Selamawit Negasi had an appointment with a divorce lawyer at the time she was allegedly slain by her husband, the jury in an Edmonton murder trial was told Monday.

Elen Negasi, 29, testified that her mother told her the night before she died she had qualified for legal aid and was meeting with a lawyer to "go through with a divorce."

Her mother planned to call her the next night. "But she didn't make it," Negasi said.

Selamawit Negasi, 46, was slain and dismembered on July 5, 2009. She was supposed to meet with the lawyer two days later on July 7.

Selamawit's husband, Tesfai Negasi, 54, is on trial in Edmonton Court of Queen's Bench for second-degree murder.

The jury heard testimony from witnesses who spoke of the breakdown in the couple's marriage.

Elen Negasi described the relationship as "very dysfunctional. A lot of fighting, arguing, crying and unhappiness."

The smallest matter would set her father off and then her parents would get into a screaming match, she said. Her parents would not speak to each other for long stretches of time sometimes lasting months.

Divorce 'not an option'

Court was told that the family was originally from Eritrea where divorce is frowned upon and mediation is used as a tool to resolve marital disputes.

Family friend Kidane Nugusse testified the accused called him four times to help get the relationship back on track. When Negasi called him for the third time, Nugusse suggested the couple should consider a divorce.

Negasi was "kind of furious" at the suggestion and told Nugusse that "divorce was not an option at all."

"That was the first time I talked to him about divorce and the last time I talked to him about divorce," Nugusse testified.

When Negasi called him one year later, Nugusse refused to get involved.

By 2009, Elen Negasi testified her mother was ready to get a divorce. She had been saving money and transferred $7,000 to her daughter's savings account so her husband wouldn't find it.

"Me and my mom were extremely close," she told the jury. "She was my best friend. There was nobody like her."

Under cross-examination, she acknowledged that she despised her father.

The jury has been told that Tesfai Negasi drove to an Edmonton police station where he confessed his wife's slaying to officers and told them her remains were in the trunk of his car.

With files from the CBC's Janice Johnston