The daughter of a murdered former Canadian boxing champion is sounding the alarm.
Jessica Melo has been contacting media outlets in the Muskoka area and beyond to reveal that the man who is serving time for the murder of her father, Eddie Melo, is about to be given up to 60 days of unsupervised work release.
Charles Gagne was convicted to life in prison for the murders of Melo and his friend Johnny Pavao outside a Mississauga sports cafe in 2001. His sentence provided for a chance for parole after 12 years, which was in 2015. He is currently an inmate at Beaver Creek Institute in the minimum security unit.
Jessica Melo posing with a boxing magazine with her father Eddie on the cover. (Eddie Melo Legacy Photo)
According to Jessica Melo, Gagne has been approved for work release, which is work done in the community but not supervised by prison officials. She says the work release starts on February 4th through April 3rd. So determined to get the word out, Melo called well over 100 Muskoka based companies asking if they were using a work release program for any projects.
MyMuskokaNow.com is aware of where Gagne is scheduled to do his work assignment but has decided to not reveal the business he will be doing work for.
Gagne was on parole staying at an Ottawa half-way house when he drove to Mississauga for the day, committed the double-murder and returned back to Ottawa before missing check-in.
Melo reflectively asks herself, after all this time, “why does she care so much?”
She provides an emotional, heartfelt answer.
“Because I know what my daily hell and the torture and the devastation my family has gone through,” she says. “I wouldn’t even want anyone to have a dirty look from this guy.”
While she has plenty of criticism for Corrections Canada, she also points to the Deputy Warden at Beaver Creek Institute, who had the power to deny the application for the work release.
“That warden had it within his rights to deny this pass,” said Melo. MyMuskokaNow.com placed a call to the Deputy Warden in question but did not receive a response prior to publication time.
An email from Corrections Canada would not confirm the details of the Gagne work release due to privacy policies but did say that those people registered to hear about the status of a convicted inmate are provided that information before the date of any action has taken place. This would include things like moving from one prison to another, un-escorted and escorted absences and work releases.
“What a person does with that information is out of our control,” said the Corrections Canada employee.
In speaking to the company who is getting the work done Melo laid out her opinion on what was happening.
“I told them I think the program is great for certain kinds of people,” she starts off. “I think it’s putting the community at such a risk by allowing this individual to partake in your program, where you don’t have corrections staff and he’s not being electronically monitored.”
She revealed that the company is not told what any workers have been convicted of.
Melo lives in Vancouver and helps run the Eddie Melo Legacy Organization, a not for profit that works with at-risk youth interested in boxing.