A jealous 17-year-old girl who orchestrated the New Year's Day murder of Stefanie Rengel was sentenced today to life imprisonment with no chance of parole for seven years.
Justice Ian Nordheimer sentenced Melissa Todorovic as an adult - lifting the publication ban on her identity - as Crown attorney Robin Flumerfelt requested.
"A person who plans and orchestrates and directs another person (her boyfriend DB, who cannot yet be named) to take the life of a human being is at least as morally culpable as the person who does the actual act," said Nordheimer, dismissing defence arguments that Todorovic was less culpable since she didn't wield the knife that killed the 14-year-old Rengel outside her home on Jan. 1, 2008.
"Put simply, the puppet master is not less blameworthy than the puppet. Indeed, I would suggest that the master is more culpable since he or she puts the wheels in motion and then stands back under the facade of disassociation while the scheme that they have created unfolds."
Todorovic wiped away a tear while her mother Rachel and 12-year-old brother fought back tears as the judge sentenced Melissa to life imprisonment.
The judge referred to Todorovic's "relentless campaign" to exhort her burly boyfriend - through threats of cutting him off sexually - to murder Rengel, whom Todorovic perceived as a threat to her stormy relationship with DB.
Todorovic's boyfriend DB lured his prey outside her East York home and fatally stabbed Rengel. The now 19-year-old has pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and will be sentenced in September.
Todorovic wept tears for herself and expressed no remorse for Rengel, noted court-appointed psychiatrist Dr. Philip Klassen.
"Her persistent tearfulness flowed from self pity and a sense of personal victimization rather than the death of Ms. Rengel," Klassen told the court. She presented as someone more self-pitying than remorseful.
"She struggled with issues, especially territoriality, sexual jealousy and related power and control issues. She is different than typical young offenders ... because of the degree of persistence (rather than) the quite impulsive (actions) of most young offenders," Klassen told the judge.
Todorovic minimized her role, saying she was "speaking in jest," said Klassen.
While the young killer admitted that she was strangled and punched by DB — and that he was violent with other students
— she said she was surprised he actually killed Rengel.
"I don't know why he took my words seriously. I meant to kill her, to get her out of my life," she told Klassen.
But according to Nordheimer, after DB murdered Rengel, he phoned Melissa to inform her of the homicide.
"In a particularly chilling step, Melissa then called Stephanie's cell phone in an obvious, and I might say seemingly cold blooded effort to confirm that DB was telling her the truth and that Stephanie was indeed dead," Nordheimer said.
"Melissa then called DB and asked him how he was going to cover up the crime."