Terry Driver, aka the Abbotsford killer, is a convicted Canadian murderer who attacked a total of four teenage girls with a baseball bat, killed one, then taunted police in Abbotsford, British Columbia with letters and phone calls.
Crimes and investigation
Driver attacked two 16-year-old girls with a baseball bat in 1995. One of the girls, Misty Cockerill, attempted to fight back and ultimately survived, but with severe skull fractures. Her companion, Tanya Smith, was beaten, sexually assaulted, and thrown in a river where she drowned, although she would have died of her beating in any event.
After the attack, Driver engaged in a course of bizarre behavior that eventually led to his capture. He made a series of telephone calls to police and emergency services in which he refused to give his name, but clearly identified himself as the killer, and threatened more crimes. Driver, whose father had been a police officer, had an obsession with scanners, and used one to monitor police responses to his telephone calls. He attended the funeral of Tanya Smith, and then later stole her tombstone and put it on the hood of a car belonging to a radio station. He also threw a wrench with a note to police through a stranger's front window. The note mentioned three other similar assaults for which he sought credit. He had left a thumbprint on some tape around the package, and he had left DNA on the body. Police arranged for the broadcast of recordings of the telephone calls, and Driver's brother recognized his voice. His mother concurred in the identification. Police determined that Driver's thumbprint matched the one on the tape, and he was arrested in 1996.
Trial and imprisonment
After his arrest, Driver denied that he had beaten the two girls. He claimed he happened upon them after the crime, raped the unconscious Tanya, and threw her body in the river. He claimed he drove Misty to the hospital. At trial, he did not raise an insanity defense, but claimed he had Tourette's Syndrome, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Attention Deficit Disorder, and urged these impairments be considered to explain his actions. He used this argument to explain that the confessions he gave were false and the product of his disorders. Because of the emotional response that was inevitable in a trial, Driver elected to be tried in front of a judge instead of a jury. The judge was unpersuaded by Driver's arguments and he was convicted in 1997 of the first-degree murder of Tanya Smith and the attempted murder of Misty Cockerill, declared a dangerous offender, and received a mandatory life sentence from Judge Wally Oppal. He appealed, but in 2001, lost.
In a later trial, Driver was convicted of two of the assaults he mentioned in the letter that he threw through the window.
In 2006, Driver was transferred from protective custody at Kent Institution to the Pacific Institution/Regional Treatment Centre in Abbotsford for treatment. Corrections Canada came under criticism for this move.
- Scott Steele (May 20, 1996), "Abbotsford Killer Arrested", Maclean's (The Canadian Encyclopedia), archived from the original on September 26, 2006, retrieved 2010-03-18
- Semrau, Stanley; Judy Gale (2002). Murderous minds on trial: terrible tales from a forensic psychiatrist's case book. Dundurn Press Ltd. pp. 50–66. ISBN 978-1-55002-361-9.
- "Abbotsford killer" declared a dangerous offender, CBC News, January 13, 2000, retrieved 2009-06-28
- Neal Hall (August 22, 2006), "Victim's family upset at return of killer", The Vancouver Sun, retrieved 2009-06-28
- "Terry Driver loses appeal of murder conviction". CBC news. 29 January 2001. Retrieved 13 March 2012.
- "Killer moved to victims' community". canada.com. 22 August 2006. Retrieved 13 March 2012.
- Rod Gehl (2009), Through the Valley of the Shadow: The Search for the Abbotsford Killer, Tate Publishing & Enterprises, ISBN 1-60696-314-7
- Hall, Neal (17 Oct 1997). "Convicted Abbotsford killer suspected in 3 more murders". Vancouver Sun. Retrieved 14 March 2012. Transcription of article from Vancouver Sun with considerable information on this case, and concerning the three prior assaults.