National News

Woman convicted in Stefanie Rengel killing not committed to rehabilitation: parole board

By The Canadian Press

Published 1:03 PDT, Tue September 10, 2019

A woman who convinced her boyfriend to kill his teenage ex more than a decade ago showed a lack of commitment to rehabilitation when she purposely hid two romantic relationships while living in a halfway house, the Parole Board of Canada said Tuesday.

A woman who convinced her boyfriend to kill his teenage ex more than a decade ago showed a lack of commitment to rehabilitation when she purposely hid two romantic relationships while living in a halfway house, the Parole Board of Canada said Tuesday.

The board revoked Melissa Todorovic's day parole last month after finding she had breached one of the conditions of her release, which required her to disclose any romantic or platonic relationships.

The one-member panel released its reasons Tuesday, saying Todorovic's "purposeful and calculated" deception meant she posed an undue risk to the public and could no longer be managed in the community.

"You withheld information about being in unhealthy relationships with men throughout interventions that target relationships," Shannon Stewart wrote in the document.

"Such a lack of commitment towards your rehabilitation at this juncture is problematic in the management of your risk and the board is left to believe that you are uninterested to change the behaviours that ultimately led to the murder of an innocent girl."

Todorovic was granted six months of day parole last November after the board found she had made progress in understanding what led her to mastermind the 2008 killing of 14-year-old Stefanie Rengel. She was required to report any new relationships because an unhealthy romance was one of the factors that led to her crime, the board said at the time.

Her day parole was suspended in March after one of her parole officers discovered she was involved in a clandestine love triangle. Last month's hearing at the Grand Valley Institution for Women in Kitchener, Ont., aimed to determine whether the suspension should be lifted.

During the hearing, Todorovic's parole officer said the 27-year-old became romantically involved with a man on probation, and then later with his friend. She was seeing both men simultaneously and appeared to be turning them against each other, the officer said.

Todorovic said she knew it was wrong to keep the relationships secret but denied manipulating the two men.

The board noted in its reasons that Todorovic appeared to be engaged in her correctional plan, which involved counselling, but her lack of transparency means her participation was "superficial at best."

"You attended programming and counselling and spoke of your relationships and emotions, without disclosing the relationships you were in," Stewart wrote.

"This demonstrates not only a flagrant violation of your special conditions but it also suggests that you were not truly motivated to implement the skills you have learned over the years through the plethora of programming and counselling you have attended."

Todorovic has 60 days from the date of the hearing to appeal the ruling, otherwise the board is not required to weigh her case for a year.

She was convicted in 2009 for orchestrating Rengel's murder and sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for seven years, the maximum sentence for someone her age. Her former boyfriend and accomplice, David Bagshaw, is also serving a life sentence.

Todorovic grew obsessed with Rengel despite having never met her because Bagshaw had briefly dated the girl years earlier. Over months, she repeatedly threatened to break up with Bagshaw or withhold sex unless he killed Rengel.

He eventually carried out her command, luring Rengel out of her family's Toronto home on New Year's Day 2008 and stabbing her six times.

– Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Press

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