Police still on the lookout for escaped murderer

Katie Tower ktower@sackvilletribunepost.com
Published on September 7, 2007

The convicted murderer who escaped from Dorchesters Westmorland Institution Thursday morning is still on the loose.

The convicted murderer who escaped from Dorchesters Westmorland Institution Thursday morning is still on the loose.

Gary Gormley, serving a life sentence for the brutal killing of a Charlottetown man in 1995, was discovered missing at the noon count on Thursday.

Maurice LeBlanc, spokesman for Correctional Service of Canada, said officials are not sure what prompted the 39-year-old to escape from the minimum-security facility.

LeBlanc said Gormley would not have been serving his time at Westmorland had he been considered a flight risk.

He earned his way here and why he left I really dont know; and we probably wont know that until hes captured and we get a chance to talk to him.

LeBlanc said Gormley has been an inmate at Westmorland Institution since January and was eligible to apply for a parole hearing next year, having served 12 years of his sentence.

He said Gormley had earned his way to Westmorland through good behaviour, programming, and positive assessments.

LeBlanc did note, however, that Gormley could be considered a threat to the public.

The fact that he went away and hes a lifer, I would certainly be cautious if I did see him. Id contact the RCMP right away.

District 4 RCMP Cpl. Robin Levesque said police are still on the lookout for Gormley but admitted they are unsure, as of Friday morning, of his whereabouts.

We dont know exactly where he is, he could be anywherehe could be in Bathurst, he could be in Campbellton, he could be in Quebec by now. So were going to need the help of the public the most we can, said Levesque.

He said RCMP did receive a tip this morning that Gormley was sighted on Highway 2 near Sackville.

We did check and we did locate that person but it was not him, he said. So people are trying to help, but no luck yet.

Gormley is described as six feet tall, weighing 214 pounds, with blue eyes, a shaved head, and tattoos covering his arms, back and chest.

Police officers yesterday were conducting vehicle searches at the Confederation Bridge Thursday afternoon, looking for the P.E.I. man.

The Islander was sentenced to life imprisonment for the slaying of Clifford McIvor, who was found beaten and strangled in his Charlottetown apartment in March 1995, apparently after he demanded sex as a payment for providing Gormley with prescription drugs.

Gormley was accused, along with his friend Eddie Clark, of second-degree murder. A jury found Gormley guilty in August 1996 and sentenced him to life imprisonment with no chance of parole for 12 years. Clark was later found guilty of being an accessory after the fact to the murder.

But Gormley wanted his conviction overturned and a new trial held. In a 1999 decision, however, the Prince Edward Island Supreme Court rejected all of Gormleys arguments for a new trial.

Gormley was eligible for day parole in March 2005 but he waived the right to that hearing, saying he wasnt ready to be released into the public.

This isnt the first time Gormley has escaped from custody. He leaped out of a police van and into a car being driven by his brother while on his way to be sentenced in 1996. He was taken back into custody within hours.

Richard Collins, deputy chief of the Charlottetown police department, said yesterday his police officers are searching the city for Gormley, including checking places where he would have hung out before his arrest more than a decade ago.

We have nothing to suggest right now that hes coming to Charlottetown specifically, or Prince Edward Island in general, said Collins. From our perspective, any place where we feel he may end up, either through information we have, or information that is received by us, then we would follow up on that.

But Collins said its possible he may try to return to P.E.I. because thats where hes from and where his family is located.

Meanwhile, LeBlanc said the CSC will conduct its own internal review of all circumstances surrounding the escape and noted Gormley will not return to the minimum-security facility when he is captured.

Theyll send him to Dorchester (Penetentiary), reassess him, interview him and hell be sent to either Renous, or maybe stay in Dorchester or Springhill.

RCMP say Gormley is considered violent and should not be approached if seen. Anyone with any information should call their local police immediately or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

(with files from The Charlottetown Guardian)