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Tina Fontaine was 'creeped out' by Raymond Cormier, court hears

Witness testifies teen and accused argued days before body discovered

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 8/2/2018 (193 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Raymond Cormier “creeped out” 15-year-old Tina Fontaine the last time a friend of the accused killer saw them together, the jury at Cormier’s second-degree murder trial was told Thursday.

Cormier, 56, has pleaded not guilty in Tina’s death and has repeatedly denied killing her — including in tense, videotaped exchanges with Winnipeg Police Service homicide investigators. He also denied killing Tina to a friend who asked him point-blank, the jury heard.

A week before Tina’s body was pulled from the Red River, she had an argument with Cormier outside Sarah Holland’s house in Elmwood, and she threatened to call the police on him, court was told. Holland’s windows were open, she testified, when she heard the two arguing in the back lane onAug. 6, 2014.

“I heard her distinctly yell she was going to call the cops,” said Holland, 39. “I didn’t hear exactly what Mr. Cormier had said back... all I heard was ‘river.’”

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 8/2/2018 (193 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Raymond Cormier "creeped out" 15-year-old Tina Fontaine the last time a friend of the accused killer saw them together, the jury at Cormier’s second-degree murder trial was told Thursday.

Cormier, 56, has pleaded not guilty in Tina’s death and has repeatedly denied killing her — including in tense, videotaped exchanges with Winnipeg Police Service homicide investigators. He also denied killing Tina to a friend who asked him point-blank, the jury heard.

SUPPLIED</p><p>Tina Fontaine's body was pulled from the Red River on Aug. 17, 2014.</p>

SUPPLIED

Tina Fontaine's body was pulled from the Red River on Aug. 17, 2014.

A week before Tina’s body was pulled from the Red River, she had an argument with Cormier outside Sarah Holland’s house in Elmwood, and she threatened to call the police on him, court was told. Holland’s windows were open, she testified, when she heard the two arguing in the back lane onAug. 6, 2014.

"I heard her distinctly yell she was going to call the cops," said Holland, 39. "I didn’t hear exactly what Mr. Cormier had said back... all I heard was ‘river.’"

Earlier that day, in a conversation Cormier’s defence team suggested was a joke, Holland said she heard Cormier making inappropriate sexual comments to Tina.

Tina made good on her threat to get police involved. She called 911 after 10 p.m. on Aug. 6, 2014, to report her friend "Sebastian" had stolen a blue truck earlier that day.

Cormier was concerned that after their screaming match Tina would indeed call the police. After Tina left, he asked Holland if she thought Tina would do it, Holland testified.

"I just kept on saying, no, I don’t think so, because it’s my house and I don’t think she’d want to get me in trouble," Holland said.

She testified she met Tina when Cormier took her and her boyfriend, Cody Mason, to the house in mid-July 2014. She said Tina introduced herself as Nicole and said she was 18. But she looked so young, Holland said, that she didn’t believe her.

"I wasn’t born yesterday," she testified.

Holland said she’d only met Cormier, whom she knew as Frenchie or Marcel, earlier that month, after being introduced by a mutual friend. Cormier would take drugs to the home on Carmen Avenue that Holland shared with her then-boyfriend.

Holland said she used crack cocaine before she met Cormier, but she switched to crystal meth after he showed her how to inject it.

She said he was homeless and would stay at her place for a few days at a time. She didn’t mind, she said, because he had drugs.

SUPPLIED</p><p>Police interview footage of Raymond Cormier was shown in court Thursday. It shows a tense exchange between the accused and investigators who were probing Tina Fontaine's homicide.</p>

SUPPLIED

Police interview footage of Raymond Cormier was shown in court Thursday. It shows a tense exchange between the accused and investigators who were probing Tina Fontaine's homicide.

"He seemed nice," she testified. "From the first time I met him, he was there pretty much every day."

Cormier took his own bedding to her house, but Holland didn’t see him with a duvet cover like the one Tina’s body was wrapped in when she was pulled from the river on Aug. 17, 2014.

Holland told that to police when they showed her a photo of the duvet cover in December 2014.

The day she overheard Cormier’s argument with Tina was the last time she saw the teen.

She said Tina showed up on her doorstep around noon on Aug. 6, upset that her boyfriend had gone back to northern Manitoba.

She told Holland she had nowhere to go.

Holland said she let her in and said she could stay, as long she didn’t get in the way.

At some point, Cormier arrived, Holland said, and Tina went up to her bedroom, where she’d been reading.

"She came upstairs and asked if she could spend time in my room because he was creeping her out," Holland said.

Later, both Cormier and Holland’s boyfriend came up to "bug" them.

She said Tina backed away from Cormier’s advances.

"‘You know I’m 16’ — she did say that," Holland said.

"I observed him trying to grab her boobs a few times," she said, saying Cormier made a comment to Tina like: "Just do me."

"He laughed it off like it was a joke," Holland said.

Holland said she asked both men to leave the room, in much stronger language, and they did.

Defence lawyer Andrew Synyshyn suggested Cormier didn’t make any "untoward" gestures to Tina that night, and any comments he made were light-hearted.

He pointed to a statement she gave police in which Holland hadn’t told officers Tina went to her room because Cormier was making her uncomfortable.

The argument between Tina and Cormier happened later that night, after Holland said she unexpectedly found her kitchen full of tools and mechanical equipment, which she suspected had been stolen.

Later, she said Cormier must have moved the tools.

He returned with drugs after Tina left, she said.

Holland was questioned by police on the same day — Oct. 1, 2014 — Cormier was arrested. She testified Thursday that she later asked Cormier a pointed question.

"I asked him directly if he did it," she said. "He said no."

During his videotaped interview in October 2014, Cormier told police he and Tina had argued because he sold her bicycle to buy drugs.

Later in the interview, he got angry and started yelling and swearing at Det.-Sgt. Wade McDonald after the detective repeatedly questioned Cormier about a stolen truck and tools that police believed were in his possession the night he told them he last saw Tina.

Cormier asked to speak to a lawyer and repeatedly told police they were investigating the wrong person.

"Anything to get the f—-ing, the, the, what? The, the respect from your colleagues because you f—-ing, you, you finally find somebody to f—-ing charge with something and it don’t matter if he’s innocent or f—-ing guilty?" Cormier said at one point during the interview.

"I don’t want to talk to yous guys no more. Do your job. Go find the f—-ing person who did this."

Cormier wasn’t charged with Tina’s homicide after that interview, but he remained in jail on two outstanding warrants — one for a breaching a court order and another for a property offence — until June 2015.

He was charged with second-degree murder in December 2015.

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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History

Updated on Friday, February 9, 2018 at 9:56 AM CST: Updates headline

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