Judge gives juror final instructions in trial of Montreal man accused in wife’s death

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. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

Jurors hearing the case of a Montreal man accused in the killing of his ailing wife will have to weigh two possible verdicts.

Quebec Superior Court Justice Helene Di Salvo told the eight-man, four-woman jury that they must find Michel Cadotte guilty–the only question is whether his crime was second-degree murder or manslaughter.

The judge is giving final instructions to jurors today after which they will be sequestered until they reach a unanimous verdict.

Cadotte is charged with second-degree murder in the February 2017 death of Jocelyne Lizotte, his wife of 19 years.

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Lizotte, 60, was suffering from advanced Alzheimer’s disease and was unable to care for herself. Cadotte had been told about a year before the slaying that his wife did not qualify for a medically assisted death because she couldn’t consent and was not considered to be at the end of her life.

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Di Salvo’s instructions come two years to the day after Lizotte was suffocated with a pillow in her long-term care bed.

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Cadotte’s lawyers argued that their client was in a depressed state of mind and unable to cope after watching Lizotte suffer for nine years.

The Crown has countered that Cadotte understood the impact of his actions and intended to kill Lizotte when he held the pillow over her face.

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