Two days after Sheree Fertuck went missing, her estranged husband said that despite their history of domestic disputes, he was concerned for his family.
On Thursday, a Saskatoon courtroom heard from Greg Fertuck for the first time. The 67-year-old has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder and offering an indignity to a body related to the Dec. 7, 2015, disappearance of his estranged wife.
“I still love Sheree, you know,” Greg Fertuck is heard saying during an interview recorded on Dec. 9, 2015, at his kitchen table in Saskatoon.
During the interview, Sgt. Chad Clark asked the man where he thought Sheree was at that very moment.
“I haven’t got a clue. I hope she’s well,” the accused responded. “She’s the mother of my children. I still care a lot for her.”
He denied being at the gravel pit on the day Sheree was last seen. The pit is located east of Sheree’s family farmyard near Kenaston, Sask., roughly 85 kilometres south of Saskatoon.
Sheree’s disappearance left the man feeling “sort of depressed” and worried for his estranged wife, along with their three kids, police heard. He told officers he’d spent the afternoon of Dec. 9, 2015, drinking brandy — the first time he’d had hard liquor in three and a half years.
Greg Fertuck said he and Sheree got along when he was sober, but he described multiple domestic disputes where he had been drinking. He said the first incident happened after Sheree took one of his revolvers from a gun safe. He took it away and pointed it at her, the accused told police.
In another incident, Greg Fertuck said Sheree was swinging a whiskey bottle at him, but he was charged with assault for grabbing her.
On Wednesday, court heard testimony from the couple’s son Lucas, who said Greg Fertuck blamed Sheree for calling the police after she found an Uzi in the Saskatoon home.
Charges resulting from the seizure led to Lucas’ father being subjected to a gun prohibition
Sheree approached a lawyer in 2011 about getting a divorce, dividing their property and securing child support. In his interview, Greg Fertuck told police he didn’t have to pay child support or alimony because the kids were grown up, and they were “staying in (his) house”
At the time of his police interview, Greg Fertuck was staying with a woman he described as his “landlady,” who would vouch for his whereabouts the day Sheree went missing.
A former friend and coworker said Greg Fertuck was dating the woman, though the accused told officers he wasn’t dating anyone.
The Crown plans to enter all of its evidence during the trial in a voir dire, or admissibility hearing. Justice Richard Danyliuk will then decide whether it will be admitted to the trial proper.
Greg Fertuck’s police statement was heard in a voir dire within a voir dire. Crown and defence will argue whether it, along with other police statements from the accused, was made voluntarily.
During a police interview on Dec. 13, 2015, Sheree’s mother said her “gut feeling” was that her daughter had been abducted. Juliann Sorotski said she had some suspicion toward Greg Fertuck and referenced an incident where he allegedly pushed Sheree down the stairs.
“When somebody has done harm to your child, how can you have the same (positive) feeling toward them down the road?” Sorotski asked.
“I can’t forget the way he treated her.”
Sorotoski also referenced comments that others said Sheree made: “If anything happens to me, look to Greg first.”
Sheree’s mother also noticed Greg Fertuck had started drinking after a period of sobriety, though she wasn’t sure if it started before or after Sheree disappeared.
Prior to Sheree’s disappearance, Greg Fertuck would haul gravel for Sheree’s family business. Sorotski said she paid Greg Fertuck $325 on Dec. 4. Sheree put a stop order on the payment because she felt like he’d over-billed the family business a month before, Sorotski said.
RCMP asked Sorotski numerous questions about the structure of the family business, including whether Sheree and her brother Darren had conflicting business interests.
“I’m going to say this very emphatically: Darren did not do it,” Sorotski said, referring to Sheree’s disappearance.
Sorotski died of cancer in 2018.
The Greg Fertuck murder trial has heard testimony from 31 witnesses over eight days. The trial is scheduled to last six more weeks.