Michelle Martin, ex-wife and accomplice of 1990s Belgian child murderer Marc Dutroux, was given an early release Tuesday and will be freed after serving half her jail term.
Belgium's highest appeals court, the Cour de Cassation, ruled Tuesday that a lower court had not made any procedural errors and that Martin, 52, would still be allowed to live on conditional release in a convent after serving barely half of her 30-year sentence for her participation in the mid-'90s kidnappings, rapes and killings of young girls by Dutroux, according to The New York Times.
"Even though I was prepared, the telephone call from my lawyer chilled me to the bone," said Jean-Denis Lejeune, the father of eight-year-old Julie, who died at the couple's home, reported the Times. "For me, Michelle Martin is as much responsible for the death of my daughter as Dutroux."
More from GlobalPost: Belgium releases Michelle Martin, ex-wife of pedophile killer, to convent
Dutroux was arrested in 1996 for the kidnapping and rape of six girls, according to Reuters. He killed two of the victims and left two others to starve to death in a makeshift dungeon. Martin didn't feed the girls when Dutroux was imprisoned for car theft and she was convicted of helping him with his crimes.
Martin was expected to be released Tuesday and security forces have been preparing for her arrival in Malonne, a village in the hills 45 miles south of Brussels, reported the Associated Press. She will live in Clarisse convent and, in the words of her lawyer, seek atonement for her crimes.
"There is only one word for this. This is simply absurd. But I will have to accept it," said Paul Marchal, whose daughter An was one of Dutroux's victims, according to the AP. "Concerning Martin, my fight is over and done. I lost."
According to Al Jazeera, under Belgian law, criminals can be released from prison after serving a third of their sentences, as long as they meet certain conditions.