A Victoria, B.C., woman who admitted to killing her 18-month-old daughter eight years ago has been sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 10 years.
Kaela Mehl admitted to feeding her daughter Charlotte a lethal dose of the prescription sleeping drug Zopiclone mixed with yogurt on Sept. 16, 2015. She also consumed a potentially fatal dose of the drug herself in a failed suicide attempt.
She was convicted of first-degree murder in a 2017 trial, but that verdict was overturned on appeal on the grounds that one of the jurors was biased and that her own lawyer “failed to provide reasonable professional assistance” resulting in an unfair trial.
She pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of second-degree murder Monday.
Mehl’s ex-husband Daniel Cunningham provided a written statement outside the B.C. Supreme Court in Victoria after a judge handed the sentence down.
“This isn’t the exact outcome we hoped for but we respect the decision of the court and the sentence imposed and have, as a family, no further comment,” he wrote.
“We are relieved that this phase is over,” the statement adds, before thanking Crown counsel for their work on the file.
At her original 2017 trial, Mehl admitted to killing her daughter, but argued she was having a psychological breakdown and therefore not guilty by reason of a mental disorder — an argument the jury ultimately rejected.
That trial heard that she was in the midst of an acrimonious marital breakdown, with many of the disputes centering on access to her daughter.
It also heard that after feeding the sleeping drugs to her daughter and consuming them herself that Mehl had sent an email to her ex-husband and others saying she knew of no other way to protect their daughter.