‘Deny, deny, deny’

Court hears tapes af­ter po­lice bugged ac­cused’s apart­ment in Tina Fontaine mur­der case

Winnipeg Sun - - NEWS -

WIN­NIPEG — A man ac­cused of mur­der­ing an Indige­nous teenager in Win­nipeg was recorded by po­lice say­ing he’d bet the girl was killed be­cause he found out she was only 15 years old.

“I drew the line and that’s why she got killed,” Ray­mond Cormier said in tapes played in court Wed­nes­day.

Cormier, 55, is on trial for sec­ond-de­gree mur­der in the death of Tina Fontaine, whose body was found wrapped in a du­vet filled with rocks in the Red River in Au­gust 2014.

Ex­perts have tes­ti­fied that they don’t know how Fontaine died. And no DNA has been found link­ing Cormier to the killing.

Crown prose­cu­tors closed their case by play­ing tapes from a six-month un­der­cover op­er­a­tion into Tina’s death called Project Styx, which saw po­lice bug Cormier’s apart­ment from June to De­cem­ber 2015.

Cormier was placed in the apart­ment for free as part of the po­lice op­er­a­tion and an un­der­cover of­fi­cer moved into a suite on the same floor. The of­fi­cer tes­ti­fied that po­lice planned 62 dif­fer­ent “sce­nar­ios” to get a re­ac­tion from Cormier, in­clud­ing one which made it seem like a fe­male un­der­cover of­fi­cer was a vic­tim of do­mes­tic as­sault.

In con­ver­sa­tions with the un­der­cover of­fi­cer played in court, Cormier said there are “three rules to crime: deny, deny deny.”

In the first tape, Cormier speaks with an uniden­ti­fied woman about the first time he met Tina while rid­ing his bike. Tina and a friend ask him to stop and he re­sponds, “There’s only one rea­son why I’ll stop.”

He tells the woman that Tina looks young and al­ludes to hav­ing sex with the teen.

He also speaks about go­ing to a mu­tual friend’s house af­ter Tina’s boyfriend has left town. He thinks they’re go­ing to have sex, then they get into an ar­gu­ment. The trial has al­ready heard from wit­nesses who say they saw Cormier ar­gu­ing with Tina the night of Aug. 6, 2014.

Also on tape, Cormier tells a woman that when he last talked to Tina, he told her to go jump off a bridge.

Be­fore she died, Tina trav­elled to Win­nipeg to try to re­con­nect with her mother but be­came a sex­u­ally ex­ploited youth, run­ning away from shel­ters and ho­tels where she was housed by Man­i­toba Child and Fam­ily Ser­vices.

As many of the tapes were be­ing played in court, Thelma Favel, Tina’s great-aunt who raised her for most of her life on the Sag­keeng First Na­tion, left the court­room.

The au­dio cap­tured Cormier, of­ten mum­bling and stut­ter­ing, telling nu­mer­ous peo­ple that he was at­tracted to Tina or they’d had a sex­ual re­la­tion­ship. In one con­ver­sa­tion, Cormier says he had sex with the teen but she had found a knife, got an­gry and told him to get away.

Speak­ing to one woman, Cormier asks if she has ever been “haunted by some­thing” be­fore he starts to talk about Tina and boast that he beat two mur­ders.

Dur­ing a later record­ing from, Cormier ar­gues with a woman about a nude photo on Face­book, say­ing there’s a lit­tle girl in a “grave some­place scream­ing at the top of her lungs for me to fin­ish the job. And guess what? I fin­ished the job.”

Court also heard Cormier in a record­ing warn­ing peo­ple in his apart­ment not to over­dose or they would end up wrapped in a car­pet, thrown in the river.

Defence lawyer An­drew Synyshyn told court the au­dio on the tapes could have been mis­heard and the tran­scripts could have er­rors.




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