Toronto Star

Dec. 16, 2002. 01:00 AM

Mother who killed children released

Served less than a year in jail Parole board sees hope for recovery

TRACY HUFFMAN
COURTS BUREAU
Toronto Star

Less than a year after admitting she killed her two children, Jasotha Mahendriran has been released from jail with plans to put her past behind her and move on with her life.

The Ontario Parole and Earned Release Board decided last week the 33-year-old Toronto woman has done her time for killing daughter Shyami, 5, and son Sajeev, 3. The siblings were found dead on July 16, 2001 in the trunk of the family car.

"She wants to try to put her life together," said Mahendriran's lawyer, Sid Freeman.

Freeman would not discuss Mahendriran's plans.

However, she will be released into a "structured environment" where she will be required to continue with counselling and programs, said Kim O'Connell of the parole board.

She will be required to live in an agency approved by the parole board until January, 2004, O'Connell explained, adding that if breaches any agency rules she will return to jail.

Mahendriran was sentenced in January to two years less a day after pleading guilty to two counts of manslaughter.

In considering the parole application, O'Connell said the board recognized the offence was a serious one. However, Mahendriran — who had no criminal record before killing her children — has participated in programs and counselling in jail and has support from her family.

"We hope (living at the agency) is a positive experience and that she never comes back" to the criminal system, O'Connell said.

Detective Rudy Pasini, who led the homicide investigation with Detective Sergeant Gary Giroux, said in an interview he is disappointed with the parole board's decision.

"Children's lives have very little value in the judicial system," Pasini said. "She gets a light sentence and then she doesn't even have to complete her sentence."

Although Mahendriran admitted in court she took her children's lives, she never explained how she killed them. Autopsy results were inconclusive.

Mahendriran was found conscious in the trunk of her blue Honda in her Scarborough driveway with her dead children next to her. She had taken 20 sleeping pills that day and left a suicide note with funeral instructions for her family.

Mahendriran wanted her family to be reunited with her husband, Mahendriran Thiyagarajah, who was killed a year earlier in a work-related accident at a North York factory.

According to relatives, many family members support Mahendriran in her recovery.

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