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This article was published 30/1/2009 (4689 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
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Here is the text of the agreed statement of facts between the Crown and the defence presented in court Friday in the death of Karissa Boudreau, whose mother pleaded guilty to second-degree murder:
On January 27, 2008 at 8:35 p.m., the Bridgewater Police Department received a report of a missing 12 year-old girl. An officer spoke with Penny Boudreau who said that her 12 year-old daughter, Karissa, was missing from her vehicle which had been parked at Sobey’s parking lot, 349 LaHave Street, Bridgewater, Nova Scotia. Penny Boudreau reported that she and her daughter had gone to Sobey’s where Karissa waited in the car. When Penny Boudreau came out of the store, her daughter was missing from the vehicle.
Penny Boudreau advised that she had search all of the areas where Karissa hung out and drove the streets of Bridgewater, but had no luck in locating her. Penny Boudreau advised that her daughter had left her cell phone and had been wearing pink crocs, jeans, t-shirt, black hoodie and a black vest. The weather was deteriorating with snow falls predicted for the evening. As part of the ensuing investigation, the accused made a tearful plea in the media to her daughter to return, as well as asking for assistance from the community in finding her. An extensive investigation began to find the missing child.
At 3:50 p.m. on January 29, 2008, a citizen was driving on William Hebb Road, in Hebbville, Nova Scotia when he noticed something pink that looked like footwear laying the snow. He remembered the press releases on the missing girl, Karissa Boudreau, and in particular, the fact that the missing girl was wearing pink crocs. The citizen stopped his car and took a closer look at the item, confirming that it was in fact a pink croc. He contacted Bridgewater Police Department to report having found the croc. The shoe was seized and later tested for DNA, and was determined to have belonged to Karissa.
On February 9, 2008, at 11:35 a.m., Bridgewater Police Department received a 911 call from a citizen reporting that her nine year-old son found a body. The citizen reported that she was travelling along Highway 331 in Conquerall Bank when she pulled to the road side at a turn-around to allow her son to urinate out of sight of the public. The boy went to the edge of an embankment overlooking the LaHave River when he saw what appeared to be human toes sticking out of the snow. The boy screamed for his mother who went to his side and also observed the toes. They flagged down a passing motorist and had him confirm what they had seen over the embankment. Bridgewater Police Department were the first responding officers on scene. They secured the area and ensured that no persons approached the embankment where the body had been observed.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police Major Crimes Unit, and a Detective from the Bridgewater Police observed the body and were able to ascertain that it was the body of a young Caucasian female, and appeared to be that of the missing female Karissa Boudreau, based upon facial and physical observations. Doctor Matt Bowes, Chief Forensic Pathologist for the Province of Nova Scotia, attended the scene and made observations of the body and its position as it lay over the embankment. Based on his observations, he believed that the body had been placed at the scene when it was not in rigor. It was positioned in a splayed-out manner, and would appear to have been supple at the time it came to rest there. Dr. Bowes believed it would have been placed there shortly after death had occurred.
The position of the body and the state in which Karissa was discovered was not released to the public and remained hold-back evidence. This included the manner in which the clothing was observed, together with missing articles of clothing that she was reported by the accused to have been wearing when the missing person’s complaint was made.
There were noted ligature marks around Karissa’s neck. Based on observations of the body, the position it came to rest, and the lack of evidence in the snow to indicate that this person struggled up the hill from the river, investigators were of the opinion that the body was dumped at this location.
On February 11, 2008 at 3:20 p.m. there was a ruckus reported in the apartment where the accused resided. Occupants of the apartment below the accused heard the following: Vernon Macumber, common-law parter of Penny Boudreau, was agitated and throwing things around. He and Boudreau were going back and forth in the apartment. Macumber was telling her that he was leaving her. They went into the bathroom, water was running and it sounded like Boudreau was in the tub. Macumber was saying over and over, "Penn, how could you do this," that he was disgusted with her. Macumber was saying: "Penn, Penn, c’mon speak Penn, how could you do this, how could you do this, I don’t understand, you got me involved" and that he wasn’t going to help her. Investigators already had concerns regarding Penny Boudreau’s involvement in the murder. These statements further added to their concerns and acted as a catalyst in the accused being the subject of further investigation.
On February 13, 2008 an autopsy was completed by Dr. Matt Bowes on the found human remains located in Bridgewater on February 09, 2008. The frozen state of the body required that the autopsy be delayed until that date to allow it to thaw. The human were positively identified as that of Karissa Boudreau. The identification was made by Doctor Paul Miller, a dental surgeon, who reviewed Karissa Boudreau’s dental charts and casts of her upper and lower teeth. They were compared to the human remains and were positively identified as those of Karissa Boudreau. The cause of death was determined to be asphyxiation. The method of death was determined to be strangulation. There were no other injuries to the body beside the ligature marks on her neck.
Karissa Boudreau’s body was found with her jeans only on her right lower leg and her panties down to her knees. This gave the impression that she may have been victim of a sexual assault. There were no obvious signs of sexual intercourse and sexual assault was later ruled out.
Karissa Boudreau was wearing a pink t-shirt, grey bra, white panties with Winnie the Pooh design, blue jeans and one brown sock with multi-colour horizontal stripes. The other sock of the same description was in her jeans.
On February 14, 2008 at 9:43 a.m. Penny Boudreau and Vernon Macumber attended at Bridgewater Police Department on the request of Cpl. John Elliott of the Southwest Nova Major Crime Unit of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The purpose of this contact was to notify them that the found human remains were identified as Karissa Boudreau. Penny Boudreau and Vernon Macumber were arrested for the murder of Karissa Boudreau and were interviewed. Penny Boudreau declined to provide a statement.
On February 25, 2008, a citizen was at the playground adjacent to the swimming pool which is located at 154 Jubilee Road in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia. He noted a wooden trash bin beside the building at the swimming pool and decided to check it for recyclables. When he opened the trash bin he saw what he though was a pink sandal. He did not give it too much thought until he spoke with his fiancee. Together they returned to the pool and looked again to confirm there was a pink croc inside the bin. They called Bridgewater Police Department who attended. He told police that he had checked the bin about one month earlier, at that time the items were not inside. The responding officer photographed and seized a left, size 8 croc, a black hoodie and a black vest from inside the wooden trash bin. The croc seized from the Willam Hebb Road area on January 29, 2008 was a matching right, size 8 pink croc. This was not released to the general public and was hold-back evidence.
On February 14, 2008 while Penny Boudreau and Vernon Macumber were in custody, a cell mate (undercover officer) plant was utilized. No admissions were gained however a bond was established between Vernon Macumber and the undercover operator.
Throughout the course of the investigation, 10 One-Party-Consent Authorizations were utilized for undercover operations. On February 25, 2008 a meeting occurred between Vernon Macumber and the undercover operator he met while in the cell block at Bridgewater Detachment. A conversation took place during which Macumber was provided an opportunity to work for the undercover operator. Utilizing One-Party Consent Applications, the undercover operator(s) met with Macumber on several occasions over the next several weeks, under the guise that they were providing him work for a crime syndicate. A wide-scale undercover operation began utilizing a number of scenarios to gain the trust of Macumber.
On April 1 2008 Penny Boudreau and Vernon Macumber moved from their apartment at 220 Jubilee Road in Bridgewater and relocated to apartments in Halifax. On April 16, 2008 during a meeting with an undercover operator, Vernon Macumber made comments to the effect that he had nothing to do with the murder of Karissa. Macumber stated that he was asleep at the time. He also stated to the undercover operator that he suspected Penny Boudreau had murdered her daughter and he was still living with her in order to keep her close so she would not implicate him in the homicide.
On May 03, 2008 undercover operators were able to convince Macumber they required the services of a female to assist in the work they were performing. Macumber was asked to approach Boudreau and have her meet the undercover operators. A meeting was arranged and Boudreau became very active with the undercover operators. A meeting was arranged and Boudreau became very active with the undercover operators and their work. May 8, 2008 was the three month anniversary of the discovery of Karissa Boudreau’s body and several local media outlets carried stories about the investigation. Investigators were aware that Penny Boudreau was troubled by media reports that named her place of employment and commented on the potential value of DNA evidence. During a meeting with an undercover investigator on May 14, 2008 Penny Boudreau made a comment that she wished the "police exhibit vault would burn down or blow up."
On June 2, 2008 an Authorization for the Interception of Private Communications was granted for a period of sixty days.
On June 11, 2008 Penny Boudreau met with another undercover operator she was led to believe had connections and could possibly make her "problem" go away. The undercover operator maintained that he was the head of the crime syndicate and that Boudreau would have to tell him everything about what happened to her daughter, in order for him to understand her situation and what he would have to do to assist her.
Penny Boudreau disclosed the following details to the undercover operator with regard to the events of January 27, 2008:
— Penny Boudreau and Vernon Macumber were having issues because of Karissa. Macumber actually gave her an ultimatum to either pick him or Karissa.
— Boudreau states that Vernon Macumber had nothing to do with the murder and it was she who strangled Karissa.
— Boudreau said it was Sunday, January 27 2008, the day she killed Karissa.
— Boudreau said she and Karissa went for a drive around 3:00-4:00 p.m. They drove for a couple of hours, to Lunenburg and back, and were talking. She felt things got a little out of hand and both of them were angry. Boudreau said she "did what she had to do."
— Boudreau drove to the Sobeys parking lot around 5:30 p.m. and went in to get some juice and bacon. Karissa was still in her vehicle alive. She called Macumber to tell him that Karissa was not in the car when she came out of Sobeys. She left a message on the phone. She returned to the car and put the groceries in the trunk and while she did this, she grabbed a piece of beige twine and put it in her pocket as she knew she had to do away with her.
— Karissa kept wanting to get out of the car so Boudreau waited until it was dark and drove to William Hebb Road and told Karissa that if she wanted to get out then, to get out. Boudreau said she couldn’t let her go back and tell people what a horrible mom she was.
— Boudreau said they both got out of the car and it was a snowy, dark night. Boudreau went to grab her, but it was slippery, so she pushed/tackled her and Karissa fell on her back. The only thing Karissa said to her was "mommy don’t." Boudreau said Karissa was scared. Boudreau used her knee on Karissa’s chest to pin her down. Karissa’s hands were under her, so she couldn’t move her hands and Boudreau used her knees to pin her down so she couldn’t fight back. Boudreau was face to face with her.
— Boudreau wrapped the rope around her hands and put the rope around Karissa’s neck and pulled in a criss-cross motion with all her strength until she could no longer feel her breathing. Throughout all of this Boudreau said she could feel Karissa trying to move her hands and that they were digging at the ground. Karissa eyes were bulging, her tongue was stuck between her teeth and foam/drool was coming from her mouth and she could hear her heaving for air.
— Boudreau said when there was no more breathing, she dragged Karissa’s body and put her in the passenger side of the vehicle in mostly a heap on the floor and then drove to Bridgewater to decide what to do next. Boudreau placed the twine in a empty Tim Horton’s cup which she then threw into a garbage can at Tim Horton’s on High Street.
— Boudreau drove on King Street, past Pendleton’s store to the turn-around spot. She parked the car, turned it and the lights off, and dragged Karissa’s body out of the car using her blue jeans as leverage. Karissa’s pants, pink underwear and striped socks came off as she was dragging Karissa to the bank’s edge. Boudreau felt this would make people think Karissa had been sexually assaulted.
— Boudreau stated Karissa’s hoodie and vest came off and she was just wearing a t-shirt with one pant leg in her jeans. Boudreau then rolled her over the edge of the bank knowing that the weather was calling for lots of snow and that she wouldn’t be found for awhile. Karissa landed amongst the trees and didn’t hit the river.
— Boudreau got back in her car and took the hoodie, vest and croc and threw them in the garbage can by the Bridgewater swimming pool. She realized at this time that she only had one croc.
— Boudreau went home around 7:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and told Macumber that Karissa was missing. She called the police around 8:00 p.m. She called family, friends and teachers to check with them.
— Boudreau said she would do anything for Vernon and the thought of losing him was harder than the thought of losing her daughter.
Penny Boudreau also provided a physical re-enactment on the person of the undercover operator during this meeting, in order to explain her actions against Karissa. After having described all that had occurred she then used pen and paper to write a detailed handwritten account of what occurred. Thereafter, Penny Boudreau agreed to travel back to the Bridgewater area with the undercover operator(s) to show them where the murder and body dumping took place. Boudreau directed them to William Hebb Road where she murdered her daughter. This was the same location where the croc was located on January 29, 2008. Penny Boudreau again provided a verbal and visual account of what occurred at that location and then directed them to the location near the LaHave river where Karissa’s body had been dumped and provided the details of what occurred there.
She indicated she had been considering the murder for several days prior to the event itself. When Penny Boudreau returned to the Halifax area she turned over an article of clothing to the undercover operators that she had mentioned she had been wearing at the time of the murder.
On the morning of June 14, 2008 Penny Boudreau was arrested and interviewed by the Truth Verification Section of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Throughout this portion of the interview Penny Boudreau made no admissions. During the afternoon, Penny Boudreau was shown a short portion of the video/audio of her meeting with the undercover operator on June 11, 2008 in which she told the operator about killing her daughter. Boudreau was visibly shaken and shortly afterwards she provided an account of what occurred to her daughter on January 27, 2008. Boudreau admitted to having murdered her daughter, Karissa, and explained the same details as she had previously in the covert interview. Penny Boudreau also provided a handwritten letter to her daughter Karissa, expressing her feelings.