May 20, 2018

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Tina Fontaine's accused killer has been criminally convicted 94 times

Winnipeg police arrested Cormier just before and shortly after body was discovered

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 11/12/2015 (890 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The man accused of killing Tina Fontaine is a serial drifter and career criminal with 94 prior convictions across Canada who had multiple contacts with Winnipeg police and the justice system right around the time of the August 2014 slaying.

Raymond Cormier, 53, was released from Stony Mountain penitentiary in August 2013 for a string of property-related crimes which happened outside Manitoba. But his parole conditions required him to live in Winnipeg, where he had no previous ties.

“I wanted to go to B.C. They made me come to Winnipeg,” Cormier told court earlier this year.

It appears any prospect of rehabilitating Cormier in his new city quickly fell apart.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 11/12/2015 (890 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The man accused of killing Tina Fontaine is a serial drifter and career criminal with 94 prior convictions across Canada who had multiple contacts with Winnipeg police and the justice system right around the time of the August 2014 slaying.

Raymond Cormier, 53, was released from Stony Mountain penitentiary in August 2013 for a string of property-related crimes which happened outside Manitoba. But his parole conditions required him to live in Winnipeg, where he had no previous ties.

Raymond Cormier (Handout)

Raymond Cormier (Handout)

"I wanted to go to B.C. They made me come to Winnipeg," Cormier told court earlier this year.

It appears any prospect of rehabilitating Cormier in his new city quickly fell apart.

Cormier was arrested by Winnipeg police on July 5, 2014 for a minor drug-related possession offence, then released on bail three days later, according to court documents obtained by the Free Press.

Police then re-arrested Cormier after he threatened security guards at the Safeway store on Osborne with a screwdriver on Aug. 23, 2014 in an apparent attempt to steal meat. He was also found to have breached his bail conditions by not living at the Salvation Army as required by the courts.

This occurred just days after he allegedly killed Fontaine and dumped her body in the Red River. The teen was reported missing on Aug. 9, and her remains were discovered on Aug. 17.

Cormier pleaded guilty to the drug charge this past February and was given a $50 fine. He then admitted to the assault with weapon and breach charge during a hearing on March 12, 2015.

"Mr. Cormier is doing life on the installment plan," Crown attorney Ashleigh Parker told court, according to an audio transcript which the Free Press reviewed on Friday. She noted his massive criminal record which dates back to the 1980s and includes convictions across Canada for numerous crimes — robberies, assaults, weapons, drugs and numerous property crimes, along with multiple breaches.

Tina Fontaine's photographs sit on top of her casket surrounded by flowers and items in the colour purple, her favourite colour,  in front of Roman Catholic Church in Sagkeeng First Nation Saturday at her funeral on Aug 23, 2014.

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

Tina Fontaine's photographs sit on top of her casket surrounded by flowers and items in the colour purple, her favourite colour, in front of Roman Catholic Church in Sagkeeng First Nation Saturday at her funeral on Aug 23, 2014.

"Mr. Cormier is a danger to society when he’s out in the public," said Parker. She said he has repeatedly violated parole while going in and out of federal prisons across the country, the latest being Stony Mountain just north of Winnipeg.

Defence lawyer Pam Smith said her client struggled following his most recent release and found the Salvation Army "too rowdy" for his lifestyle. So he essentially became homeless, collecting empty bottles on the street which he would cash in to feed his meth addiction.

"He’s been institutionalized and de-socialized by all the time he’s spent in jail. He finds it quite difficult to make it on the streets," said Smith. She said Cormier had found some temporary employment when he first moved to Winnipeg, but an injury left him unable to work.

Cormier then jumped into the conversation, interrupting his lawyer and speaking directly to the judge.

"There’s more to me then that file over there. I’m not a bad guy," said Cormier. He explained how he never planned to use the weapon on the Safeway security guard, saying "I just pulled that screwdriver to get the hell out of there."

Cormier told court how he was ripped from his birth parents at the age of 13 and put in foster care, which only made things worse.

"I was sexually assaulted," he said. "Prison is what caused these problems."

Provincial court Judge Brian Corrin told Cormier it’s clear he’s had a troubled life.

"The court acknowledges that life on the streets is complicated. I’m sure his life circumstances probably haven’t been the best," said Corrin.

Cormier was sentenced on that date to five months of time already served in custody, plus another month behind bars plus probation. It appears he moved west at some point following his release, as police arrested him for the Fontaine slaying in Vancouver.

www.mikeoncrime.com

Read more by Mike McIntyre.

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