Son testifies at Edmonton trial for mother accused of trying to kill him and his siblings

The son of a woman accused of trying to kill him and his two siblings in 2015 testified at an attempted murder trial in Edmonton on Wednesday.

Because of a publication ban to protect the identity of the children, the name of the accused cannot be published. The accused, who was a soldier at CFB Edmonton at the time of the alleged offences, has elected to be tried by a judge instead of a jury.Her trial started on Monday.

Her oldest child — now 17 — testified from a separate room at the Edmonton Law Courts on Wednesday and had a service dog next to him to help him get through his testimony.

He recounted the night in July 2015 when a fire broke out at his mother’s home at CFB Edmonton. He said his mother gave him and his siblings NyQuil that day and they played games and watched movies before they were to go to bed. He said he remembers his mother saying “that she loves us and that we’ll never have to see him again,” saying he took that to mean his father, who was to gain custody of his children later that month.

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The accused’s lawyer suggested repeatedly he may have played a role in the fire. The son rejected the argument each time and said he remembered his mother telling him it was wildfire smoke when he woke up to smoke filling the inside of their home.

He said it was her words that prompted him and his little brother to close windows in the home that night.

“I could barely breathe because all the smoke,” he said, adding that he noticed the smokiness increased rather than decreased when he shut the windows.

READ MORE: Trial underway in Edmonton for soldier accused of trying to kill her 3 children

He added that his mother told him and his siblings to put pillows or blankets over their mouths but he decided to try to run out both the front and the back doors of the home but was unable to escape through either entryway. At that point he said his brother broke an upstairs window from where he was able to scream for help.

The children’s father also testified on Wednesday and spoke about a prolonged custody battle that followed the ending of his relationship with their mother in 2011. The Crown questioned how it could be ruled out that he may have been responsible for the fire but the father said that would be impossible as he was working in Saskatchewan at the time.

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The fire broke out just before 1 a.m., on July 20, 2015. The accused, a former corporal at CFB Edmonton was charged with three counts of attempted murder in 2019. The accused also faces charges of intentionally or recklessly causing damage by fire to a property knowing the property was inhabited and intentionally or recklessly causing damage by fire to a property belonging to the Canadian Forces.

On Monday, a Crown prosecutor told the court he intended to prove over the course of the trial that the accused “would rather kill herself and her three children than comply with a court order that would give custody to her ex-husband, who she despises.”

The trial is expected to take two weeks in total.

–With files from Sarah Ryan, Global News

&© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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