Montreal

'I cracked,' Michel Cadotte texted his brother-in-law, jury hears as murder trial begins

About a year before Jocelyne Lizotte's death, Cadotte had made inquiries about accessing medical assistance in dying for his wife, who had Alzheimer's disease, the Crown said.

A year earlier, Cadotte had inquired about medically assisted death for his wife, who had Alzheimer's: Crown

Michel Cadotte, who was charged in February with second-degree murder of his wife, Jocelyne Lizotte, is shown at the court house in Montreal on Friday, July 7, 2017. (Giuseppe Valiante/Canadian Press)

Michel Cadotte smothered his wife, who suffered from severe Alzheimer's disease, with a pillow, Crown prosecutor Antonio Parapuf told the jury in his opening arguments at Cadotte's second-degree murder trial Tuesday.

"He chose to end her life," said Parapuf. 

Jocelyne Lizotte, 60, was found dead on Feb. 20, 2017, at the Centre d'hébergement Émilie-Gamelin, the long-term care institution (CHSLD) in east-end Montreal where Lizotte had lived for the previous three years.

About a year before her death, Cadotte had made inquiries about accessing medical assistance in dying for his wife, the Crown said. He was told Lizotte would be ineligible because her death was not imminent, and she was not coherent enough to consent. 

Lizotte had had Alzheimer's for about 10 years, Parapuf told the jury. 

"Her health had deteriorated, and she could not communicate or recognize her close ones," Parapuf said. 

"She was in a state of extreme vulnerability." 

Accused told head nurse what he'd done, says Crown

On the day of his wife's death, Cadotte had plans to meet her brother, François Lizotte, but instead went to visit her at the CHSLD, Parapuf said.

He went into his wife's room at around 12:45 p.m. When a care worker tried to get in the door, Cadotte blocked it with his foot, said the prosecutor.

About 20 minutes later, Cadotte asked a care worker to call 911 and went to smoke a cigarette. 

That's when CHSLD staff discovered Lizotte's inanimate body. 

Parapuf said Cadotte then asked to speak with the institution's head nurse, admitting to her that he'd suffocated Lizotte.

Death notice on Facebook

At 12:53 p.m., the dates of Lizotte's birth and death were posted to Cadotte's Facebook page. 

Three minutes after that first post, another post went up. 

"I cracked," the post reads, in colloquial French. 

The Crown said he also texted Lizotte's brother Francois around that time. 

"Sorry, brother-in-law," he wrote. "I cracked." 

Addressing the jury, Superior Court Justice Hélène Di Salvo told the eight men and four women not to let the fact that Cadotte has been free on bail since July 2017 impact their decision-making. 

The jury is to hear testimony from CHSLD employees, police officers, the doctor who pronounced Lizotte dead, the doctor who performed her autopsy and a judiciary biologist.

The trial is expected to last six to seven weeks.

About the Author

Claire Loewen

Journalist

Claire can be reached at claire.loewen@cbc.ca