(Joliette) The murder in a marital context of Jaël Cantin, mother of six children, plunged her large “tightly knit” family into painful mourning on January 15, 2020. On Wednesday, they were able to share their suffering and pay tribute to their Jaël, while his executioner, Benoit Cardinal, was sentenced to life imprisonment.
“You will always be my daughter and the best mom in the world. You will continue to live through your six wonderful children. You left too quickly, 33 years old ”, confided Linda Hethrington, mother of Jaël, in a poignant letter read Wednesday at the Joliette courthouse.
In a particularly moving hearing, cousins, aunt, friends and parents confided in Judge Johanne St-Gelais during the sentencing of Benoit Cardinal. Convicted of the first degree murder of his wife Jaël Cantin last May, the 35-year-old was sentenced to life in prison, without the possibility of parole for 25 years. He appealed the verdict.
“This is a violent, tragic and unfortunate event, the impact of which cannot be measured to date for all those involved in this event,” said Judge St-Gelais, imposing the sentence. The judge wished to underline the “great dedication and resilience” of the relatives of Jaël Cantin to support his children.
Benoit Cardinal murdered his wife on January 15, 2020, causing her fatal head injuries. Several minors were in the house at the time of the murder. At that time, the accused had financial problems, having lost his job as an educator at the Center jeunesse de Laval just before the murder.
According to the evidence presented at the trial, Benoit Cardinal had told a teenager about his plan to kill Jaël Cantin in three ways and cover up his crime. He would have had sexual relations with this teenage girl he met at the Youth Center “almost every day” until her dismissal.
“She was a superwoman »
Since the tragedy, Gaétan Cantin, Jaël’s father, has been living a real nightmare. Sometimes unable to work, he suffers from persistent headaches and a lack of concentration. It was in their intergenerational house in Mascouche that Benoit Cardinal mowed the life of his daughter.
“He will have cheated, deceived us, without even saying a word in his defense during the legal process,” he lamented. “How did I get into the destroyer of our lives under our roof?” He wondered.
Gaétan Cantin, however, did not hesitate to question the accused in the box. “Could you now think of your children and end all these legal proceedings?” “, He summoned. “Now let’s live. Live, as Jaël taught us so well. Anyway, Jaël is up there to guide us, ”concluded the grieving father.
” Why ? Linda Hethrington, who has suffered from memory loss and anxiety since the tragedy, keeps repeating to herself. “I am haunted by the drama, the anger, but I have to stay strong for my six grandchildren. Why ? Why did you do this to these children? No one has the right to take justice into their own hands. It’s my mother’s heart, broken, left, bruised. My daughter Jaël is no longer there, ”she says, in the letter read by the Crown prosecutor, Mr.e Caroline Buist.
“Jaël was a model of a woman, of a mother. She was a superwoman. His death is a tragedy in itself. His murder was irrelevant. It destroyed me, ”Marie-France Pagé, a close friend of Jaël Cantin, told the court.
“It’s a trauma that accompanies every member of the family. There are days when the pain stabs again. Trauma never leaves our lives. […] Jaël lived for love, for the family, for his children. It affects me enormously that she is not there to watch them grow up, ”said Allison Hethrington, a cousin of Jaël Cantin.