Kaela Mehl stands outside the Victoria Law Courts Thursday morning holding hands with a friend. Mehl is on trial for the first degree murder of her 18-month-old daughter Charlotte who died in September 2015. Mehl has plead not guilty to the charges. The trial continues. (Lauren Boothby/VICTORIA NEWS)

Mehl murder trial: “She was a good mother”

Sister-in-law testifies about tensions between Mehl and in-laws

A 14-point list of boundaries and a request for an apology from her father-in-law fuelled tensions in the marriage of Kaela Mehl and Daniel Cunningham in the months leading up to the killing of their daughter, the jury heard Friday at the Victoria Law Courts.

Mehl is on trial for the first degree murder of 18-month-old Charlotte after mixing the sleeping pill Zopiclone with yogurt and then smothering her, before taking a fatal dose of Zopiclone herself on Sept. 16, 2015. Her former close friend and sister-in-law Ashley Cunningham took the stand Friday.

Ashley testified about Mehl’s relationship with her daughter. She said she took care of her and talked about her often.

“I thought she was a good mother,” she testified. “She was very much in love with (Charlotte).”

She spoke about about their friendship, their common interests in crafting, decorating, shopping, and Pinterest, and about problems they shared with their father-in-law Brent Cunningham.

“He can be very controlling,” she said on the stand. “I’ve heard him say things as well, to me about other people.”

Ashley said Mehl was concerned about Brent’s comments about her parenting techniques and her “post-pregnancy body,” and that she said she was uncomfortable with him being alone with Charlotte. This concern manifested in a list of “guidelines” drafted by Mehl and Ashely that included a request for an apology from Brent.

“We do not want parenting advice. We do not want our children to hear your opinions, and we want all our parenting decisions to be respected and followed. If this doesn’t happen, exposure to our children will be limited, and being left alone with our children will be out of the question,said crown prosecutor Kimberly Henders Miller, reading from the document. “Stay out of our marriages. Do not ever again tell your kids not to tell their spouses [things]. You’re breeding an environment of deceit when you do this.”

Ashley testified the pair staged an intervention with their spouses and in-laws in April 2015 that ended poorly. She said Daniel was blindsided by the intervention, and at one point he and Mehl were seen screaming at each other. Brent sent the women an apology a few weeks later, but plans for a big birthday party for Daniel’s mother Harriet Cunningham made the situation worse.

“After we had all accepted the apology before Harriet’s birthday, Dan wanted to have a big family dinner and Kaela wanted it to be smaller,” Ashley said, describing the situation that triggered their separation.

On Friday, Daniel Cunningham was also cross-examined by the defence about his recollection of events around the time he changed the locks on his house after asking Mehl to leave in May 2015, concerned that she had stolen some of his belongings.

Mehl’s trial continues next week.

lauren.boothby@vicnews.com

Read Victoria News’ coverage of the Kaela Mehl murder trial

Oct. 4: Kaela Mehl guilty of first degree murder, sentenced to life in prison

Oct. 4: First degree murder conviction requires killing be planned and deliberate

Oct. 3: Jury must determine degree of planning in killing of toddler

Sept 28: Crown challenges psychiatrist as defence wraps in Mehl murder case

Sept: 27: Drafted suicide note revealed Mehl’s mental state: psychiatrist

Sept: 26: Victoria woman hired P.I. during custody battle

Sept. 21: Victoria woman had a mental disorder when she killed daughter: psychiatrist

Sept. 19: First responders describe gruesome Victoria crime scene to jury

Sept. 16: Mehl murder trial: “She was a good mother”

Sept. 14: Emotional day in Kaela Mehl trial as defendant’s suicide email read aloud

Sept. 13: Saanich police cautioned couple night before toddler was found dead

Sept. 12: Victoria mom charged with toddler’s murder weeps listening to recording of daughter crying

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Quick-thinking residents help contain fire in Colwood

Department says fire would have been worse if not for actions of tenant and neighbour

Unlike other districts, SD62 not cutting back on carpet cleaning

Sooke School District adds more custodians because of portables

New apartment buildings move forward in Langford

Belmont Place Apartments on Jacklin Road will feature 222 units when finished

High winds cancel slew of BC Ferries sailings

Travel to and from Victoria and Vancouver as well as Northern Gulf Islands affected

View Royal’s byelection results are in

The winner is Damian Kowalewich

VIDEO: Rare comic showing Superman’s 1st appearance to be auctioned

The 1938 comic features Superman hoisting a car over his head

Heavy rains, winds hit B.C.’s south coast

Localized flooding, gusts up to 70 km/hr expected for the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island

LIVE: BC Liberals kick off leadership debate in Nanaimo

Candidates’ forum is at noon at Vancouver Island Conference Centre

WATCH: Thousands gathering in Abbotsford for Const. John Davidson funeral procession

Celebration of life to follow at Abbotsford Centre at 1 p.m.

Start on time: Canucks looking to shake first-period struggles

Canucks centre Bo Horvat said the formula for getting a leg up is there for everyone to see

COMMUTER ALERT: Snowfall warnings in effect across B.C.

Travelling this weekend? Check the forecasts before hitting the road

Drones take off to search for missing North Okanagan women

A volunteer search party was supported by professional drone operators

Tips for keeping your personal data safe, from the experts

It’s important to keep your ‘online footprint’ safe

Mt. Washington offering freestyle programs

Programs include competitive, development and beginner levels

Most Read