More than a decade after she was sentenced to life in prison for second-degree murder over the death of a young girl, Melissa Babineau has been granted day parole.

Babineau was convicted of murder in 2006 in connection with the December 2003 death of Rebbecca Haney. At the time, she maintained that she did not kill the two year old.

By the time she was making her case to the parole board, she had changed her tune – saying she put her hand over the girl’s mouth and pinched her nose, suffocating her.

She told the parole board that she was fighting the stress of the Christmas season, as well as caring for four sick children. She had been living with Haney’s mother on a farm near Embro, west of Woodstock.

Many of Haney’s relatives have been attending Babineau’s hearings as she has moved through the parole process, including this week’s hearing at the Grand Valley Institution for Women in Kitchener.

Kathie Brett, who was one of Haney’s grandmothers, told CTV News that while she is “not comfortable” with the decision to grant Babineau parole, she understands that it is part of the Canadian justice system.

“I believe she’s done all she needed to do to get out,” she said.

Conditions of Babineau’s six-month parole include staying out of Oxford County and not contacting Haney’s relatives. She will be living in a halfway house in the Hamilton area.

In its decision, the parole board noted that Babineau is able to deceive other people – but ultimately concluded that she is at a low risk to violently re-offend.