May 24, 2019 9:55 am
Updated: May 24, 2019 12:36 pm

Accused may take stand in Cleveland first degree murder trial

Perez Cleveland is seen in this undated police handout photo. A woman says there was a strange dynamic in a house five women shared with a man accused of killing one of them. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Winnipeg Police Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*

Perez Cleveland is seen in this undated police handout photo. A woman says there was a strange dynamic in a house five women shared with a man accused of killing one of them. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Winnipeg Police Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*

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The man accused of murdering one of his five “wives” and dissolving her body in a barrel may take the stand.

Perez Cleveland is accused of first degree murder in the death of Jennifer Barrett, whose decomposed body was found in a metal barrel in the backyard of her Waverley Heights home in 2016.

Over the past two weeks, several witnesses have recounted how Cleveland lived with a harem of five women, including Barrett, and detailed horrific physical abuse at his hands.

READ MORE: ‘I woke up with a gun pointed to my face’: ‘Wife’ of Perez Cleveland testifies during Day 2 of murder trial

Renee Rose, one of his surviving “wives”, spoke of running away only to be kidnapped, brought to a house and tied to a chair, threatening her with weapons and a blow torch.

Jessica Reid told the court Barrett was subjected to days of physical abuse before her death, including beatings in the basement of the home using cords, a hammer and knives.

Photos entered into evidence at the trial:


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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.

READ MORE: Woman tearfully recounts abuse allegedly suffered at hands of accused murderer

Reid was arrested in February 2017 for accessory after the fact in Barrett’s death.

The Crown wrapped up its case against Cleveland on Thursday, but there is a chance Cleveland will take the stand Friday or Monday in his own defense.

RELATED: Murder trial begins for man accused of killing woman found in a barrel

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