Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

2004 murder case will proceed to trial: judge

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A high-profile "cold case" killing will proceed to trial, a Winnipeg judge has ruled.

Ted Herntier, 42, was ordered Tuesday to stand trial on a charge of second-degree murder. His preliminary hearing ended with provincial court judge Heather Pullan finding there is sufficient evidence to have the case proceed. No dates for trial have been set.

A court-ordered ban prevents specific evidence and details of the hearing from being published.

Herntier was arrested in July 2010 and charged with the September 2004 slaying of 28-year-old Divas Boulanger. Her body turned up several weeks later outside a Trans-Canada Highway rest stop east of Portage la Prairie, a victim of what an autopsy determined was blunt-force trauma.

Herntier spent several months in custody before he was freed on bail with conditions that allowed him to live on a Brandon-area farm with family members who agreed to post $100,000 in sureties that will be lost if there are any breaches. His conditions also include a nightly curfew and an order to hand in his passport. The Crown was opposed to Herntier's release.

Police said Boulanger's murder happened inside Winnipeg before her body was dumped. "Divas B" was the street name for David Joseph Boulanger, who was born a male and originally hailed from Berens River First Nation, about 270 kilometres north of Winnipeg. Boulanger lived as a woman and became mired in drug addiction and the sex trade before her death.

In 2009, the RCMP and Winnipeg Police Service announced a dedicated task force to examine 84 unsolved cases of murdered and missing women. That task force was involved in the investigation into Boulanger's death, along with other officers from the RCMP and the Winnipeg police missing persons unit.

Street sex-trade workers speculated after Boulanger's death that she might have been murdered after a violent john picked her up. But RCMP said in 2010 there was no reason to suspect a link between Boulanger's death and any other unsolved homicides.

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