WHILE THEY'RE sentenced to a lifetime of heartbreak, the man who knifed
their son through the heart may soon be set free. The Moffitt family is
devastated that Henry Danninger, who pleaded guilty to manslaughter in
the death of their son Andy, could soon be released from jail.
Danninger was sentenced to five years in prison 18 months ago.
But the Brockville family has been notified by the National Parole
Board that Danninger, also a Brockville native, has a parole hearing
"When he finally went to jail, it gave us some closure," Paulette Moffitt said.
"He was finally where he belonged for taking someone's life. We knew we wouldn't see him around.
"We're in shock. I guess it will be like this forever -- we were sentenced with this heartbreak for the rest of our lives."
Danninger was sentenced after fatally stabbing Moffitt, a 23-year-old
University of Ottawa engineering student, at the Coyote Bar just before
Christmas of 1998.
Danninger, a drug dealer, went to the bar armed with a knife to confront a roommate he thought was stealing his stash.
Moffitt died trying to break up the fight. All his family has as solace is his Governor General's Medal of Bravery.
The Moffitts will have a chance to tell their story to the parole board, said NPB spokesman John Vandoremalen.
Offenders like Danninger are eligible for a hearing after serving
one-third of their sentence but that doesn't mean they'll automatically
be released, he said.
A two-member panel will consider everything in an offender's history to
determine if he or she poses too great a threat to be released. The
panel is also looking for evidence that offenders understand what led
them to crime and have plans for a law-abiding life.
The panel can choose between day or full parole or deny an offender any kind of release.
Six out of 10 offenders are denied full parole on their first try, but
only 250 of 5,000 offenders eligible for statutory release are held
until the end of their sentence.
The panel will first consider victim-impact statements from families like the Moffitts, who can also attend parole hearings.
Preparing a victim-impact statement has brought back the horror of their son's murder, Paulette Moffitt said.
She lives in fear of again seeing Danninger walking the streets of Brockville.
"It's like we're reliving everything again," she said.
"All I see is Andy lying on that floor with a knife wound in his heart.
"It's starting all over again for us."