The Saanich man who orchestrated a plan that saw his mother and grandmother murdered in 1990 has been denied unescorted temporary absences from a low-security prison by the Parole Board of Canada.
Darren Huenemann, who now goes by Darren Gowen, was 18 years old when he got two classmates to kill his mother and grandmother in order to clear the way for an inheritance of more than $3 million. Gowen promised Derik Christopher Lord and David Muir cars, homes and monthly salaries if they killed his relatives.
Gowen was given a life sentence in 1991 for two counts of first-degree murder, and in 1996 was found guilty of escaping from lawful custody. During the escape attempt, Gowen assaulted a penitentiary staff member and engaged in a high-speed chase with police.
Gowen, now 48, met with the parole board on Oct. 15, asking to be granted unescorted absences for personal development at a halfway house that would last for 48 hours and eventually be increased to 72 hours.
According to the board’s decisions, Gowen grew up with his mother after his parents separated when he was three years old. Gowen told the board that he remembered feeling a lot of pressure from her regarding success and appearance, and called her a “very controlling woman.” He became obsessed with money and power and had been joking with friends about murdering his family members since 1988, testing the waters. It wasn’t until 1989 that he began planning the murders more seriously.
During his first few years of incarceration, Gowen was “extremely narcissistic” and had anger management issues. His last known violent act occurred in 2003 when Gowen got into a fight with another inmate.
In February 2019, Gowen was transferred to a minimum-security prison. He has been on almost 120 escorted temporary absences from the facility.
The board found that Gowen would present an “undue risk to society” during the unescorted absence.
“For years, a lack of insight, narcissism and a desire for power and control prevented you from making any progress,” stated the board. “Although progress has been noted over the years, the board must nevertheless use caution.”
The board added that continuing escorted temporary absences would be a more viable option. It was noted that Gowen internalizes his anger in an effort to suppress and control it, and there was concerns that this would lead to him reoffending violently.
Some of Gowen’s victims were present at the hearing and expressed that they thought he was a “dangerous, manipulative individual.”