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A judge called for a break in court yesterday as jurors became blurry-eyed and turned their heads away from the photos of the two dead children that were shown in detail.
Projected on a large screen, were the photos of little Serena, 3 and Sophia, 19 months, after they had been drowned in a bathtub and then placed in their mother’s bed.
Their mother, Elaine Campione, 35, is charged with the first-degree murder of her two little girls, who were found dead in the mother’s Coulter Street apartment in Barrie on Oct. 4, 2006. But her lawyer is arguing that she is not criminally responsible because she was not sane at the time she drowned them.
The courtroom was silent as the jury, the judge, the lawyers, and the mother, looked upon the photos showing Serena, dressed in a mauve sleeping gown and Sophia, in pastel green Tinker Bell pajamas, laying side by side with their heads on pillows as if sleeping. Beside them lay a big stuffed bunny, and between them wrapped around their hands that were clutched together, was a baby blue Rosary.
But as the camera zoomed in on their faces, the appearance of sleep changed as their faces looked grey, with darkish circles around their eyes and a white dried substance around their mouths.
Throughout the evidence, their mother continually, but silently, wept and dabbed at a constant flow of tears. But as she looked upon the closeups of her children, her face suddenly contorted and she openly wept, and the judge allowed the break.
Other photos showed Campione’s immaculately clean apartment behind the Bayfield Mall, where she lived as a single-mom with the children. At the time, she was involved in a heated custody battle with her ex-husband, Leo Campione.
One photo showed a handwritten note on the door that stated: “Barry them with their favorite blanket and stuffed animals. Serena -Barney, yellow blanket. Sophia -Teddy blanket, cat, sheep.”
On their beds, clothes for the girls were neatly laid out, including dresses, white shoes, a tiara and a storybook.
Another note stated: “Barry me in my wedding dress.”
n the kitchen, scribbled notes on the table directed at her ex-husband stated: “Leo, your family is monsters.”
Another stated: “Serena remembers everything. Even when I told her it’s just a bad dream, she remembered it all. I HATE YOU.”
Further notes found were directed at her husband’s family: “I want Diego and Anna to be charged with mental and emotional abuse.”
Stacks of court papers showed legal aid certificates and upcoming court dates for child custody hearings as well as several bottles of prescription pills, including lorazapam are also found in the apartment.
During the courtroom process, the jury heard how Campione videotaped her daughters playing in the apartment, and then in the bathtub. One hour later the camera is turned on again with no children around, and Campione is in front of the camera stating, “There, are you happy?” as she blames her husband for everything that happened. The video shuts off and is turned on again the next morning, Oct. 3, when Campione states, “It’s morning and our babies are in heaven … I tried to overdose and it didn’t work.”
It is not until the next morning that she finally calls police to say, “My children are dead in my bed.”
The six-week trial continues Monday.