A man convicted of brutally murdering a 14-year-old student in her own high school is eligible for parole and could face a day release hearing as soon as next month.
Russell Colwell was 20 when he was convicted of first-degree murder in the stabbing death of Korah student Patrizia Mastroianni on October 14, 1987.
The Parole Board of Canada says Colwell has been eligible to apply for day parole since 2009 and full parole for two years. Mastroianni’s family members say they have been notified that a day parole hearing is scheduled for August 13.
The Gros Cap man was convicted in January, 1988 of first-degree murder in Mastroianni’s death and sentenced to life in prison with no eligibility for parole for 25 years.
Mastroianni, a Grade 9 student at Korah, died of blood loss from three stab wounds and her body was discovered in a cubicle in a first-floor washroom at the school by a fellow student, according to newspaper reports from the time.
Colwell, a Korah grad who was in his first term of Lake Superior State University’s law and security program at the time of the murder, was arrested the next day.
Carmela Roznik and Tiziana Palumbo say they plan to oppose day release for Colwell, who they say should serve out the rest of his life in prison.
Roznik was 17 and Palumbo was 11 when their sister’s life was taken in what prosecutors at the time described as a motiveless crime.
“It changed our life forever, every member of our family,” said Roznik.
“I understood how cruel the world really could be,” said Palumbo.
Both said they saw a very promising life cut short, describing their sister as energetic, friendly and charismatic.
Mastroianni was volunteering in the hospital pediatric ward and her sisters suspect she might have become a nurse.
“She was very caring. She wanted to help people,” said Roznik.
Palumbo and Roznik are preparing for the possible hearing and said they would like to hear from others affected by their sister’s death so that they can include those statements in their victim impact statement.
Anyone wishing to do so, can send a brief statement in confidence to an email address set up for the purpose: firstname.lastname@example.org