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Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Saskatchewan woman who murdered group home worker granted day parole

SASKATOON - A Saskatchewan woman who brutally murdered her group home worker with another teenage girl when they were 15 years old has been granted day parole after serving 13 years in prison.

Global News says it obtained Parole Board of Canada documents showing that Catherine McKenzie, 31, was granted day parole on July 4.

The documents say McKenzie has "made progress" and matured, and her risk to re-offend is low.

In December 1997, McKenzie and Serena Nicotine beat and stabbed 58-year-old Helen Montgomery to death in her home in North Battleford, Sask.

Both were tried in adult court and in June 2001 they were sentenced to life for second-degree murder, without the possibility of parole for at least seven years.

Valerie Montgomery-Bull, who discovered her mother's body, said in an email to Global News that McKenzie does not deserve publicity.

"The sum total of her life to date has been NOTHING compared to the life of my mother," she wrote.

The parole board says McKenzie has indirectly apologized to Montgomery's family and "expressed how the murder was senseless." It also says McKenzie denied planning the murder but admitted to discussing killing the victim the night before the murder.

"The board is satisfied that you have demonstrated extremely positive compliance efforts and made very positive progress to be manageable on a day parole release," say the parole board documents.

The parole board says it took into account McKenzie's aboriginal and residential school background, as well as the fact she was a victim of sexual abuse.

McKenzie will be released into a large urban community and plans to attend a large technical institution and work in the food industry.

The Correctional Service of Canada does not reveal where inmates are housed, but in the past she has been incarcerated at the Okimaw Ochi aboriginal healing lodge for women in Maple Creek, Sask.

Nicotine has been called one of the most violent women in Canada's penal system. In March 2000, she held a nurse hostage at knifepoint for three hours at the Regional Psychiatric Centre in Saskatoon.

Later that same year, she held a guard captive, burning her blindfolded face with a cigarette and setting her hair on fire.

In September 2004, Nicotine assaulted a fellow prisoner with a piece of glass during a hostage-taking at the Edmonton prison.

Last year, she was charged with taking a fellow prisoner hostage in a courthouse holding cell.

The Union of Canadian Correctional Officers has said Nicotine was so violent that guards had to develop special procedures to handle her.

Montgomery's death prompted a review that recommended more than three dozen changes to Saskatchewan's community placement program, including a system that allows those running community homes to have police summoned at the touch of a button through a security monitoring company.

(Global Saskatoon) -CP-

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