Preliminary hearing begins for woman accused of murdering three children
Published Monday, October 21, 2013 12:19PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, October 21, 2013 7:08PM EDT
Sonia Blanchette appeared calm and showed little emotion as she appeared at a preliminary hearing in Drummondville Monday for the murder of her three children.
Blanchette is charged with three counts of first-degree murder for the 2012 deaths in a story that shocked the community.
All three were found deceased in their mother's apartment on Dec. 2, 2012, with a coroner's report determining that the eldest, Lorelie, age 5, died through being strangled and drowning. Four-year-old Loic and 2-year-old Anais drowned. The coroner determined there were no drugs in the children’s systems.
More details of the hearing cannot be shared, as they are subject to a publication ban.
Blanchette’s parents appeared at the courthouse, but declined to speak to media. The children’s father, Patrick Desautels, who was embroiled in a divorce and custody battle with Blanchette at the time of their deaths, was not there.
Blanchette’s calm demeanor Monday was a departure from one of her first court appearances in December, a month after the children’s deaths, where she appeared confused, prompting a judge to order a psychiatric evaluation. Doctors determined she is fit to stand trial.
At the time of the deaths, Blanchette was only permitted to visit her children for one day every two weeks and only under the supervision of her mother, who -- for unknown reasons -- was absent at the time of her visit.
The purpose of a preliminary hearing is to determine if there is enough evidence to warrant a trial, and to examine it so the defence can build its case.
Assuming enough evidence is collected, Blanchette has requested a trial by jury.