18-month-old Charlotte Cunningham

A 34-year-old Victoria woman has been found guilty of first-degree murder in the death of her 18-month-old daughter, Charlotte Cunningham.

During the trial, Kaela Mehl pleaded not guilty to the charge but admitted she deliberately fed her daughter sleeping pills mixed with yogurt then smothered her with a pillow on Sept. 16, 2015.

According to CTV News, Mehl’s defence lawyers said their client suffered from a mental illness at the time of her daughter’s death. The lawyers also said Mehl feared for Charlotte’s well-being in the hands of her ex-husband’s family.

“Planned and Deliberate”

The Crown disagreed and said Mehl intended to kill her daughter and that the act was planned and deliberate, after a long and difficult custody dispute.

First-degree murder is considered the most serious form of homicide in Canada and carries an automatic life sentence with no chance of parole for 25 years.

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