Thursday, April 06, 2006

Press Clippings--Part XXXI

"Accidents happen, lawyer in murder case tells jury: But prosecutor casts doubt on defendant's testimony"

By: Sue Montgomery

The Gazette, April 6, 2006

Chances are slim that a steak knife tossed by Martin Morin-Cousineau from another room penetrated Kelly-Anne Drummond's neck, causing her to slip on a bottle and hit her head against a stove door, thrusting the knife farther into her skull, defence lawyer Sacha Blais argued yesterday.

But accidents do happen, Blais told the jury during closing arguments at Morin-Cousineau's second-degree murder trial in Quebec Superior Court.

"Accidents are the exception," he said. "They aren't the norm or the average."

And if Drummond, Morin-Cousineau's live-in girlfriend, died by accident because of the 2004 incident, the jury must acquit his client, Blais said.

But prosecutor Helene Di Salvo called Morin-Cousineau's testimony a "festival of 'I don't remember,' 'I have no idea,' 'I assume' and 'I presume.' "

The accused's statements to police and his testimony were full of contradictions, Di Salvo said, and he didn't have the attitude of someone who had just killed his girlfriend by accident.

Morin-Cousineau deliberately killed Drummond, 24, because she wanted to leave the relationship, Di Salvo said.

The trial has heard how the couple were arguing on Oct. 3, 2004, over $30 owed to their landlord. Morin-Cousineau, who turns 32 today, was eating pork chops and noodles in the living room; Drummond was in the kitchen.

At one point, Morin-Cousineau threw up his hands and shouted "Enough!" His fork was beside him on the couch, but it was never clear where the knife ended up. Then he heard a thump and glass breaking in the kitchen.

He found Drummond lying in a pool of blood, a knife handle under her head. A brain scan later found a 9.5-centimetre blade lodged in the back of her neck.

Morin-Cousineau called 911 and in a panicked voice asked for help.

"He wasn't trying to hide anything," Blais said. "He said they'd had a fight."

But Di Salvo noted Morin-Cousineau also washed his hands, paced the apartment and took the time to put on pants and socks instead of attending to his girlfriend's injury.

Drummond died two days later.

Justice Claude Champagne is to instruct the jury today.

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