'Kids were happy' night before they were found dead in Sorella home, brother testifies

Enzo Sorella's two nieces appeared "normal" the night before he and his older brother found them dead in March 2009.

Years leading to deaths were filled with agony for Adele Sorella after husband disappeared, court hears

Adele Sorella has pleaded not guilty to two charges of first-degree murder for the deaths of her daughters, Amanda, 9, and Sabrina, 8. (Radio-Canada)

The night before Enzo Sorella and his older brother found their two nieces dead in their sister's Laval home in March 2009, he said "everything seemed normal."

"The kids were happy, joyful. They even did a dance show for us," Sorella, 41, said before the jury at his sister's first-degree murder trial on Wednesday. 

Enzo Sorella is the twelfth witness to appear before the trial, presided over by Superior Court Justice Sophie Bourque. Wednesday was its seventh day.

His sister, Adele Sorella, 52, has pleaded not guilty to two charges of first-degree murder in the deaths of her daughters, Amanda, 9, and Sabrina, 8.

In response to questions from Crown prosecutor Nektarios Tzortzinas, Enzo said he went for dinner at his sister's house every night with his father.

His mother, Teresa Di Cesare, had moved into Adele Sorella's home in 2007, a year after her daughter's husband disappeared.

'Everything seemed normal, nothing out of the ordinary,' Sorella's brother, Enzo, said of a dinner the night before the two girls were found dead. (Court exhibit)

Enzo and his brother, Luigi Sorella, testified this week that their sister was devastated after learning De Vito had gone into hiding because of alleged ties to organized crime.

On the night before her children were found dead, however, Adele "seemed fine," Enzo said. 

"Nothing out of the ordinary," he said. "She tried to get along with us, as a normal family."

Sorella disturbed by husband's disappearance, brother says 

But in the years after De Vito's disappearance, Luigi Sorella said, his sister "was going through hell."

Under cross examination from defence lawyer Pierre Poupart earlier that day, Luigi said Adele told him she was shocked to hear of her husband's suspected involvement with organized crime.

"I told her she has family to support her, but that's not enough. She needs special help," he said.

He said she made three attempts to take her own life in the years after De Vito left. 

Adele eventually did consult a psychologist and was taking anti-depressants, Luigi, 50, said. He also described taking his sister to Sacré-Coeur hospital, where she was temporarily admitted to the psychiatric ward.

A court photo of the Sorella home in Laval. In the years after her husband went missing, Luigi Sorella said, his sister 'was going through hell.' (Court exhibit)

"Nothing was working. We felt the system itself was letting us down," Luigi told the jury.

He added that there were periods when Adele wasn't able to cook for herself, or her children, or even take them to school.

He and his parents helped take care of the family, Luigi said.

On Tuesday, Luigi described receiving a worrying voicemail from his sister on the afternoon of March 31, 2009. He rushed to her house on L'Adjudant Street in Laval, thinking she might have tried to commit suicide again.

Luigi called his brother Enzo to meet him there. That's when they found their two nieces lying side-by-side on the floor of their playroom.

The cause of their death has not yet been established before the court. The trial will continue Monday.


Verity Stevenson is a reporter with CBC in Montreal. She has previously worked for the Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star in Toronto, and the Telegraph-Journal in Saint John.