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Day parole extended for man who killed ex-wife in front of kids

Barrie mother Valerie Lucas, 23, shot to death at an Oshawa hotel in 1999 while providing Robert Bateman with access to their children
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A man who killed his ex-wife in a parking lot as she was providing him access to their two children has been approved to continue day parole for another six months.

A Parole Board of Canada panel made the decision following a review earlier this year.

Robert Bateman was convicted of second-degree murder in the fatal shooting of Valerie Lucas, 23, at an Oshawa hotel in 1999. He fled the scene after shooting the young Barrie mother, but surrendered to police the next day.

Bateman was handed a life sentence with no chance of parole for 21 years.

“At the sentencing hearing, the judge noted that there was evidence of planning on your part in that you brought the handgun to the meeting with your estranged spouse," the parole board panel noted in its latest decision. 

"The judge also noted that you fired multiple shots at close range and that you did so in close proximity to the children. The fact that there was previous violence in your relationship was also considered."

The former elementary school teacher was found to be a low risk to violently re-offend following a 2017 psychological risk assessment. The report indicated he has expressed remorse and has participated in programming while incarcerated. 

Bateman was first released on day parole in December 2017 and, while his behaviour was described in the report as “generally appropriate,” there have been issues, including occasional conflicts with other residents and community residential facility staff. 

He also tried to find information about his children through social media, resulting in an "unintended" breach of a special condition. And there were indications of attempts to connect with his son from a previous relationship, but he had no response.

Bateman's confrontational and “aggressive” approach toward staff resulted in a decision to move him to another community residential facility in an unnamed community, but he indicated he’d rather go to jail than go to the only other facility willing to take him.

He was suspended from the day parole program, but eventually capitulated and his suspension was cancelled by the parole officer in early August 2022.

When he returned to the community, he realized he had been fired for not showing up for work after failing to advise his employer of the suspension.

The job loss is expected to hinder his plans to move toward a full parole.

“Despite the recent concerns with regard to your self-centred attitude, poor emotions management and unwillingness to transfer (community residential facilities), your overall behaviour is considered manageable on a day parole release,” the parole board panel noted. "After the brief suspension of your release, you have adjusted to new surroundings and there have been no further issues with your attitude or behaviour."

While on day parole, Bateman is to abide by a series of conditions, including not coming to Ontario without prior approval, abstaining from drugs and alcohol, staying away from strip clubs and not associating with sex workers, not contacting members of Lucas’s family, and participating in counselling.