1990 family photo of Gavin Joseph Mandin
Credits: Family Photo
But when it finally happened last October it still came as a surprise, she said.
"I suspected that he would. He was going through all the steps that are normal for the release of somebody from prison," said Mandin-Kossowan from her Edmonton-area home. "Given the crime that he's committed and the fact that the conditions on his release are about relationships, and that there is a moderate risk of re-offending, that's where the surprise comes in."
News of Mandin's release is very unsettling for his surviving family members who've suffered life-long effects due to Gavin's violent actions on Aug. 6, 1991.
On that day, his family, who lived in St. Albert, just north of Edmonton, had just returned to their vacation property near Valleyview from a shopping trip. Mandin, 15 at the time, was perched at a window inside the home and shot his step-father Maurice in the head as he got out of the family car. He then fired shots at his mother Susan, who remained in the car with his two younger sisters, Islay and Janelle.
Gavin came out of the house, shooting his mother and father again, then firing at his sisters at close range. The victims were shot multiple times. Gavin continued to fire the gun even after it was empty.
He cut open his mother's clothes with a knife, exposing her naked body. Bound with a rope behind a motorized bike, Gavin dragged his step-father's body for nearly a mile to a meadow and returned home. He then drove the vehicle with his murdered mother and sisters to a nearby tree-line and left it there.
Mandin stayed at the property for another day and a half before he left in the family van. Police attempted to stop him over concerns with his driving, but he fled the scene, sparking a high-speed chase and was later arrested.
Mandin pleaded not guilty to the killings and was convicted of four counts of second-degree murder. The court tried him as an adult in 1994 and sentenced him to life with no eligibility for parole for 10 years.
In July 2001, Mandin applied for full parole, but was denied.
"It is of great concern that you display to those who deal with you little remorse for your crimes or empathy for your sisters, mother and step-father," wrote the board in its decision, noting Mandin displayed narcissistic tendencies consistent with abnormal personality traits.
According to the parole board, Mandin developed hatred towards his mother at a very young age.
Earlier psychological and psychiatric assessments suggested Mandin was psychopathic. This was disputed in a later report that suggested the shooting was an isolated incident.
Mandin-Kossowan was one of the relatives who attended the July 2001 hearing, hoping to see signs of compassion in Mandin's eyes. But he wouldn't meet her eyes.
Mandin was soon moved to a prison in Ontario.
Dates for the October 2012 hearing were changed without much notice, said Mandin-Kossowan, making it difficult to see for herself if there has been any progress.
Now 36 years old, Mandin goes by the name Gavin Ian Maclean -- the name of his biological father, who split with his mother when he was a child.
As part of his release, he is to have no contact with any of the victim's families, with the exception of one person who's supported him from the beginning.
It's not known where he is residing, but family believes he's still in Ontario.