#1Sep 3rd, 2007
By TRACY MCLAUGHLIN, SPECIAL TO SUN MEDIA
BARRIE, Ont. -- A mother wept in court yesterday as she told a judge how she wakes each day to the horrific reality that her mentally handicapped daughter was tortured to death with a blowtorch.
"You have left horrible images in my mind," Deborah Laramey said in a hushed courtroom as she looked at the man convicted of killing her daughter, Katlin Cousineau, on Nov. 12, 2005.
Sitting in the prisoner's box, Matthew Sitte, 25, of Midland, darted his eyes away from the mother as he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.
Cousineau was 25 but had the emotional maturity of a 12 or 14-year-old and lived with Sitte and two other adults, including Susanna Balogh, 33, who took over her disability cheque and gave Cousineau an allowance from it. She was forced to sleep in the unfinished basement of their country home in Midland.
The Crown could not explain why Sitte decided to confine Cousineau in the basement one night and torture her to death.
"It boggles the mind," said Crown attorney Ray Williams. He said Cousineau was confined while she was naked.
"Then they grabbed the propane torch and lit it. They held it to parts of her body. It was sadistic."
Throughout the torture, Sitte would throw rubbing alcohol onto her body.
"The torching was persistent and prolonged," said Williams. "It is horrific."
As Cousineau cried out in pain, Balogh and her three sons, aged 11, 12, and 13, were upstairs and could hear her screams, but Balogh did nothing. Balogh was recently sentenced to eight years in prison for criminal negligence causing death.
The day after the murder, Sitte poured gasoline throughout the house and set it on fire while the others packed up and went to a hotel.
The house burned to the ground, but fire officials found the blow torch, gasoline containers, as well as handcuffs, in the basement beside the body. An autopsy showed she died of systemic shock before the house fire.
In a joint submission, the Crown and defence asked for a life sentence with parole eligibility after 10 years - the minimum for second-degree murder.
Justice Michelle Feurst will make her decision on whether she will accept the joint submission on Oct. 26.
Another man charged with Cousineau's murder is still before the courts.