Name changed from Darren Andrew Kelly, then 20

The Vancouver Province via Canada.com – Dec 7, 2008

Tom May will never forget the anguish of December 1985 when his three-year-old daughter was snatched from her bed and found a day later, raped and murdered, on a remote Sunshine Coast road.

Nor will he forget the face of Darren Andrew Kelly, then 20, who pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in the sex slaying and was sentenced in 1986 to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years.

May has discovered to his horror, however, that Kelly, diagnosed as a “dangerous psychopath,” almost succeeded in erasing his notoriety by taking advantage of laws that allow even violent sex offenders to change their names.

“I wanted to find out what ‘life in prison’ meant so I called up after 20 years had gone by to ask about the status of Darren Kelly and I was told, ‘Sorry, there’s no one in the prison system by that name,”‘ said May, now 53. “I figured they’d let him go without even telling us and to say I was very upset is an understatement.”

The Province has learned that there are at least 121 federal inmates, most of them violent or sexual offenders, who have legally changed their names in prison. There are 29 prisoners in the Pacific region — B.C. and the Yukon Territory — living in prison under new names.

That doesn’t include inmates who changed their names in jail and are now paroled with a new identity. As far as The Province was able to establish, no record is kept of how many ex-prisoners are living in the community under new names.

Kelly, described by a psychiatrist as “one of the most dangerous psychopaths I’ve ever encountered,” snatched Genoa Jean May from her bed at 5 a.m. and then raped and murdered her before dumping her body.

Parole Board officials admit they can’t explain why they lost track of Kelly when May first phoned four years ago for information. Nor can they explain why the same thing happened — twice — when The Province requested information about Kelly and was told both times he didn’t exist.

In 2004, May paid a research fee and found Kelly had changed his name to Ryan Scott Brady.

May obtained a 1992 Province article that revealed Kelly’s name change. It also linked him to the murder of Aaron Kaplan, aged two, who was taken from his bed in a Vancouver home and found dead on his family’s front lawn.

The little boy had been murdered while Kelly lived nearby, about six months before Gennie was killed.

Armed with evidence of Kelly’s new name, corrections officials confirmed that Kelly, now Brady, is in Mountain Prison in Agassiz.

“Kelly’s name, and the information on Gennie’s murder, didn’t come up on prison files until I told them,” said May.

Corrections Canada spokesman Brandon Banks said that “when an inmate changes his or her name, a New Offender Admission Sheet is filled out and that is theoretically linked in all our records to the inmate’s original name.”

Banks said that “anyone has the authority to change their name, and that includes inmates — if you or I changed our name there is no one we have to ask permission from.

“Only the registered victims of offenders would receive notification of the name change.”

May is now registered as a victim.

“When an inmate changes his name, we require that it be done legally and all the paperwork filed,” said National Parole Board spokesman Patrick Storey, who provided “soft” numbers of name changes, admitting it could be larger.

“We have a notification system that is supposed to be pretty foolproof, but you never know,” said Storey.

When The Province inquired on two occasions about Kelly’s parole status, parole officials failed to link Kelly’s name and the murder of Gennie to the killer’s new identity, until told of Kelly’s name change. Parole Board spokeswoman Jaswinder Frenette said: “We are going to discuss and try to resolve this problem.”

Retired MP Randy White, an advocate for victims’ rights, is outraged by what happened to Tom May and scoffs at the prison officials’ “tired old excuses.”

“They can’t keep track of violent offenders and pedophiles whose names they already know, whether they’re in prison or out in the community,” said White, who tried in 2001 to introduce a private member’s bill that would have made it illegal for violent offenders to legally change their names while in jail.