'Suffering too much': Montreal man admits to smothering ailing wife with pillow
Michel Cadotte testified Monday about how he killed his wife, but said it was an action of last resort after he tried and failed to get approval for his wife to have a medically-assisted death.
Cadotte is accused of the second-degree murder of his wife Jocelyne Lizotte.
She had advanced Alzheimer's disease and Cadotte said she declined rapidly even before her official diagnosis in 2011.
He said that Lizotte could understand that her life was not normal, especially when she locked herself out of a bathroom and soiled herself.
Lizotte had been going to day centres for care three times a week but caring for her four days a week was more than Cadotte could handle since she was frequently aggressive.
Cadotte has frequently said that Lizotte was his soulmate, and said that caring for her left him with multiple health issues of his own, including heart problems, difficulty sleeping, and other issues that left him unable to work.
He said that caring for Lizotte had destroyed him physically.
In 2013 Lizotte was admitted to a long-term care facility and it was in her room at the Emilie Gamelin facility where she was found dead at the age of 60 in 2017.
On the stand on Monday, Cadotte said he began attempting to get medically-assisted death for his wife in 2015 but had no success.
There were two main obstacles: assisted death in Quebec is only granted if someone is terminally ill and facing a decline, which Lizotte was not.
The second problem is that a person must be mentally sound and must make the request themselves. The law does not permit someone to set up a contingency clause even when facing inevitable mental decline, and nobody is allowed to make the request on someone else's behalf.
Faced with those obstacles Cadotte eventually gave up the attempt.
Testifying about the killing
Cadotte says he arrived to visit his wife on Feb. 20, 2017 -- a Monday -- after friction with his family led him to spend the weekend drinking.
He says he had barely slept and was not feeling himself when he got to the long-term care facility where Jocelyne Lizotte was living.
Cadotte says it saddened him to see Lizotte with her neck bent, sitting in a geriatric chair without a specialized head rest. He says he struggled to feed her lunch that day and gave her several pieces of chocolate, crying as he did it.
As she fell asleep, Cadotte put Lizotte in her bed. He says he struggled to place a pillow under his wife's head. He says he can't explain what happened, but after a couple of attempts, he placed the pillow over her face and smothered her.
"She was suffering too much," Cadotte testified. "I didn't want her to suffer anymore. I was suffering for her."
His defence rests upon his state of mind during the act, and in court Monday Cadotte explained what happened from his point of view.
He said at that point he left the building and smoked a cigarette, then returned with the idea of attempting to revive her, but instead realized that she was dead.
With files from The Canadian Press.