Mothers on opposite sides of tragedy: Sentence hearing. 'My son is not an assassin'
By Sue Montgomery
The Gazette, April 13, 2006
They are two mothers in excruciating emotional pain, trying to come to terms with the violent end of their children's romance.
But when it comes to how Martin Morin-Cousineau should be punished for killing Kelly-Anne Drummond, the two women could not be farther apart.
"I believe a life in hell in the gallows of prison for the rest of his life would be the ultimate punishment. He can live each day in hell, being reminded of Kelly-Anne and the beautiful life he destroyed," Doreen Haddad-Drummond told Superior Court as she read from her victim impact statement during sentencing arguments yesterday.
Micheline Morin-Cousineau, breaking her silence for the first time since her son's second-degree murder trial began March 20, told the court she believes the death was an accident.
On Monday, a jury found Martin Morin-Cousineau, 32, guilty of stabbing Kelly-Anne Drummond, 24, in the back of the neck on Oct. 3, 2004. He faces a life sentence with no chance of parole for at least 10 years.
"We were always there for him, no matter what," Micheline Morin-Cousineau told the court, tears filling her son's eyes as he sat shackled in the prisoner's box. It was the first emotion he'd shown since his trial began.
"My son is not an assassin. My son is not a murderer."
After finding they couldn't have children, she and her husband, Jean Cousineau, adopted Martin and his brother Michel from an orphanage near Riviere des Prairies when the boys were just 15 months and 21/2 years old, respectively.
Yesterday, she wondered aloud why her son, who had started life in a prison of sorts, would now spend the better part of his adulthood in another jail.
The couple sent their boys to private schools. Growing up in Pierrefonds, they learned to speak English while playing on the street and on hockey teams.
At age 12, Martin went to France on an exchange program - a trip "that changed his life," his parents say. Later, he would spend a summer travelling and working odd jobs in Europe.
He attended John Abbott College, then started a degree in business administration at either Concordia or McGill University - his mother wasn't sure which. Finally in 2003, he landed his "dream job" as a travel agent.
Drummond's death resulted from an argument she and Morin-Cousineau had over $30 owed to their landlord. The couple had just moved into a Pierrefonds apartment that August.
Morin-Cousineau maintained the steak knife he was using to eat dinner flew into the air when he threw up his hands in frustration. The next thing he heard was a thump, then glass shattering.
When he ran to the kitchen, Kelly-Anne was lying face-up in a pool of blood on the floor. A brain scan later revealed a 9.5-centimetre blade embedded in her neck. She died Oct. 5.
There were sniffles and sobs in the courtroom yesterday in what was arguably the most emotional day of the trial. Kim Drummond took the stand and spoke publicly about the death of her sister, born 11 months to the day before her.
"The day I walked into the hospital room and found my sister hopeless and lying in the bed ... my parents screaming for her to wake up - this is a constant image that will never leave my mind."
The Drummonds' only surviving child said she worries about her parents.
"It scares me to accept the fact my parents will get older and sadder at times, and it's only me now that has to help them.
"I honestly don't feel I can provide as much strength and courage as everyone says I have."
Crown prosecutor Helene Di Salvo, asking for no parole for at least 13 years, listed conjugal violence cases in which women were shot, stabbed or strangled. Superior Court has been setting parole eligibility at about 12 years in such cases, she said.
Di Salvo noted the jury that found Morin-Cousineau guilty recommended no parole for 15 years - something the judge is not bound to accept.
Defence lawyer Nellie Benoit, asking for the minimum eligibility of 10 years, said Drummond died during an impulsive act.
"There was one knife, not 15, not five, but one," she said. "She wasn't tortured for hours. It was instantaneous. ... He called 911, he didn't disappear to Mexico or cut her into 15 pieces, or hide the body or the knife.
"It's sad, but it could have been worse."
When Di Salvo questioned Benoit's take on violence, Justice Claude Champagne interjected: "At the end of the day, Madame Drummond is dead."
The judge is to render his sentence Thursday.