Ontario man who killed mother granted full parole after 12 years

After killing his mother at age 15 and receiving a life sentence in 2010, an Ontario man has been granted full parole. 

Cody Barnoski, now 29, was given an adult sentence for first-degree murder in 2010 for the violent death of Michelle Barnoski in Warkworth, Ont.

The 2008 murder shocked the small community about 50 kilometres northwest of Belleville, leading police on a two-week search before Michelle Barnoski was found buried in her own backyard.

She had been shot eight times in the head and neck and brutally beaten after an argument with her son over skipping school.

Cody Barnoski was granted full parole with a number of conditions, according to a Parole Board of Canada decision dated Sept. 21. 

He had first been granted day parole in the fall of 2020 after he served parts of his original sentence at Millhaven, Beaver Creek and Sprucedale Institutions. 

In its decision, the board noted the progress Barnoski has made since his incarceration and ruled he would “not present an undue risk to society.”

The conditions include not having contact with anyone involved in criminal activity and not to contact the family members of the victim, both of which are standard upon release. 

Special to Barnoski, he must meet with a mental health professional to discuss “emotions management and reintegration stressors and follow any recommended treatment plan or program.”

Upon being sentenced, Barnoski was given a lifetime weapons ban and was required to provide a DNA sample to a federal database. 

Barnoski’s co-accused, Marc Vickers, the Barnoskis’ roommate and landlord, was also given a life sentence in 2010. His final appeal was dismissed in March 2020. 

Nina Pelletier, Michelle Barnoski’s sister and Cody’s aunt, told Newstalk 580 CFRA she was shocked by the decision to grant her nephew full parole

Pelletier said she had submitted a letter to the parole board in July and had expected a hearing would be held but was informed of the decision the morning it was made. 

Parole board outlines Barnoski’s progress, tough upbringing 

Barnoski was an only child and both of his parents had substance abuse issues, struggled financially and moved often, the parole board noted in its decision.

He attended nine different schools in 10 years and showed behaviour problems when he was as young as seven, used cannabis at nine and spent most weekends with his grandparents. 

The parole board noted Barnoski was “verbally and physically abused, and endured poor parenting and neglect.” 

Despite mitigating factors, the board said there remains no excuse for his mother’s murder, a crime the judge called “nothing short of horrific, callous and brutal.”

Since being granted day parole in 2020, Barnoski has shown positive behaviour and abided by all of his conditions. He has maintained employment and has continued work toward his welding ticket through a college apprenticeship program. 

He secured his own apartment in May, where Barnoski will continue to live, according to his release plan. 

Barnoski remains a moderate risk to re-offend and in summarizing his psychologist’s report to the board, the decision stated his ‘best chance to remain free of criminal activity was…to be closely monitored during conditional releases.’

All conditions will remain in place for the remainder of Barnoski’s life sentence unless removed or amended by the board. 

Co-accused not eligible for parole until 2035

Marc Vickers remains in custody at Bath Institution in Kingston and is not eligible for parole until 2035.

He maintains he was an accessory after the fact of Barnoski’s murder but had nothing to do with the murder itself. 

Speaking to News Talk 580 CFRA from prison, Vickers said he was reluctant to speak on the record about the case because he’s been told it would likely work against any case for parole in the future.

His mother, Katherine Rawlings, spoke to CFRA when Barnoski was granted day parole in 2020. 

She, too, maintains her son did not kill Michelle Barnoski. 

“I can’t believe he’s allowed to be out and free and Marc’s still in jail and innocent,” she said at the time. 

“The justice system is broken.” 

Barnoski has not responded to previous requests to discuss his parole status and the involvement of his co-accused. 

The parole board’s decision specifically noted that Barnoski had shot his mother and beaten her after an argument. It made no mention of Vickers’s involvement in the actual act of murder. 

A lawyer for Vickers said the only chance of a new trial would be for Barnsoki to declare he wasn’t involved, a scenario he called ‘highly unlikely.’

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