Woman behind Stefanie Rengel murder seeks unescorted absences from prison

By , on November 29, 2017


An Illinois prosecutor shared disturbing new details about the July 27 slaying, describing to the court how Trenton James Cornell-Duranleau, the 26-year-old boyfriend of since-fired microbiology professor Wyndham Lathem, was stabbed 70 times at Lathem's Chicago condo and with such brutality that he was nearly decapitated. His throat was slit and pulmonary artery torn. (Pixabay photo)
Melissa Todorovic was 15 when her boyfriend, David Bagshaw, stabbed Stefanie Rengel six times and left her die in a snowbank outside her house on New Year’s Day, 2008. (Pixabay photo)

KITCHENER, Ont. — A young woman serving a life sentence for sexually blackmailing her boyfriend into killing a 14-year-old girl nearly a decade ago is asking for permission to leave prison on her own.

Melissa Todorovic was 15 when her boyfriend, David Bagshaw, stabbed Stefanie Rengel six times and left her to die in a snowbank outside her house on New Year’s Day, 2008.

The two girls had never met but Todorovic grew intensely jealous of Rengel, who had briefly dated Bagshaw two years earlier. She also believed the younger girl was spreading rumours about her.

Todorovic was convicted in 2009 for masterminding Rengel’s murder and was sentenced as an adult to life in prison with no chance of parole for seven years — the maximum adult sentence for someone her age.

She later sought to have a new trial ordered on appeal, arguing that self-incriminating statements she made to police should not been admitted as evidence at her trial. But the appeal court upheld her conviction and sentence.

The Parole Board of Canada is holding a hearing in Kitchener, Ont., today to weigh her application for unescorted temporary absences from prison.

Shortly after Rengel’s death, Todorovic told police that the killing was more her idea than Bagshaw’s, her trial heard. But she also told investigators she did not believe he would take her seriously.

She also told them she knew Bagshaw was headed to Rengel’s house that night to kill her and that she called him 15 minutes after the murder to ask: “Is she dead?”

Todorovic also told police that she had asked Bagshaw to come over to her house to show how he had killed the girl.

Bagshaw is also serving an adult life sentence after pleading guilty to first-degree murder.