‘I woke up with a gun pointed to my face’: ‘Wife’ of Perez Cleveland testifies during Day 2 of murder trial
Perez Cleveland, 46, has pleaded not guilty in the death of Jennifer Barrett, 42, whose body was found in a barrel behind their Winnipeg home in December 2016.
Prosecutor Breta Passler told a jury during opening arguments on Tuesday that the case is about “one man’s control over six women.””They did unthinkable acts at his behest,” Passler said.
Jessica Reid, 36, one of Cleveland’s surviving ‘wives’ took the stand during day two of the trial on Thursday.
On Tuesday, the jury heard Cleveland moved to Winnipeg in late 2014 from out of province with his adult daughter and three female partners, including Barrett. In the spring of 2016, two more women joined the group.
Reid was arrested in February 2017 for accessory after the fact in Barrett’s death.
She told the court she met Cleveland in 2015 when he started dealing her crystal meth. Shortly after that, the two started dating.
At the time Reid was living in a home on Stella Avenue with her son. She said at times Cleveland was violent.
“We got into a fight… I woke up with a gun pointed to my face,” she said.
Regardless, the two kept dating. Her son eventually went to live with his father. Soon after, she said she moved in with him because she didn’t know where else to go.
They all eventually moved in to another home in Waverley Heights. Another woman joined the house. Reid said each of the women had a relationship with Cleveland.
Reid recalled a night when Cleveland took her into the basement of the home and accused her of kissing other men. She alleged he beat her over three or four days in August 2016.
She said Cleveland had accused her of cheating on him.
“He was really angry, ended up being very violent,” she said.
After a few days, Cleveland stopped. But it was then, on Aug. 21, Reid said he turned his anger on Barrett.
“He started beating her with his fists,” she told the jury. It went on for days. “He was just beating her up. Cords, hammers, knives.”
On Aug. 26, Reid said Cleveland had taken Barrett into the laundry room in the basement, but when she eventually came out, Barrett looked dizzy.
She recalls Barrett stumbling into the bathroom. She sat on the toilet and fell over.
“I saw her cut up and blood coming from her head,” Reid told the jury. “(Cleveland) told her to stop faking it.”
She said he then poured water on her but she didn’t respond. After that she said Barrett was tased.
“She jolted,” she said. Reid said after a few minutes she tried to wake her up and when she couldn’t she tried to do CPR.
“It didn’t work.”
Photos entered into evidence at the trial:
Cleveland allegedly placed Barrett’s body on a bed sheet and forced Reid to clean up the blood. She said Barrett’s body was eventually placed in a plastic container in the garage where it sat for at least a week.
Eventually Reid said she and one of the other ‘wives’, Holly Sullivan, were told to put the body in a barrel.
It wasn’t until the end of September that Reid got the courage to leave and run away. She ran down the street to a random house, opened the door and slammed it shut behind her. She called police, but didn’t mention anything about Barrett’s death.
Defence lawyer Steve Brennan cross examined Reid Wednesday, asking her if she was jealous of the other women in the house.
“No, not at all,” she replied.
WATCH: Murder trial begins for man accused of killing woman found in a barrel
Police eventually found the remains months later in December. Reid was interviewed by officers in February 2017 and finally told them what happened to Barrett the summer before.
Cleveland has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder.
© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.