Penny Boudreau

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Penny Boudreau is a Canadian woman who murdered her 12-year-old daughter Karissa to save her relationship with her boyfriend Vernon Macumber.[1] At the time of the crime, Boudreau lived in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia.[2]

Early life[edit]

Boudreau was born in Ontario and grew up in Clark's Harbour in Nova Scotia.[3]


Boudreau had a strained relationship with her daughter. Boudreau claims that her former partner, Vernon Macumber, gave her the ultimatum that either her daughter went or he would go. However, Macumber has denied this, stating: "I asked them, `You have to do something about this,' because this is not a productive family when they're arguing and fighting. I'd come home and hear them screaming and hollering as I'd come up the stairs."[4] Crown Attorney Paul Scovil told reporters: "We were satisfied he did not mean ... that she was to kill Karissa."[4]

In 2008 she drove Karissa to a quiet roadside, tackled her to the ground, and strangled her with twine while kneeling on her chest. Macumber remained at home and was informed by Boudreau that Karissa had vanished from her car after she'd left it unattended.[5] The next day Boudreau reported her daughter missing and made an appeal for anyone with information to come forward: "Her eyes swollen from crying, her face pale and drawn, she said: ``I'm trying not to think the worst. It's plain and simple hell. Not knowing where your kids are is horrible."[6] A study by the University of British Columbia[7] analysed Boudreau's press conference; “We analyzed her facial expression right when she made the plea for help and before there were charges against her. There were some cues to suggest that she was not genuine.”[8]

Two weeks later Karissa's body was found with her jeans and underwear pulled down. This was intended to give the impression of sexual assault,[3] but due to no signs of sexual intercourse, this was ruled out.[9]

Boudreau's neighbors overheard her arguing with Macumber. The couple was consequently arrested on suspicion of murder. Macumber claims: "I told them whatever I could to help them. I always tried to help them until they started looking at me and accused me. I couldn't co-operate then. I was scared to death for me."[4] An undercover police officer shared a cell with Macumber and gained his confidence. The investigation very quickly focused on Boudreau.

The undercover police officer claimed to belong to a crime syndicate and offered Boudreau a deal; if she killed for them, they would get rid of the evidence against her. Boudreau was subsequently recorded on hidden cameras confessing to the undercover police officer and recounting the details of the murder.

She was originally charged with first degree murder but agreed to plead guilty to the lesser charge of second degree murder, and received a life sentence. She must serve at least 20 years before applying for parole.[3]

Macumber stated in an interview that Karissa 'made him laugh' and that her death left him heart-broken, that he struggled to find employment as a result of his connections to the case and he consequently began drinking.[5]


  1. ^ "Appeal Court rejects Boudreau confession tape case". Retrieved 2014-08-01. 
  2. ^ "N.S. woman admits she strangled daughter to keep boyfriend". Retrieved 2014-08-01. 
  3. ^ a b c "Girl cried 'Mommy, don't' before being strangled". 2009-01-30. Retrieved 2014-08-01. 
  4. ^ a b c "Ex-boyfriend of Penny Boudreau 'feels guilty'". 2009-02-02. Retrieved 2014-08-01. 
  5. ^ a b Vernon Macumber - On the news - Part 1 on YouTube
  6. ^ "Slain girl's mother charged". 2008-06-14. Retrieved 2014-08-01. 
  7. ^ "Lying? The Face Betrays Deceiver's True Emotions, But In Unexpected Ways". ScienceDaily. Retrieved 2014-08-01. 
  8. ^ "‘Crocodile tears’ study shows how to spot fake remorse". 2011-02-11. Retrieved 2014-08-01. 
  9. ^