Content warning: this article contains details of violence that some readers may find disturbing.
Twenty-five years ago, a murderer and child rapist laughed in the face of justice as he was sentenced in a Kingston courthouse to life in prison. Now, he may be free to return to society — but not if one of his victims has her way.
Richard Charles Joyce’s parole hearing, originally scheduled for this first week of August 2023, has been rescheduled to sometime in September. Kerri Kehoe, a victim and survivor of Joyce’s attacks, wants the public to know about this change and is asking for help to keep him off the streets.
Joyce was convicted along with his crony, Terry Douglas Kennedy, of the heinous 1991 murder of Yvonne Rouleau at Nozzles Gas Bar in downtown Kingston, which has been closed for decades. Joyce and Kennedy tortured Rouleau to force her to open the floor safe at the gas bar, before ultimately cutting her throat and leaving her to die, according to court records.
News reports at the time record that Joyce laughed when he heard the verdict declaring him guilty of murder in the first degree. He was sentenced to 25 years in prison.
Years later, in 2010, DNA linked Joyce to three more heinous crimes. He had kidnapped, molested, and raped at least three little girls in Kingston, aged nine, 10 and 11, according to court records. Kehoe was one of those girls, and her testimony helped convict Joyce of his crimes.
Joyce pleaded guilty to nine different charges related to the kidnappings and rapes, and 12 years were added to his sentence.
Kehoe was kidnapped and molested by Joyce in 2002 when she was just 11 years old. When he was finally sentenced for his crimes against her, she was given to understand he would ultimately die in prison. Since then, Kehoe has become an advocate for victims of child sexual abuse.
Earlier this year, Kehoe was informed that Joyce wants out and is seeking parole. He is currently incarcerated at William Head Institution, a minimum-security federal correctional institution for men located in Metchosin, British Columbia, about 25 kilometres southwest of Victoria on the southernmost tip of Vancouver Island.
Kehoe expressed shock at the prospect of Joyce being paroled: “This man is seriously sick, and you cannot convince me that there’s anything that helps a predator, a pedophile, a murderer… He’s cascaded his way down to minimum security, and I think the public needs to know that he could be released in six weeks. That’s pretty serious.”
She is also aware that Joyce still has associations with people in the Kingston area, a fact that makes her anxious about her own safety should he return to this region. More generally, Kehoe went on, “I just think the story needs to be told. Does society even know how twisted and sick this man is [who] came from our community?”
Kehoe said she reached out to Kingstonist most recently to let the public know that the parole hearing date has been changed, and that she would like the support of people who can spare the time to observe the hearing online.
“My limited understanding is that having a large number of attendees at the Parole Board hearing may be beneficial because the board members will know that the public is paying attention,” said Kehoe in a text message.
“This is important to our community… He laughed at sentencing!” she emphasized. “[Yvonne Rouleau] was tortured, her murder was deliberate, and he took pleasure recounting the murder [in court]. And three little girls were at his mercy.”
Now he wants to return to society, but Kehoe would like the public to support her and his other victims in an effort to keep Joyce in prison.
“He should only come out in a body bag,” she said.
Members of the public who wish to attend the parole hearing by video must register in advance by filling out and submitting the online form. Additionally, Kehoe encouraged members of the public to write the Parole Board of Canada’s Pacific Regional Office to express their opinions. Contact information for that office can be found on the Government of Canada’s Parole Board website.
Kingstonist will continue to follow this story and provide updates as more information becomes available.