Robert Moyes

Man acquitted

VANCOUVER - A former Vancouver woman who has been in witness protection for a decade said Friday she will continue to live in fear after Salvatore Ciancio was acquitted of two counts of first-degree murder and declared free to walk the streets again. 


Report finds no fault in BC killer's parole

A report concludes that no major errors were committed in granting day parole to a British Columbia killer who went on to take part in the murders of 7 people in the province.   

Drug-dealing smuggler's acquittal

VANCOUVER - Longtime Vancouver underworld figure Salvatore Ciancio -- a man involved in two sensational drug-and-murder busts by the RCMP -- has again escaped jail for his unsavoury activity.  Now Ciancio has managed to walk away from a cross-border cocaine conspiracy bust that was the product of a much-touted multimillion-dollar crackdown by the Mounties on organized crime.  PREVIOUS:  Trail leads from drug raid to murders  

RCMP  Media Release - August 7, 2002

ABBOTSFORD, BC: After an extensive 20 month joint investigation, 47 year old ROBERT BRUCE MOYES, was charged yesterday with 7 counts of 1st degree murder.  The 7 drug related slayings occurred in Burnaby and Abbotsford.


EUGENE UYEYAMA (35 years) and his wife MICHELLE (30 years) were killed in their Burnaby residence in December 1995. 


In September 1996, 5 people were killed at an Abbostford rural property:

RAYMOND GRAVES 70 years                      SONTO SITE GRAVES 56 years 

DARYL BRIAN KLASSEN - 30 years                TERESA KLASSEN - 30 years         DAVID KERNAIL SANGHA - 37 years


This complex investigation into organized crime and the large scale importation and distribution of cocaine had national and international implications.   File #E-Division E 96-9047

RCMP Media Release - August 9, 2002

Another man has been charged for the five 1996 Abbotsford murders.  MARK DAMION THERRIEN, 38, was arrested  in Port Coquitlam and now faces 5 counts of First Degree Murder for the five 1996 slayings at a rural property in Abbotsford.

Therrien found guilty of 1996 drug killing on all 5 counts, Feb. 4, 2005.

RCMP Media Release - August 16, 2002

A second man has been arrested and charged for the 1995 murders of a Burnaby couple, Eugene and Michelle Uyeyama.  SALVATORE CIANCIO, 39, faces two counts of First Degree Murder for the 1995 murders.

A parolee with 36 convictions is charged with the murders of seven people

By Marnie Ko

The Report

September 23, 2002

Robert Moyes, 47, a 250-pound man with eyeglasses, a goatee and buzzed head, has spent most of his adult life in prison, except for the times he spent free after winning parole or breaking out. During one escape, he stabbed Gib Perry, a former Nanaimo, B.C., deputy sheriff, five times in the back. The officer, now 87, survived, and Moyes continued his career as a full-time criminal. He amassed 36 criminal convictions in 30 years, and became a heroin and alcohol addict. 

He committed a 1986 bank robbery while escaped from jail, and for that received a life sentence. At the time, Justice George Murray said Moyes "succeeded in terrorizing a number of innocent people," and noted that parole authorities appeared to have "turned a blind eye" to Moyes' background. Mr. Justice Murray was determined to prevent further crimes. "The time has come to put a stop to your predatory activities for as long as possible," he told the man.

Nevertheless, Moyes was released from prison on day parole in 1993. It was then that he met Mark Therrien, another career criminal, while the two were living in a halfway house. While he was on parole, five people were murdered on an Abbotsford farm, and a Burnaby couple were burned to death in their home, just one month before Moyes was caught using heroin and authorities decided to suspend his parole.

On August 7, police arrested Moyes and charged him with five counts of first-degree murder for the September 11, 1996, Abbotsford murders of Raymond Graves, 70, his wife, Sonto, 56, their son, David Sangha, 37, and visiting friends Daryl Klassen, 37, and his wife, Teresa, 33. Two additional murder counts stem from the killing of Eugene Uyeyama, 35, and his wife, Michele, 30, who were burned to death in their Burnaby home on December 21, 1995. (They were rumoured to be police drug informants.) Therrien was charged with five counts of first-degree murder, for the Abbotsford deaths, on August 9. On August 16, a third man, Salvatore Ciancio, 39, was charged with two counts of first-degree murder for the deaths of the Uyeyamas. 

Police will only officially say the murders share a common link as all the deceased were involved in international cocaine distribution. (See story below.) Meanwhile, the crown attorney is attempting to gain a direct indictment for both Therrien and Moyes, bypassing a preliminary hearing. They will appear in court next month.

Moyes had been considered by police a suspect in the Abbotsford murders at one time, but there was no evidence. Finally, says Abbotsford police spokesman Constable Shinder Kirk, after a 20-month investigation involving three police forces, police tied him to the crime scenes and began making arrests. More are expected.

Meanwhile, the National Parole Board faced fierce criticism last month, especially from Canadian Alliance MP Chuck Cadman. Victims'-rights groups and politicians are demanding to know why a man who so blatantly and repeatedly re-offended could have received parole, in spite of his convictions--three attempted murders, forcible confinement, three prison escapes and a number of robberies. In 1974, he and another convict, while en route to prison, pulled makeshift knives, taped to their penises, and repeatedly stabbed the two deputies guarding them. It took more than 100 police officers to find the men and return them to prison. Moyes, convicted of attempted murder, received 15 years. He was paroled in 1980. He soon ended up back in prison, until he walked away from a prison work camp and committed armed robbery at a Campbell River gas station. He got caught, and was sentenced to five years. But he was paroled again. He went to Montreal, where he was convicted of armed robbery, theft, assault and fraud--and jailed for another four years. In 1986, he escaped prison again, walking away while on an unescorted pass.

Police got their man again, but before he could be tried for the escape, he escaped yet again. Friends cut a hole in the prison fence. He was caught, sent to jail, but paroled by 1993. He spent weekdays in the halfway house, and weekends in jail. By 1999, Moyes was back in jail, his parole revoked again for drug use. He had collected more jail time, this time for driving without a licence. When police arrested him in August, he was already in prison, back serving the life sentence for armed robbery. He has been busy; his National Parole Board (NPB) file is 89 pages long. 

Mr. Cadman, Official Opposition Justice critic, objects, "We have a serious supervisory problem if even one parolee commits an offence. This guy was [allegedly] able to get away and spend a few hours murdering people, twice." 

The NPB responded by announcing it will conduct a full investigation of the circumstances of Moyes' release, although Fraser Simmons, Pacific regional director, adds the review is "standard," conducted any time there are "serious allegations that someone on conditional release committed a serious crime."

All in the family

Salvatore Ciancio married Tami Morrisroe, the daughter of a man he knew in jail. Ciancio did not know his new wife was an undercover police informant. Ms. Morrisroe first met "Sal" and Robert Moyes in the mid-'90s. Both men were in prison with her father, Sid Morrisroe, who Ms. Morrisroe believed was wrongfully convicted of the 1983 execution-style murder of Vancouver bar owner Joe Philliponi. 

Ms. Morrisroe only intended to gather enough evidence from Ciancio to free her father from Ferndale prison, in Mission, B.C., where he is currently on day parole from a life sentence. Although she had a common-law husband unaware of her double life, she married Ciancio; he allegedly insisted on a quick marriage, believing Ms. Morrisroe knew too much, but could not legally rat him out if the two were married.

Ms. Morrisroe later told police Ciancio admitted her father was framed and that he knew who was responsible for Philliponi's death. Meanwhile, Ms. Morrisroe worked for an organized crime ring, she later told police, counting millions of dollars in drug profits for the group.

Police sources suggest Ms. Morrisroe provided some of the evidence leading to the arrest of Moyes and his accomplices last month (see main story). She allegedly told police Moyes confessed his role in the Abbotsford slayings to her. Further, police sources indicate the Uyeyamas were murdered because the drug cartel learned they were police informers.

Evidence gathered by Ms. Morrisroe allegedly suggested the mass murder at the farm in Abbotsford was a contract killing intended to take out only the Graves couple. Allegedly, the other victims were simply at the wrong place at the wrong time, although Daryl Klassen was allegedly involved in cocaine distribution and the Graves' son had a record of drug convictions.

Since 1996, Ms. Morrisroe has been in hiding with her family, in the witness-protection program. Much of the evidence she gathered has never been released by RCMP. However, police insiders say Moyes lived with Ciancio for a time, and during this time Ms. Morrisroe alleged she heard Moyes bragging he was a contract killer and did the Abbotsford murders.

Prime Time Crime

Robert Moyes Page 2