Man ac­cused of Val Caron woman’s mur­der on trial

The Sudbury Star - - LOCAL - CANA­DIAN PRESS [email protected]­

A Crown pros­e­cu­tor says a man on trial for first-de­gree mur­der main­tained con­trol over mul­ti­ple women he lived with through sur­veil­lance, drugs and abuse.

Perez Cleve­land, 46, has pleaded not guilty in the death of Jennifer Bar­rett, 42, for­merly of Val Caron, whose body was found in a bar­rel be­hind their Win­nipeg home in De­cem­ber 2016.

Pros­e­cu­tor Breta Passler told a jury dur­ing open­ing ar­gu­ments on Tues­day that the case is about “one man’s con­trol over six women.”

“They did un­think­able acts at his be­hest,” Passler said.

Court heard that Cleve­land was liv­ing in the home with his adult daugh­ter and five women de­scribed as his do­mes­tic part­ners.

Some of the women had been in a ro­man­tic relationship with Cleve­land for many years when Bar­rett joined them in 2012.

In the sum­mer of 2016, Cleve­land be­came con­vinced that Bar­rett was cheat­ing on him, Passler said. She was locked in the base­ment and tor­tured for days be­fore she was killed.

Cleve­land told two of the women that Bar­rett had left town, Passler said, and he or­dered two others to dis­pose of her body.

Chem­i­cals were used to speed up de­com­po­si­tion, added Passler, and Bar­rett’s re­mains were iden­ti­fied through DNA test­ing.

One of the women even­tu­ally es­caped the abuse and went to po­lice, Passler told the jury.

Dennis Wiebe, a real es­tate agent who also man­aged the property where Cleve­land and the women lived, tes­ti­fied that he met Bar­rett in June 2016 when she signed the lease on the home.

She told him she was a nurse at St. Boni­face Hospi­tal and that she would be stay­ing in the home with her hus­band and daugh­ter, Wiebe said.

Af­ter they moved in, Wiebe said he stopped get­ting rent money. In Au­gust of that year, Bar­rett gave him $2,000 cash and promised more was com­ing.

“That was the last time I saw her in per­son,” Wiebe said.

A cou­ple months later, Bar­rett stopped an­swer­ing phone calls and text mes­sages, Wiebe said. So he be­gan to deal with other peo­ple in the home about the rent.

The man iden­ti­fied as Bar­rett’s hus­band said he didn’t know where Bar­rett was, Wiebe said.

In Novem­ber, Wiebe took back pos­ses­sion of the house, changed the locks and started to clean out the property.

An­i­mal fe­ces was all over the house, the base­ment and garage were filled with plas­tic bags and garbage, and stairs down to base­ment had been painted, he tes­ti­fied. The door han­dle to the base­ment had also been re­placed with a key­pad lock, Wiebe said.

A sealed bar­rel was found in the back­yard but it was too heavy to move to the dump, Wiebe told court.

Soon af­ter, he got a call from city po­lice.

Ja­son Dee, an of­fi­cer with the po­lice iden­ti­fi­ca­tion unit, tes­ti­fied that when the bar­rel was opened, it be­came clear what was in­side.

“We soon saw what we be­lieved to be a body,” he told court.

In­side the home, of­fi­cers found a hand-writ­ten relationship con­tract be­tween Bar­rett and Cleve­land signed and dated in 2013, Dee said.

There was also ev­i­dence of blood in the base­ment, but Dee said he did not know how long it had been there.

Perez Cleve­land

Jennifer Bar­rett

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