Originally posted 2006 10 20 at Fathers for Life
Updated 2018 09 29: Added links to related articles
Sins of the mother — Updates • It’s a familiar story. Locality, circumstances, name and age of the dead child change, some things don’t when mothers kill.
Sins of the mother
Barbara Kay, National Post
Published: Wednesday, October 11, 2006
We have heard the story before. The names change, the province changes, the particulars of the custody case change, the age of the dead child changes, but some things stay the same when a mother kills her own children: Any objective observer can see the tragedy coming a mile away, the children are not removed from her toxic embrace before it happens, and the mother is not only insufficiently punished (if at all) for the crime, but receives public sympathy on the assumption she was driven to it by forces beyond her control.
Last week, Frances Elaine Campione, 31, locked in a year-long custody battle with her estranged husband Leonardo, was charged with the murder of their two baby daughters, one-year-old Sophia, and three-year-old Serena. Whatever the truth turns out to be in this case, warning signs had abounded: The Children’s Aid Society of Simcoe County, Ont. had kept an open file on this family for some time; former neighbours portrayed the mother as unstable and possibly suicidal; some described bizarre and frightening public behaviour; she had been hospitalized for treatment on several occasions.
In the past five years, there have been several comparable tragedies….(Full story)
Update 2010 09 15: Jury selection began on Monday for a murder trial that will explore the death of two Barrie toddlers who died almost four years ago….(
Full Story The link no longer functions, and no archived copy of the article could be found.)
Update 2010 10 08: Crown wraps it’s case against mom. Barrie woman charged with murdering her two young daughters….(
Full Story The link no longer functions but here is one to a related article.)
Update 2010 10 23: Voir dire in Campione trial….
Crown attorney Enno Meijers asked for the voir dire [a trial within a trial]. Since the jury was absent, there is a publication ban on any of the discussion inside the courtroom….(Full Story)
The harsh reality of serious and fatal child abuse is that just about exactly 70 percent of it is committed by biological mothers and only about 9 percent or less by the natural fathers of children in families. (See also Child Abuse and Mortality, by Senator Anne C. Cools (1995), and Predominantly women, not men, kill children, by Walter Schneider (2002))
- Mom kills baby, for interrupting FarmVille computer game
- Woman strangles her four children
- Sins of the mother: the tragedy of neonaticide
- Deadly fight over girl
- Police arrest lesbians for torturing boy, 5
- Flawless flawed — What about children?
- Infanticide — a euphemism for child murder
Of course, the Campione case is far from over:
The B.C. Catholic
Faith on the bench – Deacon Alf Stong answers critics after
Wednesday, 08 December 2010 17:20 Michael Swan
Alf Strong, Ontario superior Court judge and decon, is not bothered by scolding from Toronto Star
By Michael Swan
The Catholic Register
Orillia, ON–Ontario Superior Court Judge Alf Stong is not particularly bothered by the front-page scolding he got from a Toronto Star columnist at the end of the Elaine Campione murder trial last month….
Though the law stipulated Campione had to be sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole for 25 years, Stong seemed to want to soften the sentence by reminding the prison system of its obligation to provide necessary psychiatric treatment and medical care while in their custody.
Stong extended to this vengefully embittered woman moral cover that all but made a mockery of the jurys verdict, said DiManno….(Full Story)
Elaine Campione supposedly will serve the mandatory prison sentence of 25 years without parole. It remains to be seen whether Judge Stong’s admonition to the prison system will have the desired effect and cause her to be treated as the victim he thinks she is.
Mother who drowned daughters guilty of first-degree murder
Globe and Mail
Last updated Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2010 7:27AM EST
That is an interesting comment by a judge, although that sort of comment makes people wonder what it is all about. The jury in the Campione murder case had not been instructed so narrowly that they would have been prevented from finding Elaine Campione guilty of first-degree murder. That would have been unwise, politically, and political such murder trials are.
As Christie Blatchford describes in her article, Ontario Superior Court Judge Alfred Stong did his best to make Elaine Campione appear to be the “true” victim, even opining on evidence that little or perhaps nothing was heard of in the hearing, without ever even having heard any testimony by the father of the children.
Still, now Judge Stong must prepare the ground of political acceptance for the sentence he will hand down. That sentence will without a doubt be based on reasoning that argues that poor Elaine Campione does not deserve to rot in jail, because, with just the right amount and quality of psychological counselling, she will be enabled to recover from the harm that years of abuse at the hands of the “real” villain in the case, her ex-husband and father of her children. Whereby she will then soon demonstrate that she is not truly a heinous murderess but a valid member of society.
That will be according to the pattern that is played out time and again in such cases. There always is an excuse. If it was not her husband or any other man who made her do it, then the next in line are the devil or her inner demons. If everything else fails, the poor murdering mama can always claim nothing more than that she just could not help herself and just had to do it.
It will be interesting to see how the Campione murder trial will end and what the sentence will have been after it has had been served. The outcome perhaps proves that something went terribly wrong in the case, because in many other such cases the murdering mama got away with murder because she either went free or had to serve only a minimal sentence. (e. g.: Mom pleads insanity in bathtub drownings –Cleveland; Two Brands of Compassion, Outrage and Justice –Canada)
The gentler side of killer mom’s estranged husband
By TRACY McLAUGHLIN, Special to Toronto Sun
Last Updated: November 14, 2010 8:37pm
BARRIE Daddy, daddy! cried little Serena Campione, her chubby little arms raised in the air, running with glee when she spotted her father….
And it was the last time he would see them alive. Two weeks later they would be dead, drowned by their mother, Elaine Campione….(Full Story
Judge defines moral for jurors in Campione case
Elspeth Lodge November 12, 2010 11:21 pm
BARRIE The jury deliberating the fate of a Barrie woman who drowned her two young daughters will continue their deliberations for a fifth day today….
Yesterday, the jury asked for a definition of morally wrong, a phrase Justice Alfred Stong had used in his instructions before their deliberations. He read them the Canadian Oxford Dictionary definition of “moral.”
The jury also asked for a definition and review of balance of probabilities, another phrase from his instructions. He repeated what he had told them earlier, that the defence needs to prove Ms. Campione was not criminally responsible on a simple “balance of probabilities,” rather than “beyond a reasonable doubt.”
I think that the end is visible. This is a murder trial, but the jury appears to have been instructed to judge the guilt of the accused on the standard that is commonly applied in civil trials “a simple “balance of probabilities,” rather than the standard of “beyond a reasonable doubt,” a standard that normally applies in criminal trials.
It seems to me that at the very least, regardless of what the verdict will be, there will probably be an appeal because of the confusion of standards that are being applied.
Moreover, why did the jury ask about the definition of “moral”? Why did the judge bring “moral” into the picture, when the law, “Thou shalt not murder,” should be the only determining factor? Is the determination not whether or not she murdered her daughters? Has murder now become a fuzzy concept, depending on what degree of morally wrong applies?
# Nov 08, 2010 – 11:08 AM
Jury deciding fate of murdering mom
BARRIE – In her closing remarks Thursday, defence lawyer Mary Cremer painted Elaine Campione as a mother who, despite her history of mental illness, always cared about her kids.
Campione is charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the death of her daughters Serena, three, and Sophia, one, after drowning them in the bathtub of her Coulter Street apartment….
But Crown attorney Enno Meijers argued Friday that Campione is self-absorbed, needy and manipulative.
She stopped socializing with a girlfriend in the summer of 2006 after she no longer had a car; she blamed her own mother for being poor growing up because she didnt get off her fat ass and get a job; and she gave away a girls size 6X coat and twin-bed sheets to another friend because the girls will never grow into those, Meijers said….
The jury is deliberating a verdict in the case. (Full Story)
November 7, 2010
Crown refutes illness: Campione case wrapping up
There was no mistaking the tone of “pure, vindictive hatred,” in the voice of Elaine Campione as she sits in front of a video camera to tell her estranged husband their children are dead, a Crown attorney told a jury, Friday.
“She would rather kill her girls than let him have them,” said Crown Enno Meijers.
In his closing argument that kept a jury spell-bound for several hours, Meijers worked to convince the jury Campione was not suffering from a severe mental illness when she drowned her toddlers, Serena, 3, and Sopia, 1, in the bathtub October 2, 2006….(Full Story)
Murderous mom knew she did wrong, Crown argues
Updated: Fri Nov. 05 2010 5:45:14 PM
The Canadian Press
BARRIE, Ont. Mental illness did not prevent a mother who drowned her two young daughters from knowing it was wrong as she held their heads under water in the bathtub, court heard Friday….(Full Story and photo)
BARRIE – Elaine Campione tried to snow psychiatrists by saying she doesnt remember killing her kids to try to get out of a murder rap, a Crown attorney charged yesterday….(Full Story)