Convicted GTA Hitman Denied Full Parole, Granted Limited Release
Hitman Charles Gagné was denied full parole, but will be released on a limited basis in the Greater Toronto Area, where he murdered former professional boxer and noted mob figure Eddie Melo and his friend Jaoa ( Johnny) Pavao two decades ago.
Gagne, 48, a former husky fitness club employee, appeared to tear up briefly during his deposition at an online parole hearing on Friday, but showed little emotion when he heard the decision of the advice.
Gagné had applied for unescorted temporary absences and day parole, with release to a halfway house in downtown Toronto.
He was granted 60 days of unescorted temporary absences in the GTA, but no unescorted overnight stays.
A decision will be made later on his application for day parole, said MW Sandford of the parole board.
Gagne was on an unescorted day pass from an Ottawa-area halfway house on April 6, 2001, when he murdered Melo, 40, and his friend Pavao, 42, near Hurontario Street and QEW for the pledge of $75,000.
Gagné is serving a life sentence after pleading guilty to second degree murder. The former Quebec resident is now at the minimum-security facility in Beaver Creek, in the cottage country north of Toronto,
Gagné told the board that he was never officially part of the Hells Angels program, although he moved in biker circles.
“I worked for them but I wasn’t a real soldier for them,” Gagné said, adding that he wasn’t a member of the Mafia either.
He said he was driven by an urge to ascend into the underworld when he agreed to assassinate Melo, who was once the Toronto driver of the now deceased Montreal mobster Santos (Frank) Cotroni.
He told the board at a previous hearing that Pavao was killed because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Gagne said he agreed to help the prosecution in the murders of Melo and Pavao after feeling abandoned by so-called friends he met in prison while serving time for a series violent offences.
His record also includes convictions for aggravated assault, assault with a weapon and various driving, property, weapons and drug offenses and breach of trust.
As part of his plea deal to aid the Crown, Gagne was allowed to become eligible for parole after 12 years.
He said he felt ill after the execution-style killings of Melo and Pavao.
“I had to stop the car,” he said. “I was vomiting. There was so much adrenaline.
He also wept saying he was sorry for the families of the victims. “I’ve become a monster over the years,” he said. “Those were my choices. I am deeply saddened by what I did to them.”
Three members of the Melo family gave moving testimony, pleading with council to keep Gagné behind bars, or at least away from them in the GTA.
Melo’s widow, Rhonda Melo, referenced American poet and social activist Maya Angelou in her attempted murder behind bars, or at least outside the GTA.
“Dr. Maya Angelou once said, ‘When people show you who they are, believe them the first time,’ she said.
“Delinquent Gagné has shown me, and I believe him, that he is a murderous, lying, law-breaking criminal, aspiring gangster who needs a gun to dominate.”
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