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Former NHL goalie Don Edwards fights to keep parents' killer in jail

Toronto Sun crime reporter Chris Doucette. (Sun files)

By Chris Doucette, Toronto Sun

Don Edwards (inset) and his parents Arnold and Donna, who were slain in 24 years ago. (Postmedia Network file photo)

Don Edwards (inset) and his parents Arnold and Donna, who were slain in 24 years ago. (Postmedia Network file photo)

TORONTO - 

Former NHL goaltender Don Edwards estimates he stopped millions of pucks during his stellar hockey career, but preventing the man who butchered his parents and attempted to kill his sister from ever walking the streets again as a free man has been the toughest test of his life.

For nearly a quarter of a century, his family has fought to keep George Lovie locked up, fearing he might one day return to finish the murderous rampage he began in a small town south of Hamilton in 1991.

But with the justice system stacked in favour of the convicted killer, the day the Edwards family has long feared is drawing near.

“It’s like they’re creating the stage for him to exit,” Edwards told the Toronto Sun Saturday. “And we’re fighting like hell to keep him in there.”

The 59-year-old, who won a Vezina tending goal for the Sabres in 1980 and played briefly for the Leafs as his career wound down, said his entire family has lived in hiding since his parents Arnold and Donna were slain trying to protect their daughter Michele in their Glanbrook home.

Now Corrections Canada has notified them that the Beaver Creek Institution, where Lovie is serving three life sentences, granted the killer two months of unescorted day passes to participate in a work release program in Gravenhurst starting Tuesday.

The Edwards have also learned Lovie will appear before the parole board June 11 seeking approval for six unescorted days to visit a Sudbury halfway house, where he’s considering living upon release.

Edwards said the thought of Lovie roaming freely again is unimaginable considering his crimes.

His family was forced to re-lived the ordeal during the trial and again each time they deliver victim impact statements to the parole board.

In court, family members also heard how Lovie planned to kidnap and murder Michele’s nieces and nephews, including Edwards’ three kids who were all under eight at the time.

Lovie was found guilty of two counts of first-degree murder and attempted murder and sentenced to 25 years to life for each count.

But Edwards’ once promising sports broadcasting career was derailed as he struggled with PTSD and the entire family has remained in hiding ever since, worrying Lovie might one day track them down.

“Our lives changed forever, so did our children’s lives,” Edwards wife, Tannis, said, explaining their kids changed schools and couldn’t go to sleepovers, among other things.

“It’s been very stressful,” she said.

The Edwards want desperately to see Lovie finally declared a dangerous offender and never set free.

They managed to deter Lovie from seeking parole to a halfway house in Peterborough a couple of years ago.

And while there is nothing they can do to stop his unescorted day trips to Gravenhurst because Beaver Creek’s warden, Scott Tempest, is solely charged with decisions regarding the work release program, the family hopes to stop Lovie’s visit to Sudbury.

“Our entire family is determined and we will never give up,” Edwards said, adding it’s the least they can do for Arnold and Donna, who devoted their lives to their four kids.

“Their support in helping me get to where I wanted to go in life was unwavering,” he said.

Sadly, he admits it’s hard to be optimistic when Lovie is already enjoying the comforts of a minimum security prison.

“He could just walk right out of that prison at any time,” Edwards said.

*******

Don Edwards remembers the vicious murders of his parents and brutal attack on his sister like it happened yesterday.

Sitting in a Hamilton courtroom back in 1992, listening to the 911 call recording of his dad crying out, “You bastard, leave my family alone,” as he fought bravely to protect his daughter, is something that will haunt him forever.

As will the sound of convicted killer George Lovie asking his father, “Do you like me now?” as he plunged a knife into him.

Edwards said his father, Arnold, 63, worked 34 years at Dofasco and couldn’t always afford the quarter for a cup of coffee at the rink but always made sure there was gas in the car to get there.

And his mother, Donna, 61, an Avon representative who was active in local charities and made sure the four kids grew up healthy and happy.

Both taken away in one horrific killing spree.

The family’s ordeal began in 1990 after younger sister, Michele, briefly dated Lovie and dumped him when he became overly possessive, Edwards recalled.

Months later, on Feb. 19, 1991, Michele was attacked at knifepoint over several hours in her Glanbrook apartment, for which Lovie was charged with forcible confinement and assault with a weapon.

“Before he left, he warned that if she told our mom and dad, or the cops, he’d kill our parents,” Edwards said, adding Lovie ultimately stayed true to his word.

Michele, then 27, reported the attack to Hamilton-Wentworth Regional Police and Lovie was arrested. But he was released on bail two days later — the beginning of the justice system failing the Edwards family.

Edwards said Lovie stalked his sister after his arrest. And although she reported it to cops several times, it wasn’t taken “seriously.”

On Mar. 21, 1991, as Michele headed to work just before 7 a.m., Lovie was waiting outside her home armed with a rifle, he said.

Lovie, then 32, opened fire but missed as she ran for her life to her parents home down the street.

“My parents were awakened by the sound of the gunshot,” Edwards said.

His parents tried desperately to protect Michele, he said. Donna barricaded one door with furniture while Arnold wedged his own body against another door.

“He ended up smashing his way in through a sliding glass door and shot my mom as she ran down the hall,” Edwards said. “Then he tried to shoot my dad but the rifle jammed, so he pulled out a knife and stabbed him to death.”

Lovie spared Michele, leaving her to live with the memory of her parents grisly deaths.

“We all went through hell and we’re still going through hell,” Edwards said.

 


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