It was an emotional day as the jury heard Kaela Mehl’s suicide note read aloud in a Victoria courtroom, and testimony about the hours leading up to her daughter Charlotte’s death.
The jury heard that the note was sent from Mehl’s email address at 1:36 a.m. on Sept. 16, the morning she killed her 18-month-old daughter. Daniel Cunningham, her ex-husband, testified Thursday he read it shortly after 4 a.m. that morning after starting his shift at a local catering company. He testified that, after reading the email, he called police because he thought Mehl had skipped town with his daughter.
“You can go back to the life you wanted,” Mehl wrote to Cunningham in the email, read aloud by Crown prosecutor Kimberly Henders Miller. “You are a liar, a thief and a cheater. You have no morals or redeeming qualities.”
Mehl wept loudly in the courtroom during the reading.
In the email, Mehl wrote that Cunningham’s mother is “weak,” that his father “lies and steals,” and said to Cunningham’s lawyer, “I hope they pay you enough to help you sleep at night.”
“To everyone that loved and supported me … it’s that I’m not strong enough,” the prosecutor reads. In the courtroom, Mehl cries, breathes heavily and coughs.
Prior to reading the email, Henders Miller read the transcript of a recording at the Saanich Police Department Sept. 15, 2015, taken when the couple exchanged their daughter. The prosecutor asked Cunningham if this was the last time he saw his daughter.
“Yes it was,” he said, and then immediately asked the judge if he could take a break, and she obliged. Cunningham rose from the stand, his face red, and reached up under his glasses to wipe his eyes. The jury left the room.
Defence lawyer Jeremy Mills cross-examined Cunningham Thursday afternoon. He asked whether Cunningham thought the breathalyzer conditions in the custody agreement were reasonable. Those conditions required him to take one test on arriving, and another five minutes later, plus a test for anyone accompanying him for the pickup/dropoff of Charlotte.
The court heard Cunningham had previous driving violations. Between January 2006 and August 2010, there were four driving prohibitions on his record; three were alcohol-related and one was drug-related. Cunningham testified he had been in four car accidents, and in three of the cases his cars were completely destroyed.
“Do you still say alcohol is not an issue for you?” Mills asked Cunningham.
“Alcohol is not an issue for me,” Cunningham replied.
Earlier he testified that he had driving prohibitions related to alcohol when he was younger, but did not have any during his relationship with Mehl and when his daughter was alive.
Mehl has pleaded not guilty to the charge of first degree murder. Her defence is expected to begin next week, and the trial is expected to last three weeks.
The defense continues their cross examination of Daniel Cunningham on Friday.