The man convicted of murdering a Collingwood woman in 1989 has been granted full parole and released from prison.
James Brown was in his early 20s when he was convicted of first-degree murder for killing Debbie Timlock, a single mother, in her home on June 19, 1989. He was tried and found guilty in 1992 and served a life sentence.
CollingwoodToday recently obtained the decision to grant full parole, which was made by the Parole Board of Canada on Oct. 16, 2018.
Brown had been granted day parole in July 2015. By July 2018, Brown received expanded leave privileges of five nights in the community and two nights in a community-based residential facility.
The parole board decision document indicated Brown’s parole officer said he had become a member of a club, the name of which was redacted, and was volunteering with the club at community events.
A letter accompanying the parole board decision stated the information was redacted because it could “reasonably be expected to jeopardize the safety of a person and/or adversely affect the reintegration of the offender into society.”
Timlock died of a stab wound to the heart. She was also stabbed in the back, which damaged her spinal cord, and the investigators in her case assume she was paralyzed from the waist down.
Timlock called police from her apartment, but died before emergency responders arrived. The parole decision document also states there was evidence of asphyxia and sexual assault.
Timlock’s murder was a mystery for several months, but investigators focused on two key pieces of evidence: A squished tomato in the grass outside Timlock’s window with a herringbone pattern stamped into it from a shoe, and a pair of eyeglasses.
An episode of Forensic Files includes details of the investigation and how those on the case used both the tomato and the glasses to connect Brown to the murder.
Brown was formerly Timlock’s neighbour and friends said she reported he had made advances at her in the past.
He was convicted of first-degree murder and assault causing bodily harm. The second charge came from Brown kneeing a correctional officer in the stomach during a routine search, according to the document.
Brown was a competitive wrestler and Olympic hopeful. He had past convictions for assault (4X), assault causing bodily harm (X2), property offences (X2), and fail to comply with recognizance, according to the parole document.
The conditions of his parole state he is not to consume alcohol, he is to avoid drinking establishments, and he is not to consume drugs. The parole document states he was under the influence of both alcohol and drugs at the time of the murder.
Brown is now 52 years old. According to the parole document, Brown married while serving his life sentence. Since being granted day parole, he got a job and told the board he saved money for the future, including purchasing a vehicle and saving for prescription glasses.
“You attributed your progress to your strong work ethic,” states the document. “This is to your credit as it speaks to your commitment to be a productive person while also minimizing financial stress in your reintegration process.”
The report also states Brown has support from his wife and sister.
“Overall, you attribute most of your successful reintegration to the support of your wife,” states the decision document. “The board finds your wife to be an important protective factor in your reintegration.”
The parole document states Brown’s passes have been “incident free” and his social schedule suggests he is reintegrating quite seamlessly back into the community.
Information on where Brown is living has been redacted.
“Given your assessed low risk, financial stability and your demonstrated abilities to live a law-abiding lifestyle, the Board does not find that your risk would be undue on an expanded form of conditional release. Therefore, full parole is granted,” states the document.
Brown will be on full parole for the remainder of his life.
The board’s opinion is that Brown does not present an undue risk to society if released.
On April 12, 2019, someone posted in a Collingwood Facebook group called “If you grew up in Collingwood … you remember,” under the name James Brown. It’s not clear if the account belonged to Brown.
The post read as follows:
“I know what I did. I have no excuse. 140 ounces of alcohol and drugs all supplied by the Mountain View staff in three hours. I also have no memory of it.
“Never asked for forgiveness or to be forgotten. And before this happened I was still born and raised in Collingwood. What people think is irrelevant. What I do with my life going forward is what matters.
“I know I can’t make it right or even make up for what I’ve done but as long as I try to leave the world a better place after 26 years seven months. I may have earned at least a chance.”
Nearly immediately, members of the group protested Brown being allowed in the group. He was removed within hours. The Facebook account was deleted the same day.