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‘Not only was the life of my best friend taken that night, but the best part of me was taken, as well’

The Sudbury Star - - FRONT PAGE - HAROLD CARMICHAEL THE SUD­BURY STAR [email protected]­media.com Twit­ter: @HaroldCarmichae

The way Linda Terris sees it, Regi­nald Ber­ard de­served a much­longer pa­role el­i­gi­bil­ity pro­vi­sion at­tached to the life sen­tence he re­ceived for the mur­der of her good friend Mar­cel Couil­lard.

“It isn’t a lot of time he got,” she said, out­side the Sud­bury Court­house late Fri­day af­ter­noon. “I would like to have seen 20 (years). (But) I know he has to earn (pa­role).”

Terris, who was the per­son who dis­cov­ered Couil­lard’s body ly­ing in a pool of blood on the floor of his liv­ing room (in the build­ing next to hers) the night of the mur­der, and called 911, said she is wor­ried about what will hap­pen when Ber­ard is re­leased.

“(The sen­tence) was never go­ing to bring Mar­cel back,” she said. “But any­body who crosses paths with him (upon re­lease), I feel sorry for them. If he killed Mar­cel when Mar­cel just told him to shut up, that’s not good.”

On Fri­day, Ber­ard was given a life sen­tence with no pa­role el­i­gi­bil­ity for 13.5 years for killing 51-year-old Mar­cel Couil­lard on Nov. 3, 2015, in his Melvin Street home.

Terris is also the per­son who ended up with Couil­lard’s dog – Bella – whom she adopted fol­low­ing the mur­der.

Terris sur­prised many in the court­room Fri­day morn­ing near the end of read­ing in her vic­tim im­pact state­ment.

“As for you Reg­gie, I still feel noth­ing but con­tempt for you,” she said, turn­ing in Ber­ard’s di­rec­tion, her voice ris­ing.

“I feel sorry for you. I feel sorry you didn’t have any­body here (dur­ing the trial) for you. Even though you will be sen­tenced to­day, I can’t feel the small­est bit of sym­pa­thy for you ... Our lives have been for­ever changed be­cause of a sin­gle sig­nif­i­cant act com­mit­ted out of emo­tion.”

Mo­ments ear­lier, Terris said she was proud to have been a good friend of Couil­lard, a man who she said had a heart of gold and would give some­one the shirt off his back if asked.

“Mar­cel was a kind man who was al­ways ready to lend a help­ing hand to any­one who needed it,” she said.

Terris said for seven months fol­low­ing Mar­cel’s death, she was un­able to sleep in her bed, sleep­ing in­stead in a chair in her liv­ing room. She said she now suf­fers from post­trau­matic stress dis­or­der.

“I live in a con­stant state of fear for my­self be­cause of what hap­pened,” she said. “For seven months, I lived next door to where my best friend was mur­dered. The cir­cum­stances of that night so many years ago im­pacted so many lives. Not only was the life of my best friend taken that night, but the best part of me was taken, as well.”

Richard Couil­lard said he missed his lit­tle brother very much and he can­not put the grue­some na­ture of his brother’s death out of his mind.

“The pain still lingers,” as­sis­tant Crown at­tor­ney Kevin Ludgate said, read­ing from the brother’s vic­tim im­pact state­ment. “I think of you ev­ery day. Brother, I love you and I miss you. The hurt is real.”

An­other brother Ron, be­came too emo­tional as he attempted to read his vic­tim im­pact state­ment.

“You have no re­spect for hu­man life,” he said through sobs, to Ber­ard seated to his right.

Ron added that, “the life I had will never be the same. I will never for­get (Mar­cel).”

Sis­ter Gail Thibeault, who lived in the Melvin Av­enue area and raced to her brother’s apart­ment, even go­ing so far as to look in­side prior to po­lice clos­ing off the scene, said in her vic­tim im­pact state­ment read by Ludgate that the im­age of her brother ly­ing on his back in a pool of blood is one “that I shall never, ever for­get as long as I live …

“It just ripped my heart apart. I was try­ing so hard not to cry. I was still in shock.”

Thibault said her brother was a special man.

“Mar­cel was a very good and kind gen­tle­man,” she wrote. “He didn’t de­serve to have any­thing bad hap­pen to him.”

Thibault said she and her brother talked on the phone ev­ery day, some­times sev­eral times a day.

“Him and me were like two peas in a pod,” she wrote. “It is sad that Mar­cel did not get to go hunt­ing and fish­ing with my brother Richard now that (Richard) is re­tired.”

Thibault, fi­nally, said the po­lice pho­to­graphs taken of the grisly mur­der scene will re­main for­ever etched in her mem­ory.

“Those pic­tures will never go away in my mind,” she wrote. “He did not de­serve to die that way. The dam­age Regi­nald did was bru­tal … I will miss him, his jokes and laugh­ter. He was my brother and my best friend.”

JOHN LAPPA/SUD­BURY STAR/POST­MEDIA NET­WORK

A fu­neral ser­vice was held for Mar­cel Couil­lard in Sud­bury, Ont. on Saturday Novem­ber 7, 2015. Couil­lard was mur­dered Nov. 3. His killer was sen­tenced Fri­day.

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