A man serving a life sentence for murdering a Hay River, N.W.T., RCMP officer has married and fathered a child while in prison.
In November 2009, Emrah Bulatci was sentenced to the mandatory life with no parole for 25 years for first-degree murder.
He had shot and killed RCMP Const. Christopher Worden in the early hours of Oct. 6, 2007. Bulatci, who had been 23 at the time, had travelled to Hay River from his home in High Level, Alta., to sell cocaine. He shot the 30-year-old police officer following a chance encounter as Bulatci was leaving the house he had been selling drugs from.
Bulatci fled Hay River and after an intense six-day manhunt was arrested at a home in Edmonton.
According to parole board documents, a long-term common-law relationship Bulatci had been involved in ended in 2013.
In December 2016, he married another woman, and a year ago, she gave birth to their son. Bulatci could not see his child right away because the prison he is being held at (which is not specified in the documents) was on lockdown for 118 days due to COVID-19.
Prisons allow private visits
Corrections Canada allows inmates to have private visits with their partners and/or children for up to 72 hours every two months. The visits typically occur in separate structures within the prison, each with two bedrooms and a kitchen and living area.
In addition to these private visits, Bulatci, who is now 36 years old, has been permitted to temporarily leave the prison four times. Three of these escorted leaves have been for medical treatment.
A fourth was to allow him to be photographed to obtain an immigration card. When he was a child, Bulatci’s family immigrated to Canada from Turkey. Bulatci’s case manager told the parole board that Bulatci has no government-issued identification and the immigration card is a first step toward getting some.
For that fourth visit, he was to be driven in a corrections vehicle, handcuffed and in leg irons and accompanied by two armed guards. At the time of the decision, citizenship offices were closed due to COVID-19. Although Bulatci got permission to leave to have his photo taken, it is unclear when or if he actually did.
Multiple security incidents
Bulatci is not eligible for unescorted temporary absences from prison until 2029. He is currently classified as a medium-security inmate.
While in prison, he has been directly involved in 35 security incidents, including twice being caught using marijuana, as well as getting involved in an inmate assault.
According to the parole board documents, Bulatci has made progress in recent years, and has not been involved in any security related incidents since 2019. He has completed a number of programs, including several to address his violent tendencies, and worked in a number of different jobs in the prison.
In recounting the hearing held late last year for Bulatci’s temporary absence to get a photo for his citizenship card, the parole board paraphrased his final words to the board:
“You said you want the board to know that your actions hurt a lot of people — not only the victim’s family, but also his friends and his community. You said you cannot make it OK and you will have to live with that for the rest of your life.”