WARNING: This article contains content that readers may find disturbing.
Melissa Desrosiers said she thought she was helping a friend the day her seven-year-old daughter was killed in southeast Edmonton.
David Moss has admitted to killing Bella Rose Desrosiers but his defence is arguing he is not criminally responsible for her death. Moss has been charged with second-degree murder.
Desrosiers took the stand at the Edmonton Law Courts on Wednesday afternoon. She was in a different room than Moss and had a support dog at her side as she recounted what happened leading up to Bella’s death at her home in Mill Woods.
Desrosiers testified she knew of Moss growing up as they lived in a small town, but didn’t know him well. She didn’t have a full conversation with him until he gave her a tattoo that honours her husband Ben, who died by suicide.
They were Facebook friends, and on the day of Bella’s death in 2020, Moss talked to Desrosiers on the phone. She said he seemed distraught and possibly suicidal. She went to his house to check on him and said he looked much different than the previous times she saw him. He looked like he hadn’t slept for days and was unkept and sullen, she said.
“He didn’t seem like he was in a safe place to be by himself,” Desrosiers told the court.
“My fear was that he would kill himself, and he had a family, and I didn’t want the same loss for another family that I had.”
She took him home with her and picked up her two daughters along the way. This was the first time Bella met Moss. The girls gave him pictures they drew. Desrosiers said he seemed normal and said, ‘Thank you.’
Once they arrived at Desrosiers’ home, Moss said he would take a shower and a nap and Desrosiers said she heated a lasagna for Moss and then checked on him. He told her that he was feeling “very anxious.”
Desrosiers left him in the room and hid a block of knives in her master bedroom because she still feared Moss might self-harm.
She said she started to put her girls to bed when Moss appeared behind Desrosiers and started to attack Bella, cutting her with a pair of scissors.
“I was swearing and screaming at him, ‘Why?’ And he said: ‘I am doing this for Ben,'” Desrosiers said.
He went to sit on the couch, Desrosiers said.
“I don’t remember him saying anything, just staring,” she added.
“I kept saying to him, ‘Get out of the house,’ and he just sat there.”
The defence has closed its case. It is arguing that Moss suffered severe mental health problems and is not criminally responsible for Bella’s death. The Crown will continue its case Thursday.