The daughter of a murder victim in LaSalle said she's happy her father will spend the rest of his life in prison for the crime.
Dania Nehme was barely 17 when she heard her father Ahmad Nehme burst into the bathroom where her mother, Catherine de Boucherville, was getting ready.
The teenager heard her mother being stabbed.
Panicking, she called 911 as she heard her mother screaming, only to see her father come out of the bathroom covered in blood.
“When I saw my dad with all the blood covering him and his right hand full of blood, I knew she was gone. I knew,” she said.
Dania was worried she would be next and was also afraid because her younger brother, who has autism, was vulnerable.
“I was screaming, ‘please, somebody bring an ambulance!’” she said. “I was scared for not only my life but his life as well. I didn’t know what to do.”
It took five years to bring her father to trial, but on Sunday Ahmad Nehme was convicted of first-degree murder in the stabbing death of his wife.
“He was full of frustrations and anger,” she said, explaining how he would accuse de Boucherville of infidelity. “He made so many threats, and he told her so many disgusting insults. I’ve never met anybody as vulgar as him.”
Dania said the thought even crossed her mind that her mother’s life was in danger.
“I was lying on my bed and had this picture in my mind of, ‘Imagine if dad killed mom,” she said, before convincing herself otherwise.
Nehme faces life in prison, with no possibility of parole for 25 years.
The 53-year-old had confessed to the murder of his wife.
The defence had argued Nehme wasn’t criminally responsible because of mental health issues.
Nehme also claimed that his wife was cheating on him and was plotting to kill him.
The jury didn’t believe his claims, and Nehme was found guilty of first-degree murder, the only logical verdict, according to his daughter.
The young woman said her father was manipulative and violent, and she was afraid he'd beat the murder charge.
Dania said she remembers her father insulting her as a young child, and said ever since the age of five she knew something was not right.
“I just saw how mean he was, how cold-hearted he was. It was so rare, there wasn’t a day where I wouldn’t cry. It wouldn’t feel natural,” she said.
Dania said her father showed signs of violence, remembering an incident from her graduation, when she didn’t ask his permission to get in a limousine with her schoolmates.
Dania returned home to discover her father had punched a hole in the wall and trashed her bedroom.
“He looked at me, and I was wearing my long dress, and he said, ‘I wish I had never met you. You’re disgusting,’” said Dania, adding that it was clear he didn’t want her to grow up.
The young woman said her mother, too, knew that he was violent, and told her that if anything ever happened to her, that her family would be there for the children.
“She gave up her own job for him. She literally gave up her whole life just to please him. And nothing was ever enough for him. He always was jealous. He would invent stories that weren't true just to get on her case and empty himself out on her,” she said.
Dania Nehme has now set her sights on rebuilding her life.
Despite the tragedy, she was able to stay in school and had the support of her mother's family.
She has also suffered, however, from depression, anxiety attacks, and post-traumatic stress syndrome – it has been a very long way to recovery. To help in her efforts to provide stability for herself and her brother, a friend has started a GoFundMe page for them.
In university now, her goal is a master’s degree – and then maybe a PhD.
“I’m very ambitious,” she said with a laugh, adding on a more earnest note: “My goal is just to be happy and to take care of my brother, because I know it’s what my mom would like me to do.”
- With files from Stephane Giroux and The Canadian Press