Court hears Emilie Maheu’s family, friends as her killer begins life sentence for murder

The Cornwall courthouse at 29 Second Street West. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

CORNWALL – A Cornwall court heard from those close to Emilie Maheu Thursday as her murderer was sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole for 25 years.

Judge Laurie Lacelle delivered her verdict last month that Brandon Smeltzer deliberately planned the killing of Emilie Maheu, the 26-year-old mother of his child after their relationship deteriorated and Maheu started seeing someone else. She had also planned to seek full custody of their daughter.

Smeltzer strangled and shot Maheu twice with a shotgun after throwing her in the trunk of his car. He later dumped her body in a South Glengarry cornfield in October 2018.

Court had eight victim impact statements submitted today (Aug. 5). Only one was read by family member, Helene Brossoit, while six were read by Crown attorneys Elaine Evans and Isabel Blanchard. The final statement was read privately by the judge.

Broissoit recounted having a police detective come to the door in October 2018 to deliver the “worst news” of the discovery of Emilie’s body while she was “getting a (phone) call from the man who took her away.”

“Emilie wasn’t perfect, but none of us are and she did not deserve to die like that,” Brossoit sobbed.

Smeltzer, 27, bowed his head at times during the virtual proceedings, hung his glasses from the placket of his shirt and closed his eyes. He appeared to show no emotion. When asked if he wanted to address the court, Smeltzer replied, “Nothing that the court will believe so I’ll be quiet.”

While the sentence for first-degree murder is life without parole for 25 years, Judge Laurie Lacelle commented on the situation, speaking first to Smeltzer.

“You have harmed so many people not least of which, yourself. You altered the life that you might have had and I know your family is feeling the harm of what you have done immensely as well,” Lacelle said.

“While Emilie did not want to continue in a relationship with you, she was entitled to live her own life. She should have had the opportunity to live it to the fullest. She should have been able to have years of time with Elizabeth, her family and friends and to see where life might take her and you took that all away from her with the most selfish of reasons,” the judge said.

Lacelle added that it’s hard to understand the “cruelty” Smeltzer did to his daughter, Elizabeth Maheu-Smeltzer, by murdering her mother but she believes the actions will cause “immense harm” to Elizabeth and she will probably be dealing with its effects her whole life.

“Given how young she was when you killed her mother, you may also have deprived her of even a memory of her mother and how much she was loved by her mother.”

Speaking to family and friends of Emilie, Lacelle says the “community grieves with you” and hoped “you feel some closure today.”

The judge also noted that this case “reflects a problem that is ongoing and needs to end” – domestic violence. “Every person in this country is entitled to leave a relationship without fear of harm or violence. That Ms. Maheu was not able to do so is an immense tragedy.”

Smeltzer’s lawyer, Paolo Giancaterino, requested that his client be able to serve his sentence in a federal prison in Atlantic Canada. The judge made the recommendation but Correctional Service Canada has the final say where Smeltzer will serve his life sentence.

There is also a provision in the sentencing that allows Elizabeth Maheu-Smelzer to initiate contact with her father once she’s an adult if she chooses. Until that happens, Smeltzer is not allowed to contact her and many members of Maheu’s family and friends.