From the Toronto Star
Jul 28, 2009 01:01 PM
A 17-year-old girl who relentlessly pressured her boyfriend into murdering Stefanie Rengel has been sentenced to life in prison with no eligibility to apply for parole for seven years.
By sentencing the girl who until now could only be identified as M.T. as an adult under Canada’s Youth Criminal Justice Act, Justice Ian Nordheimer automatically lifted a publication ban on the young killer’s identity today.
She can now be identified as Melissa Todorovic.
Had Todorovic been sentenced as a youth, her name could never have been published and she would have been handed just a 10-year term, only six of which would be served in custody.
With her being sentenced as a so-called adult under youth justice laws, authorities will be able to monitor her for life.
"The facts are … unprecedented. One can only hope that they remain so given how truly malevolent they are in their content," Nordheimer said in delivering sentence this morning.
"The concept that teenage angst becomes a driving force for murder leaves one both shocked and incredulous at its manifestation."
Todorovic appeared to tremble slightly after the verdict, and did not look at her parents, brother and grandmother, who were sitting in the front row, as she was led away.
Her younger brother and mother, Rachel, leaned against each other crying.
In March, a jury convicted her of first-degree murder in 14-year-old Stefanie’s death.
At age 15, the jealous young killer waged an eight-month campaign of phone calls, text messages and online chats with her boyfriend D.B., threatening to withhold sex unless he killed Stefanie, whom she had never met but saw as a rival.
D.B., now 19, has pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and will be sentenced in the fall. He admits to luring Stefanie from her family’s East York home on New Year’s Day 2008 and stabbing her six times, leaving her to die in the snow just steps from her door.
Outside court, Stefanie’s younger brother Ian Rengel, read a statement from the family.
"We are relieved with the ruling for an adult sentence and we appreciate the difficult decision that Judge Nordheimer faced. Melissa Todorovic is a disturbed individual who needs all the help our system has to offer," he said, flanked by his parents.
"We pray that she benefits from all the services now available to her and can grow to heal and become a balanced and rational member of society."
Ian then told reporters that he felt "pretty relieved that it’s all over. We still have more to go but at least some of it has been done," he said, apparently referring to the upcoming sentencing for D.B.
A court-appointed forensic psychiatrist, Dr. Philip Klassen, testified that the young female killer has borderline personality organization disorder, which in extreme adult examples is like the jealous lover played by Glenn Close in the movie Fatal Attraction.
But Dr. Julian Gojer, a forensic psychiatrist retained by the defence, disagreed. He said she suffers from body image disorder that leaves her desperately insecure over relationships.
Both psychiatrists said she has not taken full responsibility for her role.
On the last day of her sentencing hearing two weeks ago, she made a tearful apology to Stefanie’s family and claimed she would never offend again. But prosecutor Robin Flumerfelt dismissed this as an 11th-hour self-serving statement that fell far short of true remorse.
Whatever the psychological reasons, she waged an unrelenting campaign in person, through phone calls, text messages and MSN Web chats to get D.B. to kill Stefanie.
For instance, on Dec. 17, 2007, she messaged him, "UR (you’re) getting blocked until u kill her."
She threatened to withhold sex unless he did her bidding.
Some of the most damning evidence against her was contained in the two statements she gave police.
She admitted to two homicide detectives that on the morning of Jan. 1, 2008 she told D.B. that she had had a dream that he and Stefanie were "fooling around," and told him she wanted the girl dead.
Later that day, the young couple exchanged a flurry of calls before and after Stefanie was killed.
At around 5 p.m., D.B. phoned her to let her know he was armed with a 20-centimetre knife and was on his way to Stefanie’s house to kill her.
She admitted that she told him he could do what he wanted, which she told detectives meant, "If you want to kill her, kill her."
She also phoned Stefanie’s cell phone minutes after the girl died.
After the slaying, the female killer invited D.B. over to her house. He messaged her at 7:07 p.m., "I love u hunny I can’t wait to see u."
The young couple made love, D.B.’s reward for a job well done, the prosecutor alleged.