'Loving' mom grew 'very sad, very angry' before killing

Allyson McConnell was a loving mother who grew depressed and angry in the months before her two young sons were drowned in a bathtub, her neighbours have testified.

"I thought she was a very good mother," said Marless Litzenberger. "Very happy to be a mom, very loving."

But by late 2009, McConnell's outlook had deteriorated, said Litzenberger.

McConnell was "very sad, very angry at what was happening" and was worried about the children, she said.

"She appeared mad at the time," and "seemed depressed" at Christmas in 2009, said another neighbour, Tracy Malloy.

Allyson McConnell is on trial for second-degree murder in the deaths on Feb.1, 2010, of her sons, 10-month-old Jayden and two-year-old Connor.

The boys' father, Curtis McConnell, found their bodies floating in the bathtub in their Millet home, 40 kilometres south of Edmonton.

The couple were going through bitter divorce proceedings and a custody battle at the time.

McConnell "was not to have contact with Curtis's parents," testifed Litzenberger. "That support was cut off to her."

Litzenberger testified that McConnell told her she had made a will in late December 2009.

"I thought it odd," she said.

Just days before the children's deaths, McConnell gave Litzenberger a bag full of women's clothes, some of which were new, with the sale tags still attached, she said.

Curtis McConnell testified earlier that he believes his ex-wife drowned their two young sons out of revenge.

When testifying at the preliminary hearing last year, he said, "I don't think she did it to hurt me." But he told the Wetaskiwin, Alta., court Tuesday that he now feels differently.

He's had two years to think about finding his sons' bodies floating in a bathtub, he said.

He believes his ex-wife killed the boys because of her hate and anger toward him.

"She left the kids to rot in the bathroom for me to find. She left the wedding ring on the toilet seat."

In a civil lawsuit, McConnell is suing his ex-wife for $940,000, calling her actions "flagrant and outrageous … malicious and oppressive."

Allyson McConnell's lawyer, Peter Royal, has said the mother tried to commit suicide in a psychiatric hospital last month when she was served with the legal papers.

A four-sentence statement of defence was filed March 7, asking the action be dismissed without costs.

"The defendant denies that any act done by her was calculated so as to cause harm to the plaintiff," the statement reads.

The Crown is expected to wrap up its case Thursday.