He took the life of that beautiful young lady!! He stopped her life and his should have stopped to forever!!

  • gm
    January 23, 2013 - 13:03

    13 years...I remember all too well this story...The person responsible should never be able to get out from behind bars! I don't even agree with him being out for a work term or anything else...this poor girl has none of that! Why let him back into the world as a "normal person" when hes not! He's a person who took the life of a beautiful young girl who thought he was her friend and she trusted him and look what happened! why should we have to trust him??? He's still young, he has many years left in this life and I feel he shouldn't be allowed to spend that around where other children could become a victim! KEEP HIM IN JAIL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! sorry for your loss Millie...never give up the fight!

  • CATHNERINE
    January 23, 2013 - 09:45

    Millie, My deepest sympathy for the loss of your husband . Not to mention what you went through after Sammie... My condolences and Prayers , may my prayers be with you always...justice for this young man as far as I am concerned would :) THE COST OF HIS LIFE.....HE DOES NOT DESRVE A SECOND CHANCE, BECAUSE IF HE DOES, WHY CAN'T SAMMIE.....GOD BLESS YOU....GOD HEAR OUR PRAYERS.

  • Mary
    January 20, 2013 - 14:51

    The fact that Samantha never got to live her life and was subject to these horrible things... and ripping this girl away from her beloved family who did not expect or deserve to have to end of living their life this way...is one thing...But logically and simply put, I think it is just too early for Michael to be put into public. It really hasn't been that long. If someone can do these things and go back to living a "normal life" 12-13 years later is not ok. I could somewhat understand if the circumstances were different but the severity of this crime is serious. More serious than 13 years in prison, that's for absolute sure. Mental Illness is a serious matter and we need to be taking proper steps to unsure those who are mentally unstable enough to rape and kill people are treated accordingly. Of you end up with repeated offenders. Letting him out in the public this soon seems like a dangerous idea to me.

  • Jodie Norman - Matthews
    January 20, 2013 - 12:12

    Millie, I would not begin to tell you I know how you feel, because I don't.....and I believe that Mr. Lewis done the crime, he should serve the time. It may have been 13 years since the death of your beautiful daughter, but her smile, her face, her eyes, her laugh, is still fresh within the minds and memories and hearts of everyone, and I believe he should be incarsinated for life. Why let him out when it is possible that he can do the same to others? Then entire province will live in fear if he is ever let out. We don't need it. I'm with you all the way. Samantha was a beautiful individual inside and out, she had a heart of gold and a smile that would light up the room when she walked in. Lewis took that from her, and his life should remain behind bars. He shouldn't be given freedom since your lovely sammie doesn't get to live her fredom. I VOTE FOR HIM TO BE KEPT BEHIND BARS....and Im sure the entire province is with me, and if they aren't, then they dont have a heart....Love and prayers sent to you Millie..... xoxoxo

  • Ashley
    January 20, 2013 - 11:00

    This is so sad. First of I want to tell Mrs. Walsh that she is not alone. There are so many people that are fighting with her. I can not belive what this wold is comming to, its so sad. This poor girl lost her life and the person that took it from her will soon be set free to continue living like a "normal" person as if nothing happened. He should not get out of jail!! I dont understand how the justice system makes such decisions. Here is a man, who took the life of a beautiful young girl, he was sent to jail, and while in there, he got the best education he could possibably ask for, a bed to sleep in and 3 meals a day. Mean while, there are elderly people out there fighting to financially survive, and homeless people on the streets who'd never harm a fly, with no where to sleep and nothing to eat... its so unbelievably sad to see what this world is comming to. Michael Lewis should be behind bars and STAY behind bars.... samantha can not walk the streets, spend time with frineds and family, or get a job... so neither should Michael!

  • stephen
    January 15, 2013 - 20:44

    Mrs. Walsh I would not even begin to say I understand the depths of your loss,however you may find solace in the fact that like many other people who followed the tragic story of your families ordeal,I believe one day a greater justice will prevail over this man and he will get his just desserts, Spend the rest of your years celebrating Sams life and telling your story everywhere you can. You are a strong and brave woman,and although I may never get to meet you,I am sure the people who know or have gotten to know you because of this tragic event are much richer for having the privledge of being your friend.

  • VERA
    January 15, 2013 - 18:58

    I BELIEVE MICHAEL LEWIS SHOULD STAY IN JAIL,AND NEVER GET OUT.WHY SHOULD HE GET OUT AND LIVE A NORMAL LIVE,WHEN SAMMI CANNOT.I SUPPORT YOU MILLIE,DONT GIVE UP,KEEP FIGHTING.

    • Dominic J Seymour
      January 24, 2013 - 11:07

      justice.that's the thing we dont have justice around here.....i belive death pently still should be around .......these days you get more out of poaching a moose than killing another human being and well all no it's not right ......but for that matter be don;t have death pently....so i do strongly agree with you mille ....lewis should spend the rest of his life behind bars ,for what he did to sammy ........so keep fighting mille i'm here and a good many more are here for you to keep lewis behind bars for what he did to sammy .......

  • jean
    January 15, 2013 - 18:15

    that girl can't be free to married or have the life with her family she should have...she can't have a life neither should he..kept him lock up..cause he will do it again..

  • ryan
    January 15, 2013 - 14:32

    lewis should never see the light of day. lock that monster away for good...

    • Rodger
      January 15, 2013 - 16:51

      Millie, I can only imagine what you have and are still going through. There is NO justice in our democratic system. If there was, Michael Lewis wouldn't even be given the chance for parole. Keep going millie, you haver a lot of friends who are supporting you.

  • Shirley Lane-Brinson
    January 15, 2013 - 10:16

    I don't think Michael Lewis should EVER be granted full parole..why should he ?? Not only did he commit a horrible crime but lied for so long after and waited his own time, ..Why should he EVEN consider getting parole,,,Why ?? Sammi never had the choice of living her own life so why should he have choices ??Why is our justice system so soft..I sincerely think we should consider bringing back the Death penalty when criminals such as Lewis are proven guilty..Sammi's dad went to his death still fighting for his rights..we should all support Sammi's mom in her fight to keep him behind bars....

    • jean
      January 15, 2013 - 18:25

      kept him lock up he took her life..he should not have one..