Melo’s death was listed along with the 2010 murder of Montreal Mafia leader Nicolo Rizzuto and the disappearance of his son-in-law Paolo Renda, as a series of events believed to be part of the “historical conflict.”
A hired hitman who killed former Montreal boxer and Mob enforcer Eddie (Hurricane) Melo eighteen years ago has been denied a release from a penitentiary as he continues to serve his life sentence for murder.
The Parole Board of Canada turned down Charles Gagné’s request, in part, because of his own admission that he might become a walking target when he gets out. After he was arrested for killing Melo, Gagné became a prosecution witness and testified against the man he claimed had hired him for the hit carried out in Mississauga on April 6, 2001.
Gagné admitted he was hired to kill the 40-year-old former boxer but he also shot and killed Melo’s cousin, Joao Pavao, because he was seated inside Melo’s vehicle when the hit was carried out.
Melo was born in Portugal and his family moved to Canada when he was six. He started his boxing career in Montreal and turned pro at the age of 17 after producing an impressive record as an amateur with 93 wins and four losses. He was Canadian middleweight champion in 1979 and quickly became a favourite of Montreal boxing fans. In 1986, a provincial task force headed by a Quebec Court judge that probed the sport’s ties to organized crime revealed Melo had been hired as a driver and bodyguard for Frank Cotroni, the now-deceased leader of a once powerful Mafia clan in Montreal.
Melo later moved to Ontario and, by 1994, had amassed a criminal record that produced a deportation order which he fought up until the day he was killed.
In 2001, Gagné was out on parole when, according to him, he was offered $75,000 to kill Melo. Shortly after carrying out the double murder he was arrested as a suspect in an unrelated shooting. He decided to become a prosecution witness while in custody and after he was charged with the two murders. In exchange for his testimony he was able to plead guilty to second-degree murder. He received a life sentence but his parole eligibility was set at 12 years, as opposed to 25 years had he been convicted of first-degree murder. In 2005, he testified during the jury trial of Ontario resident Manuel Dasilva, the man he claimed had hired him, but Dasilva was acquitted.
Gagné appeared before the parole board on Dec. 10 and asked for permission to have two 72-hour unescorted leaves from the Beaver Creek Penitentiary in Gravenhurst, Ontario to a halfway house. He argued that he needed time to prepare for life on the outside if he gets paroled in the future. He said he wanted to use the time to do things like apply for a social insurance card, join a YMCA, learn bus routes and open a bank account.
According to a written summary of the decision, Correctional Service Canada approved of the releases but the parole board rejected Gagné’s request for a few reasons. The author of the parole board’s decision wrote: “the board is concerned that your plan is vague and articulated in general terms. Mr. Gagné, the violent nature and the severity of your crimes speaks to the need for a very cautious and very gradual release. As discussed in the hearing, the Board must be assured that you are highly monitored while you test any gains in less structured environments. You agreed that this is a necessary aspect of your reintegration.”
The board was also concerned that Gagné’s plan was not “structured enough to provide assurance that geographically you will avoid the victim’s families.”
During Dasilva’s 2005 trial, the jury heard evidence that he and Melo were involved in a longstanding conflict before Melo was killed. A friend of Melo’s testified that Melo had told him that Dasilva had been “ratting him out.” But, according to a decision made by the Federal Court of Canada earlier this year — as part of the federal government’s unsuccessful attempt to have alleged Toronto Mob boss Vincenzo Demaria deported to Italy — police believe Melo’s death was also part of a “historical conflict within the ‘Ndrangheta (in Ontario) and that the organization has had with other Italian criminalized groups (in Canada).”
In 2012, police warned Demaria that they had reason to believe the Rizzuto organization wanted him dead. Melo’s death was listed along with the 2010 murder of Montreal Mafia leader Nicolo (Zio Cola) Rizzuto and the disappearance of his son-in-law Paolo Renda, also in 2010, as a series of events believed to be part of the “historical conflict.”
During the deportation hearing, the police presented evidence that after Gagné learned he was going to be charged with Melo and Pavao’s murders he called Demaria from prison and told the alleged ‘Ndrangheta leader about the development. The call was secretly recorded by police as Demaria replied simply with “I can’t help you” before hanging up.
Original Post https://montrealgazette.com/news/hitman-who-killed-mafia-enforcer-eddie-melo-denied-a-release