Hit­man who killed boxer gets day pass from prison


GRAVENHURST— The hit­man who mur­dered star boxer and re­puted mob en­forcer Ed­die Melo and his friend out­side a Mis­sis­sauga café won a small vic­tory in his lat­est at­tempt at pa­role.

Charles Gagne, 44, was granted a one-day es­corted pass from a min­i­mum se­cu­rity prison in Muskoka on Wed­nes­day to do vol­un­teer work in the com­mu­nity.

The pa­role board de­ci­sion fol­lowed a strong vote of con­fi­dence from Steve Sher­riff, the re­tired prosecutor who put Gagne be­hind bars for the 2001mur­ders.

Sher­riff told the pa­role board that he ex­pected the worst when he first met Gagne, who has spent most of his adult life be­hind bars.

“I ex­pected a Grade A psy­chopath,” Sher­riff tes­ti­fied. “I know the breed . . . I be­came his friend. Who would be­lieve that?”

Gagne was sen­tenced in 2003 to life in prison with no el­i­gi­bil­ity for pa­role for 12 years after plead­ing guilty to two counts of se­cond-de­gree mur­der in the deaths of Melo, 40, and his friend Joao (Johnny) Pavao, 42.

Gagne was on a day pass for an armed rob­bery when he mur­dered Melo and Pavao for a prom­ise of $75,000.

“You still have a lot of work to do,” Kevin Cor­co­ran of the pa­role board told Gagne after he was granted one tem­po­rary es­corted ab­sence pass. “You have made some change.”

The one-time es­corted pass was granted de­spite the emo­tional ob­jec­tions of a half-dozen Melo fam­ily mem­bers, who gave vic­tim im­pact state­ments.

“They say that time heals all,” Melo’s widow Rhonda told the hear­ing at Beaver Creek min­i­mum-se­cu­rity prison.

“I can now hon­estly say this is not true.”

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