Man twice convicted in Rossland murder denied early parole

Wayne MacMillan then a resident of Castlegar, was twice convicted of first degree murder in the brutal death of Edward Vertere, 90.

  • Dec. 16, 2015 8:00 a.m.

A BC man who beat a Rossland senior to death in his own home 18 years ago, has been denied early parole.

Wayne MacMillan then a resident of Castlegar, was twice convicted of first degree murder in the brutal death of Edward Vertere, 90.

“He continues to downplay his responsibility for his actions in the murder of Mr. Vertere,” states B.C. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Kelleher in his ruling, denying MacMillan a faint-hope hearing in front of a jury. “The murder, coming after torture and a beating, is particularly egregious.”

MacMillan’s case began in the Rossland Court House following his 1998 arrest, but was subsequently moved to Vancouver following a violation of a pre-trial publicity ban by a Vancouver newspaper that was ruled could affect the impartiality of a local jury.

After being convicted of murder in 2000 and sentenced to life without parole for 25 years, MacMillan was granted a new trial after the B.C. Appeal Court ruled that a scribbled note from a juror indicated jury members may have been confused about a key point of law when they found MacMillan guilty of first-degree murder in the death of Mr. Vertere.

He was re-tried and convicted on Dec. 14, 2003, again sentenced to life without parole eligibility for 25 years.

MacMillan filed for earlier parole under what’s termed the faint-hope clause.

Under section 745.6 (faint-hope clause) of the Canadian Criminal Code, a statutory provision allows prisoners sentenced to life imprisonment with a parole eligibility period of greater than 15 years, to apply for early parole once they have served 15 years.

Kelleher said that “generally speaking” MacMillan has done well in custody.

“Although the application has explored other factors contributing to his offences, he continues to characterize the murder of Mr. Vertere and the manslaughter of Mr. Luis Martins as event arising out of self defence,” he wrote. “It is the totality of the evidence that results in this application being dismissed.”

The judge concluded MacMillan can apply for early parole in another five years if he continues to make “sufficient progress.”

MacMillan has an extensive record, with 22 convictions for criminal offences between 1979 and 2001, apart from the Vertere murder conviction – as well as a second homicide.

Two months after killing Vertere, MacMillan beat an Okanagan man to death. He was convicted of manslaughter in the death of Luis Martins. He met Martins in an Osoyoos bar, beat him to death, then drove Martins’ truck into the mountains northeast of Osoyoos and disposed of the body in a wooded area.

MacMillan was arresting for killing Mr. Vertere and Mr. Martins during a police sting, according to Justice Kelleher’s Dec. 9 court documents. MacMillan entered into what he believed was a criminal organization involving illegal activity, but it was in fact, a police undercover operation.

The police masqueraded as criminals, and in June 1998, MacMillan told an undercover officer that he had killed an old man in the man’s home in Rossland. He also told the officer that he had gone for a ride in a man’s truck in Osoyoos and killed the man by caving in the man’s head using his hands and boots.

According to the parole eligibility report, MacMillan has been escorted on temporary