Released after serving two-thirds of sentence for strangling student
photo courtesy of crawford kilian
A man convicted of strangling a young Korean student in Stanley Park, leaving her with permanent brain damage and bound to a wheelchair, was released from prison yesterday after serving two-thirds of his sentence.
Robert Gary Wallin received a nine-year sentence for pleading guilty to aggravated assault after he attacked Ji-Won Park in May 2002 – strangling her with her headphones and then choking her into a coma.
"It’s ridiculous," said Vancouver-Burrard MLA Lorne Mayencourt, who has lobbied Corrections Canada against statutory release on behalf of the Park family.
"Parole should only be earned," Mayencourt said. "You don’t get out because you are two-thirds through your sentence."
Park, then 22, was in Vancouver studying English at the time of the assault. She spoke four languages and played the piano. The attack left her confined to a wheelchair and needing constant care.
Jacki Lim, Park’s mother, declined an interview request yesterday because she did not want her daughter to know about Wallin’s release.
David Toner, a spokesman for Families Against Crime and Trauma, said it’s likely the family doesn’t think justice was done.
"Ji-Won is basically disabled for life," Toner said. "The guy who did this served his five years … how does that accurately reflect the damage he caused? The punishment that is meted out has to be commensurate."
Mayencourt called Wallin a violent guy with mental challenges and said he has shown no remorse and has refused counselling.