Kaela Mehl stands outside the Victoria Law Courts Thursday afternoon 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)

MURDER CASE: Emotional day in Kaela Mehl trial as defendant’s suicide email read aloud

Ex-husband talks about past alcohol related experiences on cross examination

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.

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

“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.

RELATED: Kaela Mehl murder trial — Saanich police cautioned couple night before toddler was found dead

“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.

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

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