Keep killer behind bars, Moffitt family will plead
Keep killer behind bars, Moffitt family will plead

    Keep killer behind bars, Moffitt family will plead


    Staff Writer

    The National Parole Board says the parents of a slain Brockville man will have their chance to explain why their son's killer should remain in jail.

    The victim's mother says she will use the opportunity to do whatever it takes to keep the man behind bars.

    The words will flow, Paulette Moffitt said Saturday, when she explains to parole board officials on December 8 how the thrust of Henry Danninger's knife one wintry night in Ottawa robbed her son Andrew Moffitt of his life and permanently devastated the family of the 23-year-old Good Samaritan, who was simply trying to stop a fight when he died.

    "They said it was the drugs that made him to do it, but that's no message for the young people - there's no excuses for taking a life," Moffitt said.

    "I want (Danninger) in prison. (Andrew's younger brother) Michael was 11 when it happened, and it was two days before Christmas and he ran to the front door thinking it was Andy coming home and instead it was the policeman."

    Danninger, also a Brockville native, was sentenced to five years in prison 18 months ago after fatally stabbing Moffitt, a University of Ottawa engineering student, at the Coyote Bar in Ottawa just before Christmas of 1998.

    Danninger went to the bar armed with a knife to confront a roommate he believed was stealing his drug stash. Moffitt died while trying to intervene, a heroic attempt that posthumously earned him the Governor-General's Medal of Bravery.

    Now Danninger has served a third of his sentence and become eligible for a parole hearing, said NPB spokesman John Vandoremalen.

    But that doesn't mean he'll automatically be released, Vandoremalen 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 family will have a chance to address the parole board, Vandoremalen said. The panel will afterwards choose between day or full parole, or deny an offender any type of release.

    The thought of Danninger resuming his life after destroying her family chills Moffitt.

    "For him to be free and out as if nothing has happened - for him to be able to go on with his life ..." Moffitt said, her voice trailing off. "We wanted him in jail and when he was only given five years then he should be put in for five years. He shouldn't be out for being a good prisoner - he should be paying the price.

    "We just can't believe it's here already, that we have to take it in all over again," she said. "We've been doing our statements and it is just like re-living the whole nightmare. It just brings it all back.

    "We can't sleep and I'm up half the night thinking about Andy and facing the killer again."

    Moffitt said she often contemplated suicide following her son's death. "I'll be driving the car and I'll think, 'That's the perfect spot to just end it,'" she said.

    She perseveres, she said, for her husband of 35 years, Rodney, her 32-year-old son Rod Jr. and especially for her son Michael, now 17, who suffers still from the death of his beloved older brother.

    She speaks to the media about such a personal tragedy because she feels others must know how the system can fail the victims of crime.

    "We're not strong, but we have no choice," she said. "We either fight or we give up."

    (With files from the Ottawa Sun)

  • Published in Section A, page 1 in the Monday, October 25, 2004 edition of the Brockville Recorder & Times.
  • Posted 4:37:41 PM Monday, October 25, 2004.


   Letter to the Media
   Bill C-393
   Our Angel
   Thank You
   Mike's Speech
   Memorial Speech
   Andy's Story
   Our Brother