A different kind of freedom has been granted for the man who killed his girlfriend in Okotoks more than 25 years ago.
Bradley Paetsch was 18 years old when he stabbed his on-again, off-again girlfriend to death in January 1991.
He killed 16-year-old Stephanie Spooner after finding out she was in a relationship with someone else.
Paetsch, who changed his name to Tristan Ryan, was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years.
He later successfully applied under the faint hope clause to have his parole eligibility reduced by two years, although he has yet to apply for full parole.
According to documents obtained by News Talk 770, the Parole Board of Canada has granted the now 43-year-old unescorted temporary absences.
The board heard that over the past five years in particular, he has made several key steps, including over 150 escorted passes without any concern.
He has had issues while incarcerated, although he has completed “a myriad of programs and courses.”
Paetsch also ran into trouble after meeting a woman while out on one of his escorted temporary absences, as he didn’t report the relationship to officials.
The board says he got angry over his lack of visitations, landing him back in medium-security prison.
He ended up marrying the woman in 2014. The board spoke about the positive influence she has been, visiting on a weekly basis. The board said each visit, both in and out of custody, has allowed him to “further solidify the relationship.”
Paetsch told court he had trust and faith in her, something he struggled with when he was younger.
The board also noted that Paetsch provided “significant insight” into what led up to the murder of Spooner, something he had grappled with doing in the past.
The plan proposed by Paetsch for the unescorted passes was for 72 hours per month, with an itinerary planned to help with his reintegration back into society including things such as shopping and sight-seeing.
Instead, the board approved a “slow, gradual release” of 48 hours a month, which will be authorized for six months, but can be pulled at any time.