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Parole condition lifted for man who murdered area woman in 1989

James Brown, who was convicted of murdering Debbie Timlock, has been out of prison and on full parole for the last five years, he is still barred from consuming drugs or alcohol
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The Parole Board of Canada has lifted one of the parole conditions for James Douglas Brown, allowing the man convicted of murdering a Collingwood woman in 1989 to go into bars, but not to consume alcohol. 

"The board has decided to remove the special condition, not to enter establishments where the primary source of income is derived from the sale or consumption of alcohol," states the parole board's decision, made on July 17, 2023. Brown, now 57 years old, has been out of prison on full parole for five years. 

James Brown was in his early 20s when he was convicted of first-degree murder for killing 33-year-old Debbie Timlock, a single mother, in her home on Oak Street on June 19, 1989. He was tried and found guilty in 1992 and served a life sentence. During a 2010 parole hearing, Brown admitted to the murder.

Brown struck Timlock on the head and stabbed her several times. 

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 that still bore the markings of 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.

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. 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 Parole Board of Canada granted full parole on Oct. 16, 2018 with three conditions in place: Brown was not to consume alcohol, not to enter drinking establishments, and he was not to consume drugs. 

The orders not to consume alcohol or drugs remain in place. Brown was under the influence of both alcohol and drugs when he murdered Timlock and had been drinking in a bar earlier that same evening. 

"Since that time, there have been no concerns with your behaviour and there are no outstanding program requirements," states the July 17, 2023 parole board decision. 

The parole board noted Brown's case management team listed two occasions where he would have entered a bar for a purpose other than consuming alcohol, which was part of the reason for the request to remove the condition of his parole barring him from entering drinking establishments. 

"Your case management team advised that you are assessed as no longer having any need in the area of substance abuse," states the parole board decision document. "This assessment is based on many years of abstinence and a long-term sustained motivation to maintain lifestyle changes." 

At Brown's sentencing, the judge also imposed a lifetime weapons prohibition, according to the parole board document. 

Previously, 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.

According to the most recent parole board decision, the most recent psychological risk assessment completed on Jan. 20 2016, identified the risk of general and violent recidivism at "low-moderate." 

"Your accountability, reintegration potential and motivation level are assessed as high," states the parole board decision. "According to the current correctional plan update, the area of attitude is the only identified need area and it is assessed as a low need." 

The parole board also noted progress for Brown, including five years on full parole, a stable relationship, and full-time employment.