Toronto Star

Jul. 15, 01:00 EDT

Seeking parole, a year after killing her children

Tracy Huffman
Toronto Star

From a Brampton jail, Jasotha Mahendriran has been praying for peace and learning to deal with the depression that led her to kill her two young children a year ago.

When she is released from jail, the 33-year-old Scarborough woman hopes to help others who are suffering and don't know where to turn.

That is part of a plan she will share with a parole board next month when she asks to be granted early release from jail.

"Jasotha is making a plan. She wants to get into social work and help people with depression," Mahendriran's sister-in-law Visa Yokeswaran said. "She has been praying. She knows it was a mistake. A big mistake."

While Mahendriran prays for her dead children from jail on the first anniversary of their deaths tomorrow, her family will meet with a priest and pray for peace for 3-year-old Sajeev and 5-year-old Shyami. With the support of many family members, Mahendriran hopes to be granted parole after serving eight months of her sentence.

On July 16, 2001, Mahendriran took 20 prescribed sleeping pills, placed her two young children in the trunk of her blue Honda, crawled in next to them and closed the trunk lid.

Just metres from the car, inside her home, Mahendriran left funeral instructions for her family. She wished her son and daughter to be buried in the same clothes they wore to their father's funeral a year earlier.

Mahendriran was still conscious when police found her next to her dead children and was taken to hospital. She was charged with two counts of first-degree murder, but in January her lawyer struck a deal with a crown attorney and Mahendriran pleaded guilty to two counts of manslaughter. She was sentenced to two years less a day.

Now Mahendriran is preparing for an Aug. 30 parole hearing. If successful, she will be released on Sept. 15. If her bid for early parole fails, she will automatically be released on May 18, 2003 after serving two-thirds of her sentence, as is required by law.

"Two years less a day was inadequate for causing the death of her children," homicide Detective Rudy Pasini said in an interview. "And now it is compounded by a possible early release."

Pasini investigated the death of the children with Detective Sergeant Gary Giroux.

"Two innocent children lost their lives for no real reason," Pasini said.

Mahendriran has never explained to police or in court how she killed the children, and an autopsy did not provide a cause of death. In court, Mahendriran admitted she was responsible for their deaths but provided no details.

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