March 20, 2019

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Accused in Fontaine slaying claims innocence based on his 'principles'

One of two men on trial for manslaughter in the death of 29-year-old Jeanenne Fontaine told police he had nothing to do with the shooting, jurors heard Friday.

The jury tasked with hearing the case against Christopher Matthew Brass and Jason Michael Meilleur watched as prosecutors played a video recording of a May 2017 interview between Meilleur and Winnipeg Police Service homicide investigators.

Both Meilleur and Brass have pleaded not guilty to manslaughter, and Crown prosecutors presented the 4 1/2-hour video as evidence Meilleur told police various versions of what happened when he showed up at Fontaine's Aberdeen Avenue home on the morning of March 14, 2017.

The prosecution believes Meilleur, Brass and a third man, Malcolm Mitchell, went to 457 Aberdeen to commit robbery over a meth-related drug debt. Mitchell shot Fontaine during the incident, jurors were told, and the home was later set on fire.

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One of two men on trial for manslaughter in the death of 29-year-old Jeanenne Fontaine told police he had nothing to do with the shooting, jurors heard Friday.

The jury tasked with hearing the case against Christopher Matthew Brass and Jason Michael Meilleur watched as prosecutors played a video recording of a May 2017 interview between Meilleur and Winnipeg Police Service homicide investigators.

FACEBOOK PHOTO</p><p>Jeanenne Fontaine.</p>

FACEBOOK PHOTO

Jeanenne Fontaine.

Both Meilleur and Brass have pleaded not guilty to manslaughter, and Crown prosecutors presented the 4 1/2-hour video as evidence Meilleur told police various versions of what happened when he showed up at Fontaine's Aberdeen Avenue home on the morning of March 14, 2017.

The prosecution believes Meilleur, Brass and a third man, Malcolm Mitchell, went to 457 Aberdeen to commit robbery over a meth-related drug debt. Mitchell shot Fontaine during the incident, jurors were told, and the home was later set on fire.

Meilleur told homicide investigators he was too principled to target someone after he'd been invited into their home.

"I didn't go there for any trouble at all," Meilleur told police during the video interview, which was presented in court while Winnipeg Police Service Det. Sgt. Jarett Reid testified as one of the officers who conducted the interview.

Meilleur told police his girlfriend had been sold sugar passed off as methamphetamine by someone working for Monte Bull at 457 Aberdeen. She bought the fake drugs for $80 or $90, Meilleur said. He told homicide investigators Bull settled half the debt by supplying them with half the amount of meth Meilleur's girlfriend bought and promised to get them the rest. Meilleur suggested his girlfriend was nagging him about getting the drugs, so he said he went to the small bungalow on Aberdeen to see Bull, "to get squared up." He told police he didn't ask Brass or Mitchell to come with him, and he said he had already ran out of the house into the yard when he heard a gunshot.

"Never once have I gone out to target and to f—-in' kill somebody for ripping somebody off for a f—in' 90 bucks," Meilleur said while talking to homicide investigators.

"It's principles, OK. And never have I gone to someone's house and stolen from their house while they've opened their door and invited me into their door," he continued later.

"I myself did not go to Monte's, right, with intentions to hurt anybody or anything at all," Meilleur added.

Meilleur told police he didn't know Fontaine, and in response to investigators questions, he said "no, she didn't" deserve to die and that he "felt like crap" when he found out she did.

Police asked him why the other two men went with him to the house. Meilleur told them he arrived first and the other men followed. He said he didn't know why they were there.

"They never said to me, oh, we're going to go there and shoot anybody, they never said that to me at all. Nothing at all," Meilleur said.

He told police he saw Brass hand Mitchell a gun. Court of Queen's Bench Justice Gerald Chartier instructed jurors they can only use the video to decide whether Meilleur is guilty, not Brass. The jury is expected to finish watching the video when the trial resumes Monday.

katie.may@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @thatkatiemay

Katie May

Katie May
Justice reporter

Katie May reports on courts, crime and justice for the Free Press.

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