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Orderly testifies victim in Alzheimer’s slaying required constant care

Michel Cadotte, accused of murder in the 2017 death of his ailing wife in what has been described as a mercy killing, is seen at the courthouse in Montreal on Monday, January 7, 2019.
Michel Cadotte, accused of murder in the 2017 death of his ailing wife in what has been described as a mercy killing, is seen at the courthouse in Montreal on Monday, January 7, 2019. Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press

An orderly who looked after Jocelyne Lizotte at a Montreal long-term care facility where she was being treated for Alzheimer’s disease testified Thursday her case was a difficult one.

Maryse Gesse took the stand Thursday at the trial of Michel Cadotte, charged with second-degree murder in the death of his wife of 19 years. The Crown alleges he suffocated her with a pillow in her room in February 2017 because he was unable to handle her deteriorating health.

READ MORE: Montrealer with Alzheimer’s was not at ‘end of her life,’ says physician at husband’s trial

Gesse described Cadotte as Lizotte’s spokesman — he was the one asking for things on her behalf because Lizotte was unable to communicate.

Under cross-examination, Gesse said she was very familiar with the accused, who was frequently at Lizotte’s side. She said Cadotte did his wife’s laundry, had a hairdresser visit every month and had a television installed in her room so Lizotte could listen to music. He also made sure she had better quality lotions, soaps and shampoos.

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READ MORE: Crown outlines case against Quebec man charged with suffocating ailing wife

She testified that Cadotte, 57, had even trained to be an orderly in an effort to better take care of his ailing wife.

Gesse told jurors Lizotte could not eat, get dressed or sit up without help.

“It was a heavy case. We had to do everything for her,” she said.

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But Lizotte, 60, wasn’t the most difficult case, Gesse added, as she didn’t put up any resistance like other patients might.

Gesse also confirmed that Lizotte spent much of her time restrained because she was often agitated and staff feared she’d fall. A physician testified on Wednesday Lizotte was on medication to treat extreme agitation.

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“That was her life,” Gesse said, demonstrating for jurors how the woman would rock back and forth in her chair, stopping briefly only when someone touched her. “She was always restrained, all the time, except for when she walked.”

The trial is expected to last between six and seven weeks.