Landon Karas of LaCorey has spent almost a quarter of his life behind bars for a murder he says he did not commit and is now set to meet the parole board.
On July 15 of 2002, 58-year-old Doreen Bradley, the operator of the A&W fast-food restaurant in Bonnyville, had been strangled and stabbed dozens of times at her acreage home near LaCorey. A crime that Karas says he didn’t commit. However, DNA was allegedly found at the scene by RCMP investigators. Fred Karas, (Landon’s father) gave a blood sample that led the RCMP to his 21-year-old son Landon. After the DNA sample was obtained from Landon, months later, the RCMP announced they had a match. A short time later Landon Karas was driven to the RCMP detachment in Bonnyville by the police where he was charged with first-degree murder.
Landon would also be accused of sexual assault in the Bradley case as well, since the police had a theory that she had been raped. The Medical Examiner stated the opinion that Doreen Bradley’s wounds were not consistent with sexual assault. However, Mr. Karas was convicted of the 2002 murder of Mrs. Doreen Bradley and sentenced to the only available sentence for that offence, life imprisonment. The murder weapon was never found.
Landon was 21-years-old at the time of Bradley’s death. His DNA, found on the victim’s body, played a major part in his conviction.
Karas’s lawyers have maintained their client did not consent to having a sample of his DNA taken for the comparison.
According to the Case summary prepared by the Office of the Registrar of the Supreme Court of Canada, a small amount of seminal fluid was found on Bradley’s body, thus providing a DNA profile.
The police investigation found nothing else in or around the victim’s house to help them identify the murderer.
There was also a claim by a witness who saw a flat-deck welding truck seen leaving her northern Alberta home before the body was found.
During the investigation, police found nothing in Bradley’s home to lead them to her killer. A black flatbed truck and a small white car were seen in Bradley’s driveway in the hours after her death, but police never identified or located the two vehicles. One witness said a man with long, dark hair was driving the truck. Karas was balding and blond at the time.
Karas is now applying under section 745.6 of the Criminal Code for a reduction in the period of parole ineligibility on his life sentence. This hearing is scheduled to take place September 13 – 24, 2021 in the Court of Queen’s Bench (Edmonton). In Canada, first-degree murder carries an automatic life sentence with no chance of parole for 25 years. The “faint hope clause” is the popular name for s.745.6 of the Canadian Criminal Code, a statutory provision that allows prisoners who have been sentenced to life imprisonment with a parole eligibility period of greater than 15 years to apply for early parole once they have served 15 years.
Mr. Karas is currently eligible to apply for parole after serving 18 1/2 years of his sentence. If his application is successful, he may be eligible to apply to the Parole Board of Canada for parole at an earlier date. Even if his application is successful, the Parole Board may choose not to grant Mr. Karas parole. If he is granted parole, he will remain on parole for the rest of his life.
Those with an interest in the case may attend the proceeding and hear evidence about the considerable progress that Mr. Karas has made toward rehabilitation. He has a huge amount of supporters who like himself have maintained that he is innocent.
After he was convicted in 2005 at a jury trial his last words before being taken away was, ” “I want everyone to know I did not kill Doreen Bradley.”
Lakeland Connect will bring you more information about the hearing when available.