Warning: This story contains disturbing content.
A Kelowna man who has spent the last five years in prison for killing his wife and two children had his application granted to have the period of time until he is allowed to apply for parole reduced.
The application was granted due to a change in the criminal code in 2022, which affects periods of parole ineligibility to guarantee the right not to be subjected to cruel and unusual treatment or punishment.
Jacob Daniel Forman was sentenced in September 2019, after entering a guilty plea for two counts of first-degree murder and one count of second degree murder.
The murders happened one week before Christmas in 2017, after Foreman lost his temper when his late wife Clara, brought up his excessive drinking.
He then bludgeoned her to death with a sledgehammer.
After his wife died, Forman put her in a sleeping bag and took his daughters, aged seven and eight, to church. He told his children that their mother was sick and unable to join.
Upon their return, he decided to kill them both.
“He thought it would be better for them to go home to heaven than to grow up in a world where daddy had killed mommy,” said the Crown prosecutor in the sentencing hearing.
Before killing them, Forman told his daughters they were going to play a “game.”
One at a time, he took his daughters into their rooms and instructed them to stand on their heads for a few minutes, before standing up and raising their arms above their heads, causing them to faint.
Then, he choked them using a toy horse – the kind with a head on a stick – to press on their necks until they died.
Next, he put his daughters’ bodies into two large plastic containers and placed them in the garage, along with their mother who was stored in a sleeping bag.
Forman then loaded a gun with the intention of shooting himself, but after hours of deliberation, decided otherwise. He went to work the next morning.
When Foreman was sentenced in 2019, prosecutors could stack periods of parole ineligibility in cases involving multiple murders. As a result, Foreman was sentenced to life in prison with no eligibility for parole for 35 years.
Now, changes to the Criminal Code require that parole be served concurrently, rather than consecutively. In June 2023, Foreman applied to have his period of parole ineligibility for the three murders to be reduced in light of the updated law.
Three judges in the Court of Appeal for British Columbia agreed that Foreman has been serving a sentence that was “illegal” and granted his application to reduce his period of parole ineligibility to 25 years. He is still sentenced to life in prison but will be able to apply for parole after 25 years. Parole eligibility does not, however, mean automatic release. Before a person can be released, the Parole Board of Canada must decide that a person is not a risk to the public before granting parole.