Mother upset with early parole for son’s killer

Gary Kean
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CORNER BROOK — Donna Elms knew Morgan John Taylor’s release from prison would eventually come.

She even saw documentation that said his “earliest release date” would be Oct. 18, 2013.

On Jan. 7, two days after the second anniversary of the day the mentally ill man ran over and killed her 22-year-old son, Christopher Farrell, on a Port aux Basques street in 2011, Elms got a call to inform her that Taylor had applied for day parole.

In advance of Taylor’s hearing before the National Parole Board, Elms went about writing a new version of her victim impact statement — one that reflected how her life has been since Taylor was sentenced to 22 months in prison last July 26.

She thought it would be at least a couple more months before the parole board would be in a position to decide whether Taylor should be granted day parole. Whenever that decision was made, Elms assumed Taylor would be on day parole for the maximum of six months before being granted full parole.

Last week, she was told a decision could come within one or two weeks.

On Tuesday, she was called again and told the board had met and decided to grant Taylor day parole for two months. The board has also decided that he will be granted full parole once those two months have been served.

“I dont know if I misunderstood, but I had the impression that this would be a lengthier process,” said Elms. “And I assumed he would get the maximum six months of day parole, with his history with the law, his medical history and all the statements we did.”

On Jan. 5, 2011, Taylor had refused to take prescribed medication for a diagnosed mental illness. Upset that roads in Rose Blanche were not cleared and sanded, he then threatened to blow someone’s head off at the town office.

Taylor left the town office in haste. The RCMP were called, and a vehicular pursuit of Taylor ensued. Instead of stopping for police, Taylor sped up to the point where the officers gave up the pursuit for safety reasons.

It was in this state of mind that Taylor reached Port aux Basques, some 40 kilometres away from Rose Blanche, and struck Farrell as he walked to meet his mother for lunch.

While alcohol was not a factor in this case, Taylor does have three prior convictions for drunk driving. He was given a 26-month sentence for dangerous driving causing death and for causing a disturbance, but was given four months credit for time served in pre-sentence custody. He was also given three years of probation and an eight-year driving prohibition.

In her latest victim impact statement, Elms described how things haven’t gotten any easier since Taylor was sentenced.

“If anything, it’s a tad worse because it’s more real and I miss Christopher more as time goes on,” said Elms. “I live in the past now. I only had one child and don’t have anything to look forward to anymore.”

That hurt extends to her mother sister and all of her son’s friends too, noted Elms.

She hoped the victim impact statements she provided for the sentencing hearing and for the parole board would make more of a difference in terms of how long Taylor was incarcerated.

Elms would like to see better communication between the justice system and the victims of crime. That, she said, might have better prepared her for Taylor getting day and full parole earlier than she thought he would.

“I assume the judges and the lawyers all knew this could happen before I thought it would,” she said. “Why didn’t they tell us that?

“It’s really hard to swallow that a man could kill Christopher and get six months behind bars out of a 22-month sentence. Christopher’s life is worth a lot more than six months.”

Elms is part of a group of three families of people who have been killed by reckless drivers. They are advocating for longer prison sentences for those convicted of such crimes.

In the last two months, there have been at least three instances of families in Newfoundland and Labrador caught off-guard by the early release of persons convicted of killing their loved ones.

“Something has to be done to change this,” Elms said. “It’s too late for Christopher, but it’s not too late for the next person. And there is going to be a next person.”

In its written decision on granting Taylor day parole, the parole board stated that Taylor has expressed genuine remorse for what happened, has been under the care of a psychiatrist since the incident and has been complying with taking the medication prescribed for his mental health condition.

The board went on to say that Taylor would be “closely monitored” during his day parole and that his eventual full parole was “a manageable option” for him.

The decision also noted how the public would not be placed at undue risk, and that local police were not opposed to Taylor’s reintegration back into the community at this point.

According to an information sheet provided by the National Parole Board, Taylor will be eligible for full parole on March 7. The full term of his 22-month sentence does not end until May 30, 2014.




Organizations: National Parole Board, RCMP

Geographic location: Port aux Basques, CORNER BROOK, Rose Blanche Newfoundland and Labrador

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Recent comments

  • dave
    January 31, 2013 - 21:27

    P.S. with any luck ...Karma will catch up to the law makers and enforcers.

  • dave
    January 31, 2013 - 21:24

    The only benefit of living in Pakistan, India, Asia, etc.... is that the people would deliver the justice to this man. Check out the court dockets available online. Its nuts. Filled with people charged for poaching, theft under 1000 or 5000 dollars. Yes these petty crimes have to be taken care off, but there is no standard. Fathers that miss child support payments get harder punishment dished out by the courts. You get your license suspended and possible jail time. This guy has three impaired charges. You think that he should never be able to drive again! Whos the bigger threat. Someday KARMA will catch this ba$tard in the right place at the right time.

  • Sickening
    January 31, 2013 - 21:14

    I just pray whoever is the justice system..the judge or whoever do not have to walk a mile in Donna Elms shoes.....may you never ever experience losing a child ..especially by someone like that Taylor....I hope you can sleep at night!!!

  • sad
    January 31, 2013 - 15:05

    Its quite disheartening how lenient our system and judges are on violent crime and hard on softer crimes. The judges how hand down these sentences should be removed of there duties. Must be quite frustrating for police to see the same idiots ruining our society over and over again. I believe in Karma so I hope this toilet scum gets his day. I am sure someone like this wont be to long before he is charged for something again. unfortunately it wont matter, i guess if you dont like someone get in your car kill them and walk away free in 6 months. what a joke. I am surprised there are not more families taking justice into there own hands. sad to see our society going this way. I feel for the family of any victims of crimes like these. things have to change sometime soon. parole board, judges and politicians should all be slapped for allowing things like this.

  • Ace
    January 31, 2013 - 14:18

    okay... so this is nothing but a bunch of crap. you get more jail time now a days for killing a moose out of season then killing a human. in all honesty, it's making people think "hey, killing someone aint so bad, i'll only serve a few months in jail then i can leave." i live in the port aux basques area, and in the past month, this has happend twice. another young man by the name of devon was killed and the guy responsible is now in a halfway home in stephenville, our court system is too messed up for it's own good. someone seriously needs to set things straight, and actually convict these criminals as seriously as their crimes. killing a person should be an automatic life sentence. Also, in this particular case, i believe that the fact the police were already after him before he killed chris should have given him a heavier sentence. i feel no pity for this man, and for his sake, i hope i never run into him face to face...

  • seanoairborne
    January 31, 2013 - 13:23

    There should be a mandatory minumum sentence of 20 yrs. for such a crime right off the bat,but as long as you keep voting into office so many bleeding heart lefties,I can't see any changes coming to the criminal justice system anytime soon.I guess you could start with putting more Conservatives in power.I mean "real" conservatives not the bunch you have now.Forget the federal laws! Make stronger provincial laws, with real punishments built in to fit the crime.I'm truly sorry for this lady's loss!But,sadly,like in the Bagby case, nothing meaningful will happen in the lousy Newfoundland Criminal Justice system until the citizens rise up and kick all the lefty, mamby pamby ,soft on criminal politicians out of office!Consequently,iif you don't do this, dirtbag criminals will continue to have more rights than the victims,and the "hits will just keep on coming"!!

  • Yikes
    January 31, 2013 - 13:05

    I have sympathy for people suffering from mental illness, but I do struggle with this situation. The man had 3 drunk driving charges and THEN he drove in a fit of rage that resulted in a man losing his life. I think he needs to be under someone's care - not only for the safety of others, but for his own personal safety. If he's still suffering from mental illness somebody has to take responsibility for what he does to himself and others. My heart goes out to Christopher's parents. It must be a very hard pill to swallow.

  • A J
    January 31, 2013 - 12:01

    Scum. He should be banished from the southwest coast, pointed to the ferry, and the judge that slapped him on the wrist should be sent with him. A plague to society, and apparently no system in place to apply retribution. I hope everyone in town takes a swing at him, every time they see him, on the victims behalf.

  • Devil's Advocate
    January 31, 2013 - 11:45

    I do not think the problem is with the justice system. The problem is with the way mentally ill people are not monitored, helped, or whatever you want to call it. If they used the money to keep them in a cage to, asses, monitor, or help these disturbed people instead, it would benefit everyone (except the victims and relations) more. If proper care was given to these people in the beginning, there may not be victims of anything in a lot of cases. That is just my perception though.

  • melvena brake
    January 31, 2013 - 11:31

    i think its time for the citizen of nl and lab. to start tking the law into their own hands. How many more innocent people are gonna be killed and their killers sent free. It's unbelievable the justice system. how do these people in authority who make these decisions sleep at night. It's getting all toooo scary what the people is this world are becoming like. These are the things every citizen should be protesting Donna I don't know you but my heart aches for the torment you have to deal with. You are a much stronger woman then me. May god bless you in these difficult times..

  • Keanman
    January 31, 2013 - 11:26

    Meanwhile a drug dealer in Gander is facing 5 years on top of time already served. What in God's name is wrong with our justice system? I'd say I'm disgusted but the sad truth is, I'm not surprised by this farce of a sentence.

    • Charges
      January 31, 2013 - 13:30

      While I agree that he should of gotten longer then a drug dealer. I think the drug dealer needed a longer sentence as well. The problem with our justice system is no one gets charged what they deserve. The reasoning behind most of these sentences are ridiculous. Either it's mental illness, addictions, or just a complete spur of the moment thing and they claim they blacked out. This is yet another reason why you hear about more and more vicious crimes in Newfoundland. Obviously something like this proves it's not just located in the capital city either. May Chris Farrell RIP. From things I've seen and read about when this initially happened he seemed like a great guy with a positive future. Something Morgan Taylor is nowhere near.

  • tom
    January 31, 2013 - 11:24

    If this man was under a restriction NOT to drive than he should have been charged with 2nd degree murder or manslaughter. If he had followed the courts order not to drive, then this never would have happened. 15 to life would have been a better sentence. Our court system blows. To many tools let out early. Time for longer sentences. Bring in a 3 strike rule. Natural life for 3 serious crimes within a 10 year period. If you can’t behave for that long, jail till you die is a fitting punishment. And this should include 3 drunk driving over .08 convictions too. Protect us, stop worrying about the criminals.

  • jean
    January 31, 2013 - 10:46


  • original townie
    January 31, 2013 - 10:33

    Ms. Elms....being a parent myself I understand your sense of loss but I could not come remotely close to understanding how you must actually feel. Your son's life certainly is worth much more than six months. I can't help but beleive if a member of the parole board suffered the same loss, would Taylor be free today? I think not. Our "injustice" system needs to be totally revamped. Sorry for your's heartbreaking.

  • SaraBR
    January 31, 2013 - 10:28

    As a person who has a mental disorder, I think it's awful he is still using that as an excuse for his behavior. I take full responsibility for my actions, despite the fact that I may have some brain chemistry which is making it difficult for me to distinguish right and wrong actions during some moments. I am sick of our justice system treating dangerous driving causing DEATH as such a light thing in the first place. Yeah ban them from driving, take away their license but who is going to watch them 24/7 so they can't get behind the wheel anyway and do it all over again?

  • John
    January 31, 2013 - 09:44

    There is something definately wrong with the justice when somebody only seves less than a year out of a 2 year sentence. Having been told that his earliest release date was October 8 of this year, the victims should have been given at least 2 months to write their Victim Impact Statement. This sentence was originally way too lenient to begin with. It's time for the Feds to get their act together and enforce the sentencing with more emphasis based on deterance rather than reform.