Quebec coroner recommends tracking devices for offenders guilty of killing partners

·3 min read

MONTREAL — A Quebec coroner who investigated the killing of a 22-year-old woman in 2020 recommended Tuesday that people convicted of murdering their partners be forced to carry electronic tracking devices when they are released from prison.

Such a device could have helped prevent the death of Marylène Lévesque, who was murdered on Jan. 22, 2020, in a Quebec City hotel room by a convicted killer out on parole, coroner Stéphanie Gamache wrote in her report on the case.

"The electronic bracelet with geolocation is therefore, in my opinion, an additional measure of support for the surveillance mechanisms in place, and it makes it possible to validate the statements of an offender who would like to use subterfuge to ignore his conditions of release," Gamache wrote.

"Finally, it is certain that the wearing of this tool can also sensitize the population to the criminal past of these particular delinquents and thus limit the situations which can generate violence."

Lévesque's killer, Eustachio Gallese, was serving time for the 2004 murder of his wife, for which he was sentenced in 2006. At the time of Lévesque's murder, he was residing at a halfway house under conditions that included no drinking and reporting to his parole officer all interactions with women.

Gamache also recommended that the Correctional Service of Canada revisit the release plan that had been drafted for Gallese before he killed Lévesque. Gamache called the plan a "resounding failure" in her nine-page report.

Gallese had met Lévesque, a sex worker, in May 2019 during visits to an erotic massage parlour. He had been permitted by his parole officer to visit the parlour once a month, despite his history of domestic violence. That permission was subsequently revoked by the Parole Board of Canada in September 2019, but Gallese flouted the rules and continued to see Lévesque.

He told police after Lévesque's murder he had been going to the parlour three times a week and the halfway house staff was unaware.

The investigation found that Lévesque did not know about Gallese's murder conviction or the conditions under which he was released from prison.

On Jan. 22, 2020, he met his victim in the restaurant of a hotel, and they went upstairs after a few drinks. He then took a knife and stabbed her 57 times in the chest, stomach and back, according to Tuesday's report.

Hours later, he went to a police station and confessed to the murder.

In response to Lévesque's killing, a joint committee from the Correctional Service of Canada and the Parole Board of Canada tightened the rules governing offenders on day parole in Quebec.

Gamache, in her report, welcomed those efforts, but she said Gallese's specific release plan needed to be examined closely to identify what went wrong and to prevent the same thing from happening again.

Gallese pleaded guilty in February 2020 to first-degree murder in Lévesque's death and was sentenced to life in prison.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 9, 2021.

Sidhartha Banerjee, The Canadian Press

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