Accused killer mom under suicide watch 0
Allyson McConnell is charged with two counts of second-degree murder in the deaths of her two sons Conner and Jayden. They were discovered by their father, Curtis, in the bathtub in their family home in Alberta. (Supplied Photo)
WETASKIWIN, Alta. -- The Millet, Alta., mother accused of drowning her two children in the bathroom of their family home more than two years ago will be under constant suicide watch during her trial, her lawyer told court.
Allyson Louise McConnell, 33, who appeared in Wetaskiwin provincial court Monday, faces two counts of second-degree murder in the February 2010 deaths of her two young sons, Connor, 2, and 10-month-old Jayden.
The trial got underway Monday morning and is expected to last several weeks.
Before Crown attorney Gordon Hatch made his opening remarks, McConnell’s defence lawyer Peter Royal told court his client is “significantly depressed” and under a 24/7 suicide watch while she is in Wetaskiwin for her trial.
Royal also asked that she be returned each day to Alberta Hospital in Edmonton, where she has been since April 2010, instead of being held in custody at the Wetaskiwin RCMP detachment.
In his opening statement, Hatch said that the case was not about when or how the young boys died, but why.
It will be Justice Michelle Crighton’s responsibility to determine McConnell’s state of mind when she drowned her children, he said.
As the Crown called its first witness, RCMP Cpl. Daniel Gyongyor with the Red Deer, Alta., forensic identification section, McConnell sat slumped in the prisoner’s box, rarely looking up.
She spoke only once when the judge asked her to confirm her name. Royal entered not-guilty pleas on McConnell's behalf.
The bodies of Connor and Jayden were discovered by their father, Curtis McConnell, in the bathtub of the couple’s Millet home, located 40 kilometres south of Edmonton, on Feb. 1, 2010.
According to an agreed statement of facts, McConnell drowned her sons before driving to Edmonton, parking her car at a toy store, ordering lunch at a restaurant and then jumping off an overpass.
The boys’ father was not in court Monday, but the mother, grandmother and sister of the accused were there, sitting just a few feet away from McConnell.
They travelled from Australia for the trial and are expected to be called as defence witnesses.