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Woman pleads guilty to manslaughter in death of Edmonton grandma who was beaten, robbed in her home

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On what was supposed to the opening day of Cynthia Hamelin's first-degree murder trial, the 51-year-old woman with a history of preying on seniors pleaded guilty to manslaughter for beating Edmonton grandmother Giuseppina Micieli so badly she died. Sarah Ryan has the details from court – Feb 1, 2022

WARNING: The details in this story are graphic and may disturb some readers. Discretion is advised.

A trial was set to begin Tuesday for Cynthia Hamelin, a 51-year-old woman accused of first-degree murder in the death of an Edmonton senior who was unknown to her.

Instead, Hamelin pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter in the July 2019 attack.

At that time, Hamelin was out on bail for charges related to breaking into senior’s homes.

Some of the conditions of her release included remaining in her approved residence around the clock — with few exceptions —and staying at least 50 metres away from any seniors residence.

Instead, she violated both of those conditions and on July 20, 2019, went to the Piazza Italia Seniors’ Residence.

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Hamelin started pushing buzzers, trying to get inside the apartment building in the central Edmonton McCauley neighbourhood.

According to an agreed statement of facts, Hamelin pretended to be a tenant and said she’d lost her keys until someone eventually buzzed her into the building on 108a Avenue, near 95 Street.

Once inside, she admitted to trying various door handles to find ones that were unlocked.

Read more: Murder charges laid after break-in at Edmonton seniors home leads to death of 83-year-old woman

At one point, the then-49-year-old entered a senior man’s apartment without permission and sat in his living room chair, again pretending to be a new resident.

Court heard she asked the man for a tissue, and when he went to retrieve one, she stole his wallet and left.

Eventually, she ran into 83-year-old Giuseppina Micieli, who was taking out her garbage.

Giuseppina Micieli, 83, died on Aug. 26, 2019, after being beaten in her own home by a woman with a history of stealing from seniors. Credit / Serenity Funeral Service

Hamelin said she needed to use her bathroom and invited herself into Micieli’s suite. Micieli followed her and saw her stealing jewelry from her bedroom.

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Court heard Hamelin asked the senior where she kept her money. When she said she didn’t have any, Hamelin kicked her in the leg, knocking Micieli to the ground.

She then repeatedly stomped on the senior’s ribs, kicking and punching her all over her body.

Hamelin covered her mouth to stifle the senior’s screams and then grab her by the hair and repeatedly beat her head into the ground.

With Micieli unable to get up, Hamelin rifled through the suite, taking various items including three rings right off Micieli’s hand.

Read more: How to thwart the growing threat of elder financial abuse

Meanwhile, neighbours who had been alerted to the commotion were trying to get inside to help — but Hamelin had locked the door.

Ten minutes after entering the suite, Hamelin opened the door, pushed past the neighbours and ran away. She was captured on surveillance cameras entering and exiting the suite.

The neighbours called one of Micieli’s daughters, who rushed over with her granddaughter and called 911.

Micieli was taken to an Edmonton hospital with a broken hip, five broken ribs, and bruising all over her body.

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Court heard the grandmother died in hospital 37 days later — on Aug. 26, 2019 — from pneumonia caused by the blunt force injuries inflicted during the assault.

Read more: Elderly man beaten on video at Detroit nursing home dies

Hamelin was arrested three days after the break-in.

Using a search warrant to enter Hamelin’s home, police recovered the unique clothing spotted on Piazza Italia’s surveillance cameras.

While in custody, Hamelin called her boyfriend and said she was going to pin the crime on another woman. She called an anonymous tip line and did just that, telling the call taker “they’ve got the wrong person.”

Hamelin has been in custody since 2019.

A sentencing hearing is scheduled for March 16, when court will hear victim impact statements, as well as the findings of a Gladue report looking at Hamelin’s upbringing and family history.

A Gladue report is a pre-sentencing and bail hearing report that Canadian courts can request when they’re considering the sentence for an offender of Indigenous ancestry.

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