The sister-in-law of retired Quebec judge Jacques Delisle, charged with first-degree murder in the death of his wife, testified today that she doesn’t believe her sister Nicole Rainville was suicidal.

Pauline Rainville testified in a Quebec City courtroom Tuesday that she had seen her sister’s health deteriorate in the last two years of her life. 

But she said despite some suicidal comments, Pauline Rainville did not believe her sister would take her own life.

She testified that she was stunned when investigators told her Nicole Rainville had used a gun to end her life.

Delisle is accused of shooting his ill wife 2½ years ago in their Quebec City apartment.

He has pleaded not guilty.

Nicole Rainville was found with a bullet wound in her temple on Nov. 12, 2009.

The Crown alleges that Delisle killed his wife. But the retired judge insists his wife, who suffered paralysis to half of her body following a stroke in 2007, committed suicide. 

Authorities had originally deemed Rainville's death a suicide, but a police investigation eventually led detectives to a different conclusion. Delisle was arrested and charged in June 2010.

Nicole Rainville’s sister said the two weren’t close, but she did visit her once a week in 2007 following her stroke and again in 2009 when she was hospitalized for a hip fracture.

Note found by body

A note she wrote to her sister was found by Nicole Rainville’s body when it was discovered by investigators.

In the letter, Pauline Rainville encouraged her sister to take care of herself and that she would be better off in a seniors residence than at home.

Nicole Rainville's health and personality had deteriorated significantly since her stroke, Pauline told the court.

She had changed from a fiercely independent woman who was the family matriarch to a woman who was extremely discouraged by the limitations that came following her stroke.

Nicole Rainville once wrote to her sister, "Would I die off if I threw myself off the sixth floor?"

Didn't want to dig up past

Pauline Rainville said despite that note and comments made to other family members, she does not believe her sister was suicidal.

She told police that Delisle took good care of her sister because she didn’t want to bring up the past. Her sister was dead already, she testified, and he was dealing with enough already.

On Friday, Nicole Rainville’s caretaker testified that the woman’s "heart" persuaded her to go home into the care of her husband after her hip fracture, despite the fact that she likely should have gone to a private residence for care.

The four-week trial began last week. The prosecution is expected to call expert witnesses to testify about ballistics and forensic evidence it believes shows that Rainville could not have pulled the trigger herself.