Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Press Clippings--Part XXXVI

Elite athlete's boyfriend found guilty: Stabbed Kelly-Anne Drummond; 'Get help when you see the yellow light'

By Sue Montgomery

The Gazette, April 11, 2006

For the past three weeks in the Montreal courthouse, a silent but deeply emotional feud between two families, once joined by their children's romance, was being fought to the finish. One side desperately wanted the jury to reach a guilty verdict; the other was praying for an acquittal.

Yesterday, after four nail-biting days of deliberation, the seven-man, five-woman jury found Martin Morin-Cousineau guilty of stabbing Kelly-Anne Drummond to death.

On one side of the room, Micheline Morin-Cousineau clutched a wad of tissues, her eyes filling with tears, her body trembling. There was no one to console her, not even her husband, Jean Cousineau, who, as he has throughout the trial, showed no emotion. Their 32-year-old son sat, shackled, within view in the prisoner's box, shaking his head and mumbling to himself. His defence was that the death was an accident.

Directly across the aisle from the Morin-Cousineaus, John Drummond crossed himself, and Doreen Haddad-Drummond wiped tears from her eyes. With them sat their new partners; their marriage ended seven years ago. Their surviving daughter, Kim, born 11 months to the day after her big sister, also sat with them.

Behind the family, row after row of supporters, from battered women groups to long-lost relatives, heaved sighs of relief.

Haddad-Drummond, obviously relieved that the waiting was over, said she was happy no other women will be hurt by Morin-Cousineau, who has a history of violence against women.

"It's a victory because we can't afford to lose any more young women in Quebec," she said.

The Morin-Cousineaus politely declined an interview, saying the entire ordeal has been terribly difficult for them.

"Torn apart, all of us," Micheline Morin-Cousineau said while awaiting a verdict, shaking her head, her eyes filling with tears.

The Pierrefonds couple had adopted Martin at age 3, along with his brother, Michel, just 13 months between them. According to the Drummonds, the Morin-Cousineaus were crazy about their son's girlfriend, Kelly-Anne. She worked with children, was outgoing and an elite athlete and, like Micheline, had a keen interest in crafts.

The Drummonds, on the other hand, had reservations about their daughter's choice of boyfriend, but were willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, even when the two moved in together in August 2004. It's a decision they've second-guessed ever since.

On Oct. 3, 2004, an angry Morin-Cousineau stuck a steak knife in the back of his girlfriend's neck, severing her brain stem. She died two days later when life support was removed.By all accounts, Kelly-Anne was articulate and intelligent and was surrounded by supportive friends and family. She had insisted she could work things out with her new beau on her own.

"Kelly-Anne Drummond was not a weak woman," crown prosecutor Helene Di Salvo said. She said she hoped the case would encourage other women in abusive relationships to seek help."

There are women who are threatened, beaten and harassed and think they can deal with it themselves," she said. "But get help when you see the yellow light. Don't wait for the red light."

Sentencing arguments are scheduled for Thursday. The Drummonds will give victim-impact statements.

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