Daniel Cunningham and a friend stand outside the Victoria Law Courts Tuesday morning. Cunningham testified in court about the tumultous custody battle with ex-wife Kaela Mehl over his daughter Charlotte. Mehl is on trial for the first degree murder of their daughter. (Lauren Boothby/VICTORIA NEWS)

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

Kaela Mehl is charged with the murder of her 18-month-old daughter

Kaela Mehl sobbed to the sound of her daughter crying on an audio recording played for the court Tuesday morning.

Mehl has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the September 2015 death of her 18-month-old daughter, Charlotte. But the jury will not have to decide if she killed her daughter. The court heard Monday she fed the child sleeping pills mixed into yogurt then later smothered her, which is undisputed, meaning the jury must determine whether Mehl deliberately planned to kill her daughter.

On Tuesday, the jury heard an interaction between Mehl, her ex-husband Daniel Cunningham, Mehl’s mother, Leanna Comis, and Charlotte; a snapshot of the tumultuous custody battle over the toddler in the weeks and months leading up to her death. The exchange, recorded by Mehl, was recovered by Const. Mark Knoop of VicPD’s tech crimes department, who was second to take the stand at the Victoria Law Courts.

“Get it in the God-damn truck,” Mehl yells, a child crying in the background. “Mumma,” the toddler whimpers, which prompted Mehl to weep and cough loudly in the courtroom.

The recording continues to play, the couple yell back and forth, seemingly about moving items.

“Not in front of the kid, okay?” Cunningham says after a heated exchange.

Some time passes, and Mehl says to her mother: “I’m sorry: I lost my cool.”

Comis tells her daughter that she and Cunningham are getting upset, and “this is definitely going to come back and bite you in the ass.”

The four-man, eight-woman jury heard further testimony from Cunningham today about the custody dispute.

His hands shook in the courtroom as he drank a cup of water on the stand before speaking about the heated, escalating events between himself and Mehl.

The court heard how, after the couple first separated, Cunningham was limited to supervised visits at Mehl’s home, who recorded the interactions with her phone. He was granted more access to his daughter over time, but was often followed and watched by Mehl and Comis.

He said several custody agreements were arranged that were never formalized, which included conditions for him to pay child support, visit Charlotte under supervision of his own parents, not consume alcohol, and take a breathalyzer test before and after picking up his daughter.

Cunningham told the court that when he picked up his daughter he was to take a breathalyzer test when he first arrived, and a second one five minutes later to confirm the reading, which he said always showed a zero alcohol level. Whomever accompanied him on the visits were also told they must take the test before Cunningham could see the child.

Also of note was Cunningham’s account of the day Mehl came to his home to take back her belongings. He said Mehl took wine glasses from the cupboard and smashed them in the sink, saying “this is my shit and I can break it if I want.” She also reportedly took plants from their pots, throwing them on the balcony. Cunningham admitted to also becoming agitated and raising his voice.

The Crown continues with their case this week, and the defence is expected to begin late 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

kaela mehlmurdermurder trialr v mehl

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Kaela Mehl is charged with first degree murder in the 2015 death of her toddler, Charlotte. The Crown is laying out its case against her this week during the trial at the Victoria Law Courts. (Facebook)

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Killing of Discovery Island wolf was legal, says BC Conservation Service

Takaya was shot and killed by hunters on March 24

Anti-racism rally takes to the streets of downtown Victoria

Vigil for George Floyd planned at B.C. Legislature for 7 p.m.

Pub seeks 55-seat patio on Oak Bay Avenue

Oak Bay invites businesses to expand onto sidewalks, parking spots

B.C. Conservation kills bear in Langford amid growing problem of habituation

Officer demands garbage lockdown for residents in bear territory

PHOTOS: Greater Victoria School District reports 50 per cent of students back in class

Students are on a rotational schedule alternating two days a week

VIDEO: A Vancouver Island black bear takes weekend nap in eagle tree

Videos captured by Terry Eissfeldt shows the bear arriving Saturday night and sleeping in on Sunday

COVID-19 birthday drive-by celebrations snuffed out in Island community

Bylaw officer visit with threats of a fine mean parade trucks taken off the road

Vancouver Island Regional Libraries to offer ‘takeout’ style services

VIRL will offer the service on a branch-by-branch basis

George Floyd asphyxiated by sustained pressure: family autopsy

Death sparked a wave of protests across the U.S. and abroad

COVID-19: B.C. commercial landlords can’t evict if they decline rent assistance

Emergency order ‘incentive’ for federal program, Carole James says

B.C. Hockey League prepping for 2020-21

League reviewing different scenarios and start times in compliance with provincial regulations

Duncan’s Queen Margaret’s School pioneers thermal imaging in school reopening

Private school is first in B.C. to use new tech post-COVID-19

Investigators probe death of CN employee at Surrey rail yard

Transportation Safety Board is investigating an ‘occurrence that took place during switching operations’

Most Read