Man on trial for killing wife with Alzheimer's was 'pushed beyond his limits,' defence says

The lawyer for Michel Cadotte, 57, says the defence won't dispute the Montreal man ended the life of his wife, Jocelyne Lizotte, in 2017, but will argue he cannot be held responsible because he was under extreme psychological distress.

Defence won't dispute Cadotte, 57, ended his wife's life in 2017 but blames psychological distress

Michel Cadotte, who is out on bail, makes his way to the courtroom for the start of the defence arguments at his trial for the second-degree murder of his wife, Jocelyne Lizotte, in 2017. (Sudha Krishnan/CBC)

Michel Cadotte was so depressed and distraught watching his wife, Jocelyne Lizotte, deteriorate due to Alzheimer's disease that he was "pushed beyond his limits," his lawyer, Nicolas Welt, told the jury in his opening remarks at the Montreal courthouse Thursday.

Welt said the defence won't dispute Cadotte, 57, ended his wife's life in 2017, but it will argue he cannot be held responsible because of his state of mind.

Cadotte has pleaded not guilty to the second-degree murder of his 60-year-old wife, who was found smothered to death Feb. 20, 2017, at the Centre d'hébergement Émilie-Gamelin, long-term care institution where she'd been living for three years.

The first witness for the defence, physical rehabilitation technician Lorraine Aubry-Roy, told the jury Lizotte could barely walk or do anything in her own, and her health was deteriorating.

Aubry-Roy testified she ran into Cadotte in the elevator about a half hour before her patient was found dead.

Cadotte had asked Aubry-Roy how things were going, smiled and thanked her for caring for his wife.

Cadotte's sister, sister-in-law testify

France Cadotte, the defendant's brother, told the jury Michel Cadotte had grown increasingly depressed as Lizotte's condition deteriorated.

Johanne Lizotte, Jocelyne's sister, described her brother-in- law as a loving and caring husband who brought his wife flowers and champagne on special occasions.

She told the jury their mother had also suffered from Alzheimer's disease, and years ago her sister had said she didn't want to end up like their mother.

The jury has heard that in 2016, Cadotte sought medically assisted help in dying for his wife but was told she did not meet the criteria because she was not at the final stages of her life, nor was she capable of giving consent.

A head nurse testified Cadotte admitted to smothering his wife with a pillow because he could no longer bear to see her suffer.

Cadotte, who is out on bail, is expected to testify in his own defence.

The trial, which began on Jan. 14, is expected to last about another four weeks.