A Crown attorney says three men showed up at a Winnipeg house searching for a man to collect a drug debt and Tina Fontaine’s cousin was killed because she happened to be home.
Jeanenne Chantel Fontaine, who was 29, was shot in March 2017 before the house she was in was set on fire. Christopher Brass and Jason Meilleur are on trial charged with manslaughter.
In his opening statement, prosecutor Geoffrey Bayly told the jury Fontaine’s boyfriend had a methamphetamine debt owed to Meilleur’s girlfriend.
She asked Meilleur, Brass and another man to go collect but, when they arrived at the home, Fontaine’s boyfriend wasn’t there.
“(The) situation rapidly turned to robbery,” Bayly told court Monday.
At some point, Bayly said Fontaine was shot in the back of the head. After the shooting, Bayly said “chaos ensued” and the house was set on fire.
Firefighter Kevin Luptak, who responded to the blaze, testified firefighters were searching the smoky house when he spotted a leg in one of the rooms.
He said Fontaine was wearing a T-shirt, pants and high-top shoes when he found her lying on her shoulder on the floor. She had burns on her stomach and her right forearm.
Firefighters carried the young woman out of the house to an ambulance waiting outside.
Bayly said Fontaine’s brother, Vince Fontaine, will testify later in the trial about the tragedies and struggles that marked his sister’s life.
The body of Fontaine’s 15-year-old cousin was discovered wrapped in the Red River in August 2014 and Raymond Cormier was acquitted in her death last year. Tina Fontaine’s death fuelled calls for a national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women.
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