Montreal police once believed that Ziad Arradi also had a role in the 1995 murder of Const. Odette Pinard.

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A former street gang member who took part in a drive-by shooting in 1995 that killed two people, including a 15-year-old girl, as they were leaving a church in St-Michel has been granted day parole for the first time.

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Ziad Arradi, 48, was convicted by a jury on March 15, 1998, on six counts of attempted murder. The case involved a shooting on Dec. 17, 1995. Someone opened fire on a group of people as they were leaving the church following a baptism.

Two cars passed by the group and a passenger in the vehicle Arradi was driving opened fire. Wildrine Julien, 15 — who was five months pregnant — and Henri-Daniel Paul, 20, were killed.

The drive-by shooting was intended to be a retaliation for a street gang member who had been shot weeks before, but neither of the homicide victims were tied to street gangs. According to a court decision in Arradi’s case, the intended target was Emmanuel Zephyr, a notorious street gang leader.

The Montreal police had little to go on in their investigation until 1996, when a man charged with an armed robbery in Laval came forward and said Arradi, his cellmate in a federal penitentiary, confided in him and admitted that he had taken part in the drive -by shooting.

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The police also had information alleging that Arradi was involved in the murder of Odette Pinard, a 30-year-old Montreal constable who was shot on Nov. 27, 1995, while working at a small neighborhood police station. Two homicide investigators met with Arradi in a penitentiary and offered him a deal to plead guilty to second-degree murder in the drive-by shooting in exchange for information on Pinard’s death.

Arradi rejected the offer, and the same cellmate who linked him to the double slaying later agreed to work as a civilian agent under contract for the Montreal police. The man was wearing a wire when Arradi repeated that he was involved in the drive-by shooting.

Arradi was recorded while he referred to the 15-year-old girl who was killed as “someone who was partying with a team of vagabonds.” He also alleged the girl knew members of the Crack Down Posse, a street gang based in northern Montreal at the time.

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While the Montreal police were also hoping to obtain evidence related to Pinard’s murder, Arradi was never charged with anything related to her death. The constable’s murder remains unsolved.

In a decision made by the Parole Board of Canada last week, Arradi was granted day parole for the first time since his arrest in February 1997. The decision notes how he has taken part in more than two dozen escorted leaves since 2019 without incident.

While he was rejected as a candidate at one halfway house, another agreed to accept him as a resident. He is expected to do volunteer work before he attempts to find employment.

“Despite the seriousness and impact of your criminal behaviour, the board considers that by virtue of your progress on your risk factors and the coaching structure that includes your exit plan, that at this stage of your sentence, it is appropriate to allow yourself to continue your journey in the community,” the board wrote in its decision.

“You seem to have the required assets to carry out the process of your social reintegration. The board can therefore take note of observable and measurable progress likely to reduce the risk of reoffending that you present.”

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