Kaela Mehl stands outside the Victoria Law Courts Thursday morning holding hands with a friend. Mehl is on trial for the first degree murder of her 18-month-old daughter Charlotte who died in September 2015. Mehl has plead not guilty to the charges. The trial continues. (Lauren Boothby/VICTORIA NEWS)

Mehl murder trial: “She was a good mother”

Sister-in-law testifies about tensions between Mehl and in-laws

A 14-point list of boundaries and a request for an apology from her father-in-law fuelled tensions in the marriage of Kaela Mehl and Daniel Cunningham in the months leading up to the killing of their daughter, the jury heard Friday at the Victoria Law Courts.

Mehl is on trial for the first degree murder of 18-month-old Charlotte after mixing the sleeping pill Zopiclone with yogurt and then smothering her, before taking a fatal dose of Zopiclone herself on Sept. 16, 2015. Her former close friend and sister-in-law Ashley Cunningham took the stand Friday.

Ashley testified about Mehl’s relationship with her daughter. She said she took care of her and talked about her often.

“I thought she was a good mother,” she testified. “She was very much in love with (Charlotte).”

She spoke about about their friendship, their common interests in crafting, decorating, shopping, and Pinterest, and about problems they shared with their father-in-law Brent Cunningham.

“He can be very controlling,” she said on the stand. “I’ve heard him say things as well, to me about other people.”

Ashley said Mehl was concerned about Brent’s comments about her parenting techniques and her “post-pregnancy body,” and that she said she was uncomfortable with him being alone with Charlotte. This concern manifested in a list of “guidelines” drafted by Mehl and Ashely that included a request for an apology from Brent.

“We do not want parenting advice. We do not want our children to hear your opinions, and we want all our parenting decisions to be respected and followed. If this doesn’t happen, exposure to our children will be limited, and being left alone with our children will be out of the question,said crown prosecutor Kimberly Henders Miller, reading from the document. “Stay out of our marriages. Do not ever again tell your kids not to tell their spouses [things]. You’re breeding an environment of deceit when you do this.”

Ashley testified the pair staged an intervention with their spouses and in-laws in April 2015 that ended poorly. She said Daniel was blindsided by the intervention, and at one point he and Mehl were seen screaming at each other. Brent sent the women an apology a few weeks later, but plans for a big birthday party for Daniel’s mother Harriet Cunningham made the situation worse.

“After we had all accepted the apology before Harriet’s birthday, Dan wanted to have a big family dinner and Kaela wanted it to be smaller,” Ashley said, describing the situation that triggered their separation.

On Friday, Daniel Cunningham was also cross-examined by the defence about his recollection of events around the time he changed the locks on his house after asking Mehl to leave in May 2015, concerned that she had stolen some of his belongings.

Mehl’s trial continues next week.

lauren.boothby@vicnews.com

Read Victoria News’ coverage of the Kaela Mehl murder trial

Oct. 4: Kaela Mehl guilty of first degree murder, sentenced to life in prison

Oct. 4: First degree murder conviction requires killing be planned and deliberate

Oct. 3: Jury must determine degree of planning in killing of toddler

Sept 28: Crown challenges psychiatrist as defence wraps in Mehl murder case

Sept: 27: Drafted suicide note revealed Mehl’s mental state: psychiatrist

Sept: 26: Victoria woman hired P.I. during custody battle

Sept. 21: Victoria woman had a mental disorder when she killed daughter: psychiatrist

Sept. 19: First responders describe gruesome Victoria crime scene to jury

Sept. 16: Mehl murder trial: “She was a good mother”

Sept. 14: Emotional day in Kaela Mehl trial as defendant’s suicide email read aloud

Sept. 13: Saanich police cautioned couple night before toddler was found dead

Sept. 12: Victoria mom charged with toddler’s murder weeps listening to recording of daughter crying

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Transport Canada announces funds for pollutant clean up in Victoria Park, removal of abandoned boats

Contaminants at Laurel Point Park will be removed starting at the end of September

Moon Lantern festival to light up Gordon Head

Saturday night festival celebrates harvest moon, fall season

First day of fall: what you can look forward to in Greater Victoria this season

Food, festivals, pumpkins and more are coming your way

Seeing double, the trials and tribulations of twins

BIG READ: Three Vancouver Island mothers share their experiences with multiple births

Police seek potential victims of bad ‘nanny’

Saanich Police seek potential victims of Johnathon Lee Robichaud from Central Saanich

Conservation officer frees B.C. deer from flotation gear mishap

BC Conservation Officer Service is reminding residents to keep backyards clear of entanglements

5 things to do this weekend in and around Greater Victoria

Sooke Apple Fest returns, Saanich lights up with lantern festival and anarchists unite for downtown book fair

VIDEO: B.C.-born firefighter remembered by MP in emotional speech

Family asks first responders to look after one another in wake of suicide, growing concerns of PTSD

Airline has ‘close call’ with drone while en route to B.C. airport

Jazz Aviation reported the drone sighting near Vancouver to the RCMP and Transport Canada

Tragic accident claims life of B.C. toddler

Fundraising effort has been created to help mom and family

‘I’m no quitter’ on climate change issues, McKenna says at G7 ministers meeting

David Suzuki says if McKenna believes what she’s saying, she too should quit

VIDEO: Inside an eerily empty mall in Canada

Only nine of 517 retail spaces are open for business as the grand opening postponed to next year

B.C. wildfires burned large areas affected by mountain pine beetles: Experts

The mountain pine beetle epidemic affected more than 180,000 square kilometres in B.C.

Most Read