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MANDEL: Dad killed mom and then took kids to play mini golf, Crown alleges

A handcuffed Henry Morales is escorted into custody after landing at Pearson International Airport on Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020.
A handcuffed Henry Morales is escorted into custody after landing at Pearson International Airport on Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020. Photo by Ernest Doroszuk /Toronto Sun

When Henry Morales Jr. was watching TV in the family’s Brampton apartment that evening waiting for dinner, he wasn’t surprised that he could hear arguing coming from his parents’ bedroom.

The fighting between Henry and Malena Morales had grown more frequent since they’d returned from Ecuador, he said. But he’d never heard this before.

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“I heard my mother scream ‘Junior, come help me; Junior, help me, help me,'” he recalled more than 16 years later. “And then silence after that.

“That was the last time I heard my mom’s voice.”

He didn’t know what to do. “I was paralyzed, in fear, emotional, I was terrified,” said Morales, now 27. “I felt like I wanted to go in because I wanted to be there for mom, but I also trusted my dad.”

His father had called out to him, telling his oldest son not to come into the bedroom, that all was okay — just as he’d reassured him the night before when their mom came rushing into her sons’ bedroom during another fight and had crouched for cover between their two beds, crying “Help me, protect me.”

He trusted his dad. He was just 10 years old.

He didn’t know that when his father then proposed taking him and his brother Joshua out for a surprise late night mini-golf and pizza, their mother was likely dead in her bed.

In his opening statement to the jury, Crown attorney Brian McGuire alleged Malena Morales had tried in vain to leave the abusive marriage — even going as far as her native Ecuador where her husband had followed her and tried to strangle her there. But on the night of July 11, 2006, her efforts to escape were ended forever.

“You will hear that on that evening, the accused before this court, Henry Morales, killed his wife Malena. The mother of two children. He beat her and strangled her to death in the master bedroom of their shared apartment,” McGuire said.

“And as she lay in her bedroom likely dead, Henry Morales took his two young sons — Henry Jr. then age 10 and Joshua, 7 — out to play mini putt.”

The jury was told that a forensic pathologist will testify the mother of two died of strangulation and blunt force trauma that broke five of her ribs. She also had one cut above her left eye.

“The blood staining on Malena’s right hand was a mixture of DNA from her blood and DNA from the defendant Henry Morales,” McGuire said.

After 16 years, Morales, then 44, was located in Mexico and returned to Brampton where he’s pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder.

Their eldest son is now a campus missionary for outreach in British Columbia. With his father looking on, his long grey hair pulled back in a ponytail, Morales Jr. testified that the day after hearing his mother scream for help, his father told them she was still sleeping and wouldn’t be going to the cheese factory where she worked.

He was surprised when his dad took them miniature golfing again. He then drove to two banks before dropping them off at their paternal uncle’s house.

“He said ‘I’ve got to take care of a few things,’ he told us to be good, take care of each other,’ I’ll be away for awhile but I’ll be back.'”

And he also remembered his dad telling him not to discuss what he’d heard during his parents’ argument the night before.

McGuire told the jury Saul Morales will testify his brother called and told him his sons were his now, that he’d done something “stupid” that he regretted and Malena was at the apartment and in heaven now. Alarmed, the brother called Peel Police.

Det. Caroline Losier was a constable then, dispatched in the early morning hours of July 13, 2006 to check on Malena. Let in by the landlord, she found her dressed in pink pyjamas and covered by a comforter up to her neck. She was very cold and rigid. “There was no pulse.”

Her oldest son awoke the next morning to find his aunt crying and his uncle’s house filled with police officers.

Crown attorney Darilynn Allison asked if he ever saw his father again.

“Not for 16 years,” he replied softly.

The trial continues.