Darnell Darcy Pratt went into prison a killer and has been released unreformed, according to the father of the young man Pratt dragged to death seven years ago.
“I think he’s worse off now than when he went in,” said Doug De Patie, whose 24-year-old son, Grant, was hit and caught under the car after Pratt stole $12 worth of gas from the Maple Ridge gas station where Grant worked as an attendant. “He’s his own worst enemy. I don’t think he has the tools to survive in society.”
Pratt, 22, was initially charged with second-degree murder, but pleaded guilty to manslaughter. He was sentenced as an adult to nine years in prison minus time served.
In April 2007, the B.C. Court of Appeal took Pratt’s aboriginal heritage and dismal family situation into consideration and reduced Pratt’s sentence to seven years, or five years and 10 months after time served.
He was scheduled to be released from prison July 22.
Pratt is now free to live where he wants with no restrictions and, as Doug put it, “coming to a neighbour-hood near you.”
“It’s really the last day someone is held accountable for Grant’s death,” Doug said Tuesday.
“I hope that he cleans up his act and becomes a member of our society, at least a law-abiding one. I don’t believe that’s what’s going to happen.”
Pratt’s ability to cope in the community is questionable.
“From what I’ve seen of Darnell and all of his conditional releases for parole and so forth, he’s failed and really made no effort whatsoever to comply with his conditions. I’m sure he won’t be com-plying with any of the laws we have out here,” Doug said.
Pratt was granted statutory release - which is mandatory after serving two-thirds of a sentence - in June 2011 with a number of conditions. A day into his release, Pratt failed to return to his Kamloops halfway house. When police arrested him, they found what they believed to be heroin in his possession. Pratt also admitted to having spent two evenings in a pub.
After a hearing, the Parole Board of Canada revoked his statutory release until November 2011.
Pratt lasted a week after his Nov. 3 release before breaking conditions. He disappeared for 16 days before he was arrested in Esquimalt.
In May, Pratt was released a third time and again breached a condition of his release while in Victoria.
While serving his sentence, Pratt repeatedly violated rules and was found to be using drugs, drinking and abusing staff. His time in prison was extended because he assaulted another inmate while awaiting trial for Grant’s death.
Doug said Pratt still has issues with drugs and alcohol and described him as “an accident waiting to hap-pen.”
“Darnell is out now and we’re still left with a life sentence without Grant. It’s very difficult,” Doug said. “To me, Grant was the real loss in all of this. It wasn’t Darnell’s incarceration - it was the life of Grant.”
-Jennifer Saltman is a reporter with The Province